Given the circumstances, that is not likely to change any time soon.
Molly Qerim of ESPN was the latest to explain why the NFL and the Browns were premature in offering Watson this contract.
Qerim laid out an argument strikingly similar to the ones we heard from male media personalities Peter King, Sal Paolantonio, and Dan Patrick.
— Brandon Contes (@BrandonContes) March 21, 2022
Her key points were as follows:
1. No One Knows How These Civil Suits Will Turn Out
With 22 outstanding civil suits to be litigated or settled, no one has adequate information as to what will happen with Watson’s case.
"There was a bidding war for a guy that hasn't settled his 22 civil law suits. Someone that didn't play last year… Crazy! But the #Browns were desperate for a QB."
— Dan Patrick Show (@dpshow) March 21, 2022
No one knows how long these cases will take or what will be learned if they are not immediately settled.
Qerim said if he is found not guilty in these civil proceedings, then the NFL and the Browns could offer him this huge payday, but it is premature to do it beforehand.
2. Browns Are Protecting Him Financially
By virtue of how the contract is set up, Watson is not expected to earn significant money in 2022.
His 2022 earnings will be around $1 million.
The Browns did this because they anticipate he will be suspended.
He will lose minimal pay during those games in which he is suspended.
Contract negotiations took place to ensure a low base salary in 2022 because there's a near guarantee Deshaun Watson will be suspended as he faces active civil lawsuits for sexual assault and harassment for 22 different women.
That's vile. https://t.co/f4sI2Ao8HS
— Austin Gayle (@PFF_AustinGayle) March 18, 2022
3. NFL’s Precedent On Suspensions Is Bad
Qerim believes the NFL needs to revisit all matters related to how they could get to 6 suspended games for these types of incidents.
Precedence does indicate the suspension would be around 6 to 8 games.
Deshaun Watson still faces a potential suspension. Ben Roethlisberger was suspended six games (reduced to four) despite not being charged in 2010. However, there’s a chance that the NFL will wait until the civil cases are resolved.
— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) March 11, 2022
She believes with these egregious offenses, if he loses the civil cases, he should be out at least one season and maybe longer.
According to Qerim, the idea of Watson getting so much guaranteed money when his off-the-field situation is nowhere near resolution is wrong, and this trade and subsequent contract are a “slap in the face to all women”.