Deshaun Watson: Albert Breer makes big claim on when NFL could announce new suspension

Deshaun Watson of the Cleveland Browns

NFL journalist Albert Breer has given his thoughts on when the league will hand down their punishment for Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson.

In an announcement that was more than a year in the making, Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson was suspended for the first six games of the upcoming season following the accusations of sexual assault that were levied against him during his time with the Houston Texans.

The decision was handed out by an independent arbitrator in Judge Sue L. Robinson as the NFL looked to get away from being seen as the judge, jury and executioner in legal cases following years of bad press that followed them round over a number of cases.

However, the league has since announced that they will appeal the six-game suspension against Watson, as they believe that he should be suspended for a full year, and receive a financial penalty on top of it. All of this though could very well throw the Browns off track.

Trying to make the best of it

The Browns took a pretty sizeable gamble when they traded for Watson from the Texans, giving up a 2022 first-round pick, 2023 and 2024 first-round picks, a 2022 fourth-round choice, a third-round pick in 2023 and a fourth-round pick in 2024, as well as tying him to a 5-year, $230m contract, all of which is fully guaranteed. 

The contract was structured in such a way that the Browns, perhaps smartly, wouldn’t be financially punished if he was indeed suspended for a year, with his base salary reported to be just $1.035m in 2022. But the Browns seem to be preparing him as though he’ll still see some action this year.

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He has been working with them in practice and is scheduled to start their first preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars this Friday, as he is allowed to do under the rules of his punishment as preseason games don’t count, whilst they wait for the announcement from the league regarding the actual suspension length.

A suspension which Albert Breer thinks will be announced pretty soon.

What’s he said?

Writing in his mailbag column for SI.com, Breer claimed that an announcement could come as early as next Friday, and explained his reasoning behind the timeframe, noting that he felt that there needed to be enough time for any further settlements to be reached:

“I think we’ll get something in the next nine days or so (which would be by Friday, Aug. 19). That’s an educated guess, based on the fact that the CBA prescribes an expedited appeals process and based on the amount of material that Peter C. Harvey has to sort through. It’s not just the 16-page decision filed by Sue L. Robinson. It’s also some 215 pages of the initial report from the league. Plus the NFL’s appeal brief and the NFLPA’s reply brief.

“So I think it’ll take a little bit for Harvey to get through it, and he could still leave the league and union, like Robinson did, with a window to make another run at a settlement.”

You imagine that both sides will want to get this over with as quickly as possible, just so that everyone can get some clarity on where Watson and the Browns stand heading into the season, because it would be pointless giving reps to Watson if he isn’t going to play at all this season when they could go to someone who is actually going to need them.

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