Buried at the bottom of page 2 of the 23rd lawsuit filed against Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson is nonchalant bombshell.
Here’s the quote, from footnote 2 to the petition filed against Watson by Nia Smith: “Of course, we now know that Deshaun Watson offered each Plaintiff $100,000 to settle their cases, but not all would accept that amount, due to the aggressive nondisclosure agreement that Watson’s team proposed.”
This is an apparent reference to the effort to settle all cases at the behest of the Dolphins, which wanted all cases settled before it would trade for Watson. As PFT reported at the time, 18 of the 22 cases were ready to be settled. Four of the plaintiffs refused.
Based on the language in footnote 2 to the Smith lawsuit, the nondisclosure language derailed the settlement. Attorney Rusty Hardin recently explained in a podcast appearance with Gabe Feldman that the Dolphins wanted the settlements to include the NDA language.
Earlier last year, a settlement of the claims was derailed because attorney Tony Buzbee, who represents all of the plaintiffs, wanted nondisclosure language and Hardin/Watson did not. Hardin told Feldman that Buzbee didn’t want the public to know how little his clients were getting.
By late October, they would have been getting $100,000 each. That’s the exact amount that initially was requested from Watson as an opening position, before the first lawsuit was filed and all legal hell broke loose.
Surely, if Watson could go back to that point and pay the $100,000, he would have. Clearly, he should have.