Browns QB Deshaun Watson at Risk of Missing More Time

Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson.

Getty Images Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson.

There’s a chance Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson could be punished further by the NFL in connection with allegations of sexual misconduct, per a new report.

Watson may have to testify in one of the remaining cases against him, per Brent Schrotenboer of USA Today. He settled 23 of 26 sexual misconduct lawsuits in 2022. One remains dormant and another was withdrawn. The lone remaining lawsuit was filed in October of 2022.

After a long and complicated process, Watson also settled with the NFL in August of 2022. He was suspended 11 games, fined $5 million and required to undergo an evaluation and counseling.

There’s a chance Watson could face further punishment, depending on the outcome of the case, per Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk.

“Absent a settlement or dismissal, the remaining claims against Watson will go to trial at some point,” Florio wrote on February 15. “Although he has been suspended 11 games by the NFL for the allegations, the league has not completely ruled out the possibility of further punishment, given the evidence that could emerge in the remaining cases and/or eventual verdicts.”

Florio’s report appears contrary to what was reported by Tom Pelissero of NFL Network following Watson’s settlement with the league.

“Any new allegations of the same conduct from 2019-2021 wouldn’t be subject to NFL investigation or discipline,” Pelissero tweeted. “The NFL could still investigate if allegations arise that are different in nature (e.g. use of force, which was not alleged in the cases [Judge Sue L.] Robinson ruled on).”

Browns Say Deshaun Watson Has ‘Come a Long Way’

The Browns feel Deshaun Watson has come a long way.

Getty ImagesThe Browns feel Deshaun Watson has come a long way.

The Browns made the trade for Watson amid his off-field turmoil. Browns owners Jimmy and Dee Haslam have been vocal supporters of Watson and commended him for his progress.

“He has come a long way in the last year. He has worked extremely hard on being a better person, a better man, and a better teammate,” Jimmy Haslam said in July of 2023. “I think he has learned a lot about himself and what he can and can’t do. I think he’s learned who you can trust and who you can’t trust.”

New Browns offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey took some heat after his introductory press conference for describing Watson as a “really quality human being.”

“I can’t wait to get to work with him,” Dorsey said on Monday, February 5. “Because, again, he’s one of the premier quarterbacks in this league and from everything I’ve heard about him, a really quality human being. So I’m just excited about that opportunity.”

Browns Want Deshaun Watson on Field More

Deshaun Watson has played in just 12 games with the Cleveland Browns through two season.

Getty ImagesDeshaun Watson has played in just 12 games with the Cleveland Browns through two seasons.

The blockbuster trade for Watson has not panned out for the Browns as they had hoped. Watson has played in just 12 games with the Browns since the trade. The suspension forced him out for 11 games in 2022. He played in just six contests last year due to injury.

Watson has gone 8-4 in his starts, passing for 2,217 yards, 14 touchdowns and 9 interceptions. The Browns still have hope Watson can turn things around. The hope is he’ll look like the Pro Bowl passer he was with the Houston Texans. The key will be keeping him on the field.

“We feel good about Deshaun. I think the biggest thing is just him staying on the field, keeping [him] on the field,” Browns GM Andrew Berry told The Athletic on February 1. “But in terms of just Deshaun in particular, we’re excited. We just want to make sure he’s healthy.”

The Browns don’t have much recourse when it comes to Watson. He’s on a $230 million fully guaranteed contract. Watson is linked to the team through the 2026 season.

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