Browns’ quarterback Deshaun Watson is set to miss the first six games of his Cleveland career after courts handed down an initial suspension Monday morning. That punishment is still subject to change should the NFL choose to appeal the verdict, but as of now, it seems that the passer will get off light.
The NFLPA is set to accept the six-game suspension considering the league was aiming to make a statement with Deshaun Watson. It was rumored that the NFL was looking for a year-long punishment, as well as a hefty fine.
Neither came to fruition with the initial ruling, which is certainly a win for both Watson and the Browns.
Cleveland traded for the talented passer over the offseason, giving him a record-setting $230 million contract despite his having sat out the entire 2021 season. They knew going into the negotiation process that a suspension was possible (and probable), but they gave Watson a fully guaranteed offer anyways.
The court ruling won’t have too much effect on that contract, either. NFL insider Ian Rapoport revealed what a six-game suspension would mean for Watson in 2022.
NFL Insider reveals monetary effect of Deshaun Watson suspension
Courts ruled that Watson’s punishment would be a six-game suspension without pay for the time missed. Under his new deal with the Browns, the quarterback boasts a base salary of $1.035 million in year one.
The suspension does not come with a fine, nor will it affect his $45 million signing bonus.
So, with a per game average of $57,500, a six-game suspension will result in Watson losing $345,000.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) August 1, 2022
The Browns saw this suspension coming, and as so, they dealt Watson a strongly backloaded deal. After this season, that yearly salary goes from just over $1 million to a guaranteed $46 million per year from 2023-2026.
If that suspension would’ve come at the $46 million price tag, the passer would’ve lost over $15 million.
For now, this is a huge win for Watson. The NFL has three days to appeal the decision.