Deshaun Watson has not completely resolved his legal situation stemming from dozens of sexual misconduct allegations but the Cleveland Browns quarterback is not expected to face any additional suspension down the road.
There are two pending civil suits against Watson, who previously settled claims with two dozen women who accused him of being “sexually inappropriate during massage therapy sessions,” per The Associated Press.
Watson also settled with the NFL on his punishment, agreeing to an 11-game suspension and a $5 million fine. Mary Kay Cabot was asked in her latest Q&A column if Watson could face additional punishment but doesn’t see that happening.
“The 11-game suspension and $5 million covered the balance of suits from that period of time in Houston, even if more are filed in the future. The only way Watson would face further discipline is if he’s criminally charged with something from back then, or if a new incident occurs,” Cabot wrote. “But Watson has been working diligently on his off-the-field treatment program, and the Browns don’t anticipate any accusations in the future. They expect him to be an upstanding member of the community and productive member of the team going forward.”
Browns Have Expressed High Hopes for Deshaun Watson
On the field, Watson has some significant room for improvement. Following his 11-game ban, Watson showed some very visible rust after almost two years away from the game. He played the final six games for the Browns, with the team going 3-3. Watson — who led the league in passing yards in 2020 — showed glimpses of his Pro Bowl form but completed 58.2% of his passes for 1,102 yards and seven touchdowns with five interceptions.
The Browns are confident that with a full offseason under his belt and no suspension looming, Watson can be the difference-maker they expected when pulling off the blockbuster trade.
“I think confidence for me comes from seeing it, and I’ve seen him do it,” Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski said. “I saw him do it in those games last season. I know it wasn’t perfect. I certainly wasn’t perfect. We weren’t perfect around him and as we all know, it’s not a one-man show. It’s a team game and we didn’t have as much team success as we would’ve liked late in the season there.
“But I’ve seen it from Deshaun in games, I’ve seen it from practice, I’ve seen it in his career, so that’s why I’m confident.”
Browns Picked Up Additional Weapons for Watson
The Browns added some key pieces to the offense this offseason that should help Watson take the next step. They traded for Elijah Moore, added Marquise Goodwin as a free agent and also signed Watson’s former tight end in Houston Jordan Akins. With Amari Cooper and Donovan Peoples-Jones already in the mix, the Browns are in a good place.
“I think we’re all very excited about Deshaun, excited for a full offseason with the guys he’s already built chemistry with and some of the additional players that we’ve added to the offense,” Browns GM Andrew Berry said.
Watson has already been working out with some of his wide receivers this offseason and will get in some more work when the team’s offseason program starts on April 17.