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The Cleveland Browns traded for quarterback Deshaun Watson knowing that they may not have him for a full season in 2022. After all, Watson could still be suspended by the NFL for multiple games if it finds he violated its personal conduct policy.
As you likely know, he was accused of sexual misconduct by more than 20 massage therapists. While a Grand Jury didn’t find enough evidence to take the case to trial, the NFL will come up with its own judgment.
So, it’s easy to see why everyone is thinking Watson will miss some time.
Quarterback Deshaun Watson of the Cleveland Browns speaks during his press conference introducing him to the Cleveland Browns at CrossCountry Mortgage Campus on March 25, 2022 in Berea, Ohio. (Nick Cammett/Getty Images)
But not so fast, said longtime Brown beat reporter Tony Grossi. Watson may be in the clear, at least when it comes to being available for all of next season.
“Originally, I thought a suspension was unavoidable,” Grossi wrote in answering fan email. “Now there is a possibility a suspension could be delayed until 2023 until the 22 civil cases against Watson are tried or settled.”
Deshaun Watson #4 of the Houston Texans in action against the Tennessee Titans during a game at NRG Stadium on January 03, 2021 in Houston, Texas. (Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)
Once it became known that Watson was made available by the Houston Texans, he became the most pursued QB of the offseason. Early reports suggested he told the Browns they were out of the running. Then suddenly, they weren’t.
Again, everyone approached a potential Watson trade as if he would be sidelined by the league for no less than four games, likely more. He’s so good that no one cared.
Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) rolls out of the pocket against the Cincinnati Bengals during the third quarter at NRG Stadium on Dec 27, 2020. (Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports)
Now, perhaps, the Browns won’t have to. At least not in Year One with Watson.