One of the biggest stories of the 2022 NFL offseason has been the immediate NFL future for Cleveland Browns starting quarterback Deshaun Watson.
On Friday, March 18 the Houston Texans traded Watson to the Browns in a monster package that featured three first-round draft choices, a 2023 third-rounder, and a 2024 fourth-rounder.
In a corresponding move, the Browns extended the former Clemson star to the tune of $177.5 million across four years on a fully guaranteed contract. All in all, it’s a five-year deal in totality worth over $230 million which is entirely guaranteed.
However, there has been a possible suspension looming for months, and Sue Robinson (the disciplinary officer jointly appointed by the NFLPA and the NFL) has come to a decision.
Adam Schefter of ESPN was first to share the news to social media that Robinson has found that Watson “violated the personal conduct policy and has suspended him six games.”
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A Massive Changing of the Tide
With this suspension in effect, Watson is now ineligible to suit up for the Week 2 matchup versus the New York Jets.
This means seven-year veteran Jacoby Brissett is now expected to face the green and white.
Prior to this Watson news, the Browns were a 6.5-point favorite in Vegas and had an 81.4 percent chance to beat Gang Green, per the ESPN FPI analytics.
With a much less dynamic quarterback under center for the Browns, the perception of that game is set to change.
This is great news for a Jets team that is trying to secure its first win in the month of September since 2018 (yes that’s a real stat).
Now both sides (Watson’s or the NFL) now has three days to submit an appeal in writing, per ESPN. At that moment in time the commissioner Roger Goodell or an appointed designee “will issue a written decision that will constitute full, final and complete disposition of the dispute,” per terms of Article 46 in the collective bargaining agreement.
It is important to note that the NFLPA had already released a lengthy statement prior to the Robinson decision saying they won’t appeal the decision and they hope the NFL will do the same.
Schedule Isn’t as Daunting
When the Jets 2022 schedule was initially released back in May a lot of Jets fans overreacted saying the schedule was far too difficult and the NFL went out of its way to screw the team.
I have always evaluated the schedule on a year-to-year basis the same way, who are the quarterbacks you’re facing?
I know that is probably oversimplifying it, but in a quarterback-driven league that seems like the most appropriate way to determine the true strength or weakness of the schedule.
Let’s take a look at the first five matchups in 2022:
Week 1: vs Baltimore Ravens (Lamar Jackson)
Week 2: at Cleveland Browns (Jacoby Brissett)
Week 3: vs Cincinnati Bengals (Joe Burrow)
Week 4: at Pittsburgh Steelers (Mitch Trubisky or Kenny Pickett)
Week 5: vs Miami Dolphins (Tua Tagovailoa)
Objectively two of the first five games are tough featuring a former NFL MVP and a quarterback that just represented the AFC in the Super Bowl. Those are challenging but at least you get both of those games in the lovely confines of MetLife Stadium.
The other three are against a career journeyman, a former first-round bust or an unproven rookie (depending on who wins that QB battle), and Tagovailoa who has been much maligned this offseason.
Where is this impossible schedule that the Jets can’t even show up in? I don’t see it and neither do the Jets. If they can make it out of this 2-3 or 3-2 (at least) they’ll set themselves up to have a very good chance to make a run in the second half of their season.