Deshaun Watson gets muted reaction at Browns' open practice
BEREA, Ohio (AP) — Deshaun Watson sprinted onto the field to a light round of cheers Saturday at the Cleveland Browns' first open practice of training camp. The noticeably muted reaction reflected the uncertainty surrounding Cleveland’s controversial new quarterback. Watson was the focal point as the Browns worked out in front of a near-capacity crowd at their suburban headquarters. He briefly waved while running to the middle of the practice fields, but did not speak with the media.
The Cleveland Browns certainly raised eyebrows when they decided to sign controversial quarterback Deshaun Watson to a massive $230 million contract amid sexual misconduct allegations. © Provided by The Comeback Deshaun Watson
Watson has since settled with 23 of his 24 accusers and has been issued a six-game suspension that will be final unless the NFL wins their appeal to potentially extend Watson’s suspension for the whole season.
The criticism for Watson has been non-stop, and there is now even more criticism towards both Watson and the Cleveland Browns. This time it comes from other NFL teams about the contract that Watson signed back in March.
Attention on Watson and the Browns Nothing New in Cleveland
The team has dealt with a lot of unusual circumstances the last decade, but this one is obviously different. BEREA, Ohio—This Day 1 wasn’t unlike a lot of others in this corner of suburban Cleveland.There was the year the Browns had 28-year-old first-round quarterback Brandon Weeden. The year Johnny Manziel arrived. The year Baker Mayfield got here. The year Odell Beckham Jr. came on board. New coach after new coach. Lots of hopes that ended up dashed. And that’s just in the last decade alone.
NBC Sport’s Peter King reported last week that an “influential NFL person” told him that teams around the league are upset with the Browns “rigging” Watson’s contract so he will only miss out on a fraction of his pay in 2022 due to his suspension.
“One influential NFL person told me on this trip that it doesn’t sit well with the league or 31 other owners that the Browns rigged the Watson contract so that his suspension would cause him to lose only a fraction of his 2022 compensation,” said King.
Their gripe with the contract seems to be that the team paid Watson an $8.9 million signing bonus for the 2022 season which will not be deducted with the suspension, while only paying him a little over $1 million in base pay.
Due to this, Watson will only lose out on $345,000 next season if his suspension duration remains the same, which is minuscule compared to the $46 million he is set to make in base pay for the 2023-24 NFL season.
Watson Suspension: Last-Minute Settlement Talks, Next Steps
The NFL must now weigh several factors as the league decides whether to appeal a suspension lighter than it wanted. There’s a passage in Sue L. Robinson’s 15-page decision on Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson that cuts to the heart of how she felt the NFL wanted the disciplinary process to go. It’s one that can also illuminate where things go next.“The NFL may be a ‘forward-facing’ organization, but it is not necessarily a forward-looking one,” she wrote. “Just as the NFL responded to violent conduct after a public outcry, so it seems the NFL is responding to yet another public outcry about Mr.
The Browns likely anticipated some sort of suspension and wanted to make sure Watson lost out on the least amount of money as possible while the suspension played out.
It is certainly a smart decision from both the Browns and Watson’s agent, but the morality of the situation is definitely questionable, and others are now justifiably calling both sides out on this decision.
[Fox News, Pro Football Talk]
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