Much was made of the fact that the Browns gave Deshaun Watson a base salary for 2022 of only $1 million, given that the approach would reduce dramatically the financial consequences of, for example, a six- or eight-game suspension. If Watson misses all of 2022, it doesn’t matter.
A full-season suspension by rule would toll Watson’s contract for a year. His $1 million salary would move from 2022 to 2023, supplanting the $46 million he’s due to make next year. And he would be under contract to the Browns for five full seasons beyond 2022, not four.
Basically, he would endure 12 months without pay, making it a true suspension of his career. He’d also be a potential free agent not in 2027 but in 2028.
That’s actually good news for the Browns, since it simply delays the commencement of the relationship for a year and extends it by a year on the back end. Whether it would be good for Watson or the Browns for Watson to try to get back into his pre-2021 form after not playing for two full years would be a different question.