A source from Watson’s camp tells Maske that the NFL will “probably” will seek a suspension of one full season for Watson. However, a source familiar with the league’s view of the matter cautioned to be “careful” about specifying a precise length at this point.
“Significant would be the proper term,” the source tells Maske.
As for a potential timeline for the process to be completed, Maske reports that the NFL hopes to have the whole thing including any potential appeals to commissioner Roger Goodell or a person designated to oversee the matter completed by the start of training camp.
Maske adds that the NFL could impose a fine in addition to any lost salary from his unpaid suspension and there’s still a chance they could leave the door open for further discipline if new information is brought to light.
The NFLPA reportedly intends to cite the lack of suspension from the NFL regarding the personal conduct of owners such as Daniel Snyder, Robert Kraft and Jerry Jones as part of Watson’s defense
For what it’s worth, the Browns are scheduled to open training camp on July 27.
Watson is facing 24 active civil lawsuits from women for sexual misconduct.
Watson has maintained his innocence throughout.
“Like I said, I never assaulted anyone or I never harassed anyone or I never disrespected anyone,” Watson said Tuesday. “I never forced anyone to do anything.”
Mary Kay Cabot, citing a league source, reported earlier in the week that the Browns are still “all in” on Watson and are not looking to void his record $230 million contract or trade with the Texans.
Cabot added that “nothing has transpired” since Watson signed his five-year, $230 million deal in March to cause the Browns to change their opinion.
Cabot pointed out that Cleveland has extra protection on his contract that would enable them to void his deal, but it’s clear things aren’t moving in that direction.
Reports have indicated the exempt list does not appear to be in play for Watson at this time and he’s preparing as if he’ll be the starter for the Browns in Week 1 until told differently.
Watson had a meeting with the NFL to discuss the 24 charges of varying degrees of sexual misconduct that Watson faces in civil court.
Watson was officially cleared of criminal charges by grand juries in two different Texas counties. This opened the door for Watson to be traded and the Browns later reached an agreement to acquire him from the Texans.
Watson, 26, was taken in the first round of the 2017 NFL draft out of Clemson by the Texans. He signed a four-year, $13.854 million with the Texans that included a fifth-year option around $17.3 million for the 2021 season.
The Texans signed Watson to a four-year deal worth as much as $177 million heading into the 2020 season, paying him $39 million a year. He was traded to the Browns for draft compensation.
In 2020, Watson appeared in all 16 games for the Texans and completed 70.2 percent of his passes for 4,823 yards with 33 touchdowns and seven interceptions. He also rushed for 444 yards and three touchdowns.