Roger Goodell is about to drop the hammer on Deshaun Watson

Deshaun Watson, Browns. (Photo by Nick Cammett/Getty Images)
Deshaun Watson, Browns. (Photo by Nick Cammett/Getty Images) /

Roger Goodell and the NFL are set to make an example out of Deshaun Watson, aiming for a one-year ban — or maybe even more

The Cleveland Browns made a lot of waves when they acquired Deshaun Watson this offseason. Then they made even more when they offered up a fully-guaranteed five-year, $230-million deal.

Cleveland made these bold moves even with Watson facing more than 20 accusations of sexual misconduct — and with uncertainty as to when he would be able to actually play for them.

Now in the second week of August, we still have no indication of when he will suit up but if NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell gets his way, it won’t be in 2022. Speaking at the owner’s meeting on Tuesday, Goodell said the four cases that made it to independent arbitrator Judge Sue Robinson should be treated as separate cases.

He later said the evidence justifies a full-year suspension for Watson.

"“Because we’ve seen the evidence. She (Sue Robinson) was very clear about the evidence. She reinforced the evidence that there was multiple violations here, they were egregious and it was predatory behavior.” — Goodell via Ed Werder"

Will Deshaun Watson play at all in 2022?

At this point, it’s hard to see how Goodell won’t get his way. He picked another independent arbitrator in former New Jersey Attorney General Peter C. Harvey to hear the appeal, but it’s well known that Harvey has worked with the NFL in the past and it’s hard to imagine things falling in Watson’s favor.

That being said, fans should brace for the one-year ban, but also be ready to hear the caveat that Watson will have to request reinstatement in the offseason. So it might not even be over by this time next year.

What does it mean for the Browns?

Cleveland never intended for this to be a one-year deal with Watson. They made this move knowing it would be a massive hit in the PR department and that they would lose some of their loyal fans over it. They understood this but ultimately believed that winning would cure everything — but they also knew the wins would have to likely wait until 2023.

That’s why it makes no sense that Watson didn’t take the reported 12-game settlement. Had he done so, he and the Browns would have known when he would return and would get a jump start on prepping for 2023.

Now, there’s a serious chance Watson won’t see a regular season game until September of 2023 — with his last one coming in January of 2021. That’s a long time off for anyone.

Then again, the Browns knew this was a possibility and added him anyway. Why teams didn’t wait to see what Watson’s fate would be before mortgaging their future is baffling. More baffling is why the team that won this ‘lottery’ thought the fully guaranteed contract was needed when nothing else about this is guaranteed.

Well, nothing other than the fact that Goodell is about to drop the hammer on Watson.

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