Judge Sue L. Robinson has imposed a six-game suspension on Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson. That could change, if the NFL appeals the decision to (checks notes) the NFL.
On Monday, Browns coach Kevin Stefanski was asked whether the team has come up with “multiple plans” based on the full extent of the suspension.
“That is right,” Stefanski said. “As you can imagine, we are dealing with some uncertainties and that is OK. That is life for a football team oftentimes. We have a couple different plans, and we are going to stick to it until we have more information.”
They’ll have to retain those multiple plans while the NFL decides whether to appeal. I’d be surprise if the NFL doesn’t. Judge Robinson’s factual findings easily could support a longer suspension by the Commissioner or his designee Moreover, the NFL has the power under the labor deal to exercise its appeal rights to (check notes) the NFL, and the NFL isn’t in the habit of giving up its rights when it comes to the union.
Stefanski also said that he’ll make decisions about preseason playing time for Watson as the exhibition games get closer, and he said multiple times that Watson is working on being the best version of himself.
Stefanski also said he hadn’t read the 16-page decision from Judge Robinson. Although Stefanski had more pressing matters to attend to on Monday (the team had practice), the fact that he hadn’t read the decision becomes a convenient mechanism for punting on questions about the decision.
Time will tell whether the Cleveland offense is more likely to be punting in 2022, based on whether Watson will miss six games or more than six games — and possibly the entire season. As one league source put it on Monday, “I don’t think this Watson thing is over by a long shot.”