NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell made his first comments regarding the Watson investigation on Tuesday at the NFL annual meeting.
What Goodell Said
As expected, Goodell was not terribly specific given the fact that the NFL is in the midst of its own investigation into Deshaun Watson.
Roger Goodell said “there’s no timetable” on a decision of any potential discipline for Browns’ QB Deshaun Watson. “We will seek to get to the bottom of the facts,” Goodell said.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 29, 2022
Goodell said there is no timetable on the league’s decision on a potential Watson suspension.
“We will seek to get to the bottom of the facts.”
Regarding the process and who the league’s investigators will talk to, Goodell indicated that the decision would be in their purview.
#NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said league still working on Deshaun Watson investigation and will have access to more info with 2 grand jury rulings in. Goodell also said it's up to the league's investigators whether they talk to more of Deshaun Watson's accusers and/or Watson.
— Nate Ulrich (@ByNateUlrich) March 29, 2022
“Our people are working on it. That determination will be made by a joint disciplinary officer. She will make that decision when the facts are all in.”
Commissioner’s Exempt List Seems Unlikely
Putting Watson on the commissioner’s exempt list seems unlikely, according to Goodell.
This means Watson will either be fined/suspended or have no disciplinary action.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell very clear here—it’ll likely be a suspension/fine or nothing for Deshaun Watson. Commissioner’s exempt list not in play. pic.twitter.com/vSMlcuWhQU
— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) March 29, 2022
Goodell indicates that it was important that the criminal piece of the Watson case be resolved.
#NFL's Roger Goodell said the two grand jury non-indictments of Deshaun Watson will give the league more info for investigation, but the personal conduct policy is independent of criminal charges.
— Mary Kay Cabot (@MaryKayCabot) March 29, 2022
However, the league’s personal conduct policy is enforceable even though Watson is criminally cleared.
Precedent has indicated that the suspension could be anywhere from four to eight games.
This provides no clarity to Watson’s potential suspension.
No one expected Goodell to offer a detailed dialogue on how the Watson matter would be handled at the annual meeting.
This means the Browns need to prepare Jacoby Brissett as comprehensively as they will Watson because of the uncertainty.
Brissett has been effective as both a QB1 and QB2 which could be why the Browns made the decision to sign him and trade Case Keenum.