The Cleveland Browns and their fans have more hope and even optimism going into the 2022 season than they have had in a while.
He will be able to enjoy the services of Amari Cooper, a four-time Pro Bowl selection while with the Dallas Cowboys.
But there is a cloud hanging over the Browns, and it comes in the form of Watson possibly being suspended by the NFL.
It was thought that the league would take a month, possibly two months to decide whether to suspend him and how long a potential suspension would last, but on Tuesday, commissioner Roger Goodell hinted that a decision may come sooner.
Roger Goodell on Deshaun Watson case: 'I can't give you a timeline. I think we’re nearing the end of the investigative period. Then it will be handled by our disciplinary officer.'
— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) May 24, 2022
Even If He Isn’t Suspended, Watson Won’t Be Out Of The Woods Yet
The former Houston Texans signal-caller has been accused by multiple women of inappropriate conduct during a number of message therapy sessions, which led to criminal charges being filed.
Earlier this offseason, Watson got a big break when a grand jury decided to not move forward on those charges.
However, he is currently facing 22 lawsuits related to the incidents in question.
Plenty of members of the Dawg Pound have lamented the Browns deciding to acquire a QB who has been accused of such inexcusable conduct.
If Watson does get suspended, some feel it will be for many games, and such a suspension could single-handedly torpedo Cleveland’s chances of returning to the NFL playoffs.
Some hope the league comes down hard on Watson, citing a difference between how Goodell has handled the situation versus how Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred gave Trevor Bauer a 324-game suspension after the pitcher was hit with his own assault allegations.
12 games minimum. I've said it before, and I'll double down again.
Deshaun Watson dragged the NFL shield through the mud, publicly embarrassed multiple franchises, and then ruined contract precedent despite it all. He is going to get killed on this suspension https://t.co/FVtGeQRcvd
— John Crumpler (@JohnHCrumpler) May 18, 2022
Watson Has Been Trying To Get Off On The Right Foot With His New Teammates
Last week, Watson and some other members of the Browns headed to the Bahamas for some valuable male bonding time.
It appeared that Watson was trying to show good leadership and establish connections and rapport with his new teammates ahead of OTAs and training camp.
— Brad Stainbrook (@StainbrookNFL) May 22, 2022
Video also surfaced of Watson and others playing golf.
— MoreForYouCleveland (@MoreForYou_CLE) May 19, 2022
His off-the-field misconduct aside, Watson seems to be doing exactly what he should be doing by bringing his new teammates together and trying to establish some type of togetherness in advance of the new season.
If Watson is lucky enough to not face any type of suspension from the NFL, the Browns have a real shot at making the playoffs, especially if some of their young players develop significantly.
Wide receivers Anthony Schwartz and Donovan Peoples-Jones need to step things up, and they’re also hoping that linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, who had a promising rookie season, takes a big step forward in 2022.
But it all comes back to Watson in the end.
If he does get suspended, will the Browns find a way to at least tread water while he is out and keep their playoff hopes alive?