The Cleveland Browns didn’t just trade with the Houston Texans for quarterback Deshaun Watson, they also made history by handing Watson a record-breaking $230 million contract with all of that money fully guaranteed.
Earlier this month, it was reported that the NFL and NFL Players Association reached an agreement for Watson to ultimately serve an 11-game suspension regarding the sexual-misconduct allegations even though the league wanted him to sit out the entire 2022 campaign.
For his “Football Morning in America” column published early on Monday, NBC Sports’ Peter King reported that “a prominent team executive” remarked that “multiple owners” told NFL commissioner Roger Goodell they didn’t want Watson suspended for an entire season.
According to NFL reporter Peter King, “multiple owners who didn’t want Deshaun Watson suspended for the season, and told Roger Goodell that.”
“Reasoning: If Watson was banned for the year, his contract would have rolled over into 2023, and the Browns would have had him for an extra season—through the 2027 season. By Watson playing part of this season, his contract now expires after the 2026 season, and the Browns will owe him $40 million for being eligible to play a meager six games in 2022.
The way NFL contracts work is if a player doesn’t play in a season because he either chooses to sit out or is suspended for the year, the contract “tolls,’’ or is pushed back one season. Watson, of course, was suspended 11 games and fined $5 million on sexual-offense charges.”
It was previously reported that owners throughout the NFL were upset that the Browns gave Watson $230 million in fully-guaranteed cash and that the franchise also allegedly “rigged the Watson contract so that his suspension would cause him to lose only a fraction of his 2022 compensation.” Watson’s base salary for 2022 is set at $1.035 million per the terms of the deal.
Whether or not those owners influenced Goodell’s decision, they got their wish.