Deshaun Watson stands to lose $345K in salary with six-game suspension

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Monday brought Judge Sue L. Robinson’s long-awaited ruling on discipline for Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson for violating the NFL’s Personal Conduct Policy.

Robinson ruled that Watson should be banned for six games and did not issue a fine. While he won’t be fined, Watson would forfeit his salary for his absence, but the structure of the deal he signed after being acquired by the Browns this year makes that a minimal hit.

Watson’s base salary for the 2022 season is $1.035 million, which is broken up into 18 weekly payments of $57,500. That means he’ll forfeit $345,000 if the suspension is not changed following an appeal by either side.

Before the trade to the Browns, Watson’s contract called for him to make a $35 million salary in 2022. A six-game suspension under those terms would have cost him $11.6 million.

Watson’s $44.965 million signing bonus is not impacted by the suspension and he has fully guaranteed salaries of $46 million for each of the next four seasons, so the financial blow dealt by the suspension will be a minimal one if Robinson’s decision holds.

22 responses to “Deshaun Watson stands to lose $345K in salary with six-game suspension

  1. His agent earned every penny of his commission just in having the foresight to set up the contract this way.

  2. The NFL is just inconsistent with their penalties. I thought it was supposed to be considered a privilege to be playing in the NFL. Instead, it’s like a shield for predatory behavior, rewarded with the richest contract in NFL history.

    On what planet was he really punished?

  3. At the very least, he should be fined an amount equal to the number of games in the suspension to discourage this kind of lawyering garbage in the future.

  4. That is the equivalent of about $300 in my annual salary over 4 years. How will he feed his family?

  5. So… they had nothing conclusive, but felt compelled to act innocuously so as to mitigate public backlash whipped up by the media?

  6. No fine? Are you kidding? There should be a fine at least equal to what he would have lost with a suspension under his old contract, just to demonstrate contempt for the too-clever construction of the new contract.

  7. Unless they had no choice, it’s hard to believe the NFL approved that contract knowing a suspension was coming. Browns played Sir Roger beautifully.

  8. They could have gotten around this problem by fining him more, not sure why the judge felt compelled not to do that.

  9. The NFL should obligate the Browns to pay the salary for all games he is suspended. They knew what might happen and they should pay through the nose on this.

  10. Watson owes his agent a huge bonus for the way he structured his contract with the Browns – the Browns allowed Watson to not be fined over 14 million!! Now I see why Watson accepted a trade to Cleveland!

  11. 345k out of 230M the league and the browns should be ashamed of themselves for letting this trash drag on so long.

  12. Yet another example of how the league needs to structure recognized per-game pay as the actual per game value of the contract including pro-rated signing bonuses and not including void years at the end. That figure would cost him over 2.5m per game, the relative value of his 46m/yr contract.

  13. 345K = 15 hundredths of a percentage point out of 230mil, just for reference.

  14. I don’t think it was free to settle those lawsuits. I wonder what that cost? I bet it was a lot more than $345K

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