A full-season Deshaun Watson suspension may have been better for the Browns

USA TODAY Sports

It would have been bad for Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson to have been suspended for the full season. It arguably wouldn’t have been quite so bad for the Browns.

If Watson had missed the full season, his contract would have tolled until next year. It would have been a true suspension of his career. He would have gotten the minimum salary for 2023 (something in the range of $1 million), instead of the $46 million he’s due to earn. And he would have been under contract through 2027, not 2026.

The 11-game suspension doesn’t toll his contract. (Some are suggesting that a 12-game suspension would have delayed his contract by a year. Without getting into the specific details, that’s incorrect.) Thus, next year, the Browns will have to pay Watson $46 million, barring a restructuring. And they’ll only have him through 2026, not 2027 — barring an extension.

What will six games with Watson do for the Browns in 2022? Maybe they’ll tread water through a difficult schedule and have a chance to get hot down the stretch. But when he returns in December, it will be nearly 23 months since he last played in a regular-season game.

Whatever the Browns do this year, not having Watson for 11 games will make it harder to get there. But it still counts as the first of five years under his contract. He’ll have only four years left as of 2023.

So, yes, it arguably would have been better for the Browns to not have Watson at all in 2022. Especially if, when he returns, they’re something in the range of 4-7 or worse.

33 responses to “A full-season Deshaun Watson suspension may have been better for the Browns

  1. No question. It would have been better for the Browns financially. However, the sooner they get Watson on the field the better for the Browns long term. If Watson is the quarterback the Browns believe him to be they are going to sign him to another contract after this one. Watson needs to come back and be the franchise difference maker that Haslem and Stefanski paid a premium to bring him to Cleveland. He had eliminated them from his list. That night Baker Mayfield demanded a trade. The next day the Browns went all in. This is where we are.

  2. Are the OWNERS sending a message about the GUARANTEED contract? I think about 99% of those keeping track were thinking 1 year. Would have been a total odds on favorite. Browns thinking the same thing? They had to have been (or assuming/hoping).

    As per Watson: Cake and eat it too. He has to play 6 games at 167K+ per game this year vs 58K per game NEXT year (tolled contract).

    HE GOT A RAISE! The bonus is 11 less games of wear and tear when he becomes FA in 2027. Nice job Browns.

  3. Good. The Browns are culpable as well. They blew up the NFL salary structure for a guy who is a sexual predator. They knew he’d be suspended and gave him his money in a signing bonus so he’d lose minimal salary. This is a team with a bad ownership who has forced management to cover for their QB. The Clowns will be the Clowns. I never wish for someone to get injured, but it would be Kosmic Karma if the guy blows out an ACL in his first game back. He has shown himself to be a predator. And it is blatantly obvious that this man thinks he has done nothing wrong. Just listen to his words.

  4. So basically Cleveland is paying Watson $92 million dollars for playing 1 and 1/3 seasons. Damn, I wonder what Wilson is going to expect from Denver now?

  5. Depends on if the Browns can make the playoffs. It seems unlikely, but not impossible. In all the pitchfork crowd bashing of the Browns, people are forgetting they have an incredibly talented roster. Top notch running game, one of the best offensive lines and a stacked defense coming into it’s 2nd year together led by Myles Garrett and Denzel Ward. A game manager in Jacoby – Loved Baker, but not like they lost a big time playmaker at QB. If they make the playoffs with 6 games of Deshaun Watson settling into his role, very few will want to face this team in January.

  6. As bad takes go, this one is supreme. The Browns are loving this. The Browns could win the super bowl this year.

    It’s utterly laughable to suggest they want to keep Watson from playing throwing 5 passes in one preseason game in more than two years.

  7. Do they really think this is going to work? Stranger things have happened, to be sure, but…c’mon man.

  8. Contractually true, but in the long run they have DeShaun not as a tax write-off but to take the Browns to championship relevance. If Watson lost the season, that means an entire additional year, making it 3+ years total away from the field. A gap that might be too much to come back from. Yes they save money, but Watson could be useless on the field, which drops $250m for nothing.

    As long as he can play at least 4 games in 2022, Watson will shake off the rust, get over the mental stuff, and be good to go for the long haul.

  9. At some point, the W comes in moving on. Even if under less than ideal circumstances. I’d imagine the Browns are just glad for some Level of certainty.

  10. How do you negotiate your own punishment? Is that in the CBA or is the NFL / NFLPA just making this up as they go along? By the way. What happens if more women come out and say he assaulted them as well? Would that warrant an additional suspension and fine or will the NFL come out and say “it’s too late. We already punished him for those actions. Your too late”? What then?

  11. VoterFraudIsaMyth! says:
    August 18, 2022 at 8:23 pm
    Plus they will have a great draft pick…

    3260Rate This—- they don’t care what their draft pick is because their draft pick belongs to Houston

  12. Top tier QBs don’t go 4 – 12. Watson was bad in his last playoff game against the Chiefs, and needed the refs help – on acknowledged bad calls by the NFL – to beat the Bills with 2nd year Josh Allen. To add to that the Browns current regime hasn’t proven they can develop and maintain talent. With the lack of draft capital, wr help, and Cle not being a FA destination rough times could be ahead for the Browns.

  13. Cleveland has a loaded roster. Last year’s record is a reflection of absolutely everything going wrong. The entire offense got injured, OBJ got himself traded, Baker played with a busted shoulder, etc. And they were still basically .500. A healthy Brissett is probably better than an injured Mayfield, and they added weapons this off-season. They’ll be over .500 when Watson hits the field.

  14. Watson was 4-12 his last year as a starter… and he had prime DeAndre Hopkins… to quote forrest gump, “that’s all I have to say about that.”

  15. The NFL should have demanded that Watson stop declaring that he has done nothing wrong. This is casting a very bad light on Watson, the Browns, and the NFL.

  16. Garbage human and a garbage franchise – match made in heaven. If there is an antithesis to “America’s Team”, this is it.

  17. The NFL was in the perfect position to drive this home with a one year suspension and make Watson play on a true 1 million dollar salary for 2023 and they typically blew it. Goodell is such a coward, truly the most spineless Commissioner in the history of the modern era, maybe of all time. Sure he brings in money but this sets a terrible president. Anytime a player really screws up they will just refer to the owners lack of punishment and threaten to sue the NFL and Goodell will back down. I mean where in this country does anyone get to negotiate the terms of their suspension when the Commissioner has cart blanche to eventually do whatever he wants? I hope this was all worth alienating at least 21% of the fan base for this.

  18. The ownership and Watson showed their arrogance during the press conference, they got what they wanted, Watson plays this year, The NFL would deserve if Browns win and make playoffs.

  19. Given what he did 11 games is fine.
    And the Browns also are getting hurt and probably miss the playoffs.
    Next year they will be in a worse cap situation as players on cheap contracts are no longer cheap.
    They better draft very well or their playoff window will close in a couple of years.

  20. If the Browns are 7-4 with Jacoby and he plays average football (you’d rank him in the 15-20 range of QBs) what should Cleveland do?

    Do you account for ring rust and how Watson will take a few weeks to get up to speed, or just keep rolling with your guy?

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