As long as Deshaun Watson isn’t playing, NFL doesn’t need to put him on paid leave

NFL: DEC 13 Texans at Bears
Getty Images

Something dawned on me this morning, while Simms and I were reviewing the latest developments in the Deshaun Watson case on PFT Live.

With the Texans apparently content to pay Watson to not play, the league office doesn’t need to put him on paid leave.

Taking it another cynical step farther (cynicism is usually warranted in matters of this nature), it’s possible that unofficial, backchannel discussions between league and team have resulted in an understanding that, as long as Watson isn’t playing, the league won’t put him on paid leave.

Paid leave is a PR tool, aimed at getting a controversial player facing serious allegations away from the cameras during games. Using paid leave creates an unavoidable news cycle of bad PR, however, with plenty of coverage devoted to the decision to prevent a player from playing pending the resolution of off-field accusations.

In this specific case, the fact that Watson doesn’t want to play for the Texans, that the Texans want to trade him, and that the two sides have apparently agreed that he’ll be in limbo until he can be traded for the kind of compensation the Texans want allow the league to put Watson on paid leave without putting him on paid leave. Basically, the league has to do nothing, other than make it clear to all involved that, if he decides to play, he’ll be placed on paid leave.

I have no idea whether that’s happening. But it would make plenty of sense if it were. Why should the league do anything when doing nothing gets the league to the exact same place?

6 responses to “As long as Deshaun Watson isn’t playing, NFL doesn’t need to put him on paid leave

  1. “As long as Deshaun Watson isn’t playing, NFL doesn’t need to put him on paid leave”

    I would agree, buy with a caveat.
    It’s not fair for a player to lose a season’s pay if he’s found innocent in a court of law, or wins a civil suit against him, or if all charges or accusations are dropped. But its also not fair that a business should have to pay a guy millions if he doesn’t play or contribute — especially if he’s later found guilty or loses a civil case.
    I would like to see it written that if a guy is placed on the commissioner’s exempt list his salary is placed into an escrow account until if and when he returns to the field. If he’s found not guilty, not liable, or all accusations are withdrawn the money goes to him. But if he’s found guilty or liable then the suspension was deserved and the money goes back to the team.
    It’s not going to happen, but it would be a more fair compromise to both sides.

  2. Just play the guy. If criminal charges come out regarding his situation, sit him down. Lets not over complicate it.

  3. “I have no idea whether that’s happening. But it would make plenty of sense if it were. Why should the league do anything when doing nothing gets the league to the exact same place?”
    —————
    In the offseason you claimed even when camps werent going on that he should be put on the exempt list so this is just contradictory to that.

  4. Why would the Texans give up a roster exemption they would get if he was on NFL Commissioner’s Exempt List? Otherwise, they have to carry him on the 53 man roster the entire season. Seems the Texans would want the NFL to step in here.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.