CLEVELAND — As a likely punishment from the NFL nears for Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson, a new report has shed some light on how a potential suspension could be issued.
According to CBS Sports' Josina Anderson, the NFL and NFL Players Association and Watson's representatives have recently discussed a negotiated suspension for Watson, who the league is investigating after 24 women filed lawsuits accusing the three-time Pro Bowl quarterback of sexual misconduct, including sexual harassment and assault. While Anderson also reported that those talks have since fallen apart, her report marks the first indication that the two sides have been negotiating a potential deal.
"I'm told there've been recent attempts by the NFL, the NFLPA & Deshaun Watson's advisors to negotiate a discipline settlement," Anderson tweeted. "However talks involving a potential number of games missed "fell apart" not being on the same page. As of now, process moves forward, per league sources."
Earlier this week, Watson reached settlements with 20 of his 24 accusers, which resulted in those 20 cases being dismissed. In a statement, an NFL spokesperson said that the settlements wouldn't play a factor in the league's investigation into Watson, who could be punished if it's found he violated the NFL's personal conduct policy.
Two Texas grand juries have declined to indict Watson, who the Browns acquired in a blockbuster trade with the Houston Texans earlier this year. Upon acquiring the Clemson product, Cleveland signed the 26-year-old signal-caller to a record fully guaranteed five-year, $230 million contract.
Watson, who sat out the entirety of the 2021 season in Houston, has publicly maintained his innocence.
"I never assaulted, I never disrespected and I never harassed any woman in my life," Watson said during his introductory press conference with the Browns in March. "I wasn't raised that way. My mom and my aunties didn't raise me that way over the course of my life. That's not in my DNA. As far as the details of the things that they're alleging, I can't speak on that because there's an ongoing investigation. But in the future, once everything's resolved, I would sit down and love to talk about it."