A season-long suspension of Deshaun Watson might have been better for the Browns



USA TODAY Sports

It would have been bad for Brown’s quarterback Deshaun Watson to be suspended for the entire season. It arguably wouldn’t have been that bad for the Browns.

If Watson had missed the full season, his contract would have been valid until next year. It would have been a real break in his career. He would have been paid the minimum salary for 2023 (something in the $1 million range), rather than the $46 million he would earn. And he would have been under contract until 2027, not 2026.

The 11-game suspension says nothing about his contract. (Some suggest that a 12-game suspension would have delayed his contract by a year. Without going into the specifics, that’s inaccurate.) So next year, the Browns will have to pay Watson $46 million, barring a restructuring. And they’ll only have it until 2026, not 2027 – except for an extension.

What will six games with Watson do for the Browns in 2022? Perhaps due to a difficult schedule, they will tread water and have a chance to get warm. But when he returns in December, it will be nearly 23 months since he last played in a regular league game.

Whatever the Browns do this year, if Watson isn’t there for 11 games, it’s going to be harder to get there. But it still counts as the first of five years under his contract. From 2023, he only has four years to go.

So yes, it would arguably have been better for the Browns not to have Watson at all in 2022. Especially if, when he returns, they are something in the range of 4-7 or worse.



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