Saturday, June 25, 2022

NFL to meet with Deshaun Watson this week; Browns QB plans to take new offensive teammates to the Bahamas

Deshaun Watson has a busy week ahead of him. The Cleveland Browns‘ new quarterback is scheduled to meet with the NFL in Texas, as reported by CBS Sports NFL Insider Josina Anderson. Watson then plans to treat his offensive teammates to a trip to the Bahamas this weekend. Watson has already secured a practice field where he and his teammates can train. 

The NFL continues to investigate Watson to determine if the three-time Pro Bowler violated the league’s code of conduct policy. Watson, 26, is facing 22 civil lawsuits from women who accused him of inappropriate sexual conduct during massage sessions. Watson, who has denied any wrongdoing, was not indicted on criminal chargers by two Texas grand juries earlier this offseason. 

The league introduced its new conduct policy in 2007 in an attempt to improve off-field player behavior. One of the most notable suspensions involved current Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott. Elliott served a six-game suspension in 2017 despite the NFL’s lead investigator in the case reportedly recommending that no suspension take place. With Elliott sidelined, the Cowboys missed the playoffs a year after going 13-3. 

During Watson’s introductory press conference in Cleveland, Browns GM Andrew Berry fielded questions about a possible suspension involving his new quarterback. Berry said that the team has and would continue to have open communication with the NFL. Berry added that Watson’s salary — which includes a $1 million base salary for the 2022 season — is not to protect the team from a possible suspension but to give them flexibility moving forward. 

The Browns have several options in place in the event that Watson is suspended. The team signed veterans Jacoby Brissett and Joshua Dobbs this offseason. Cleveland also still has Baker Mayfield, who is remains under contract despite publicly requesting a trade. 

If Watson is suspended for the first six games, he would miss road games at Carolina and Atlanta and home games against the Jets, Steelers, Chargers and Patriots. His first game back would be against the Ravens in Baltimore in Week 7. His first home game as the Browns quarterback would take place the following weekend against the defending AFC champion Cincinnati Bengals

Watson is surely hoping to have a good meeting with the NFL before departing to the Bahamas with his teammates. He will look to build chemistry with his new offensive teammates who include former Cowboys wideout Amari Cooper, rookie receiver David Bell, running backs Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt, tight ends David Njoku and Harrison Bryant, and offensive linemen Jedrick Wills Jr., Joel Bitonio, Nick Harris, Wyatt Teller and Jack Conklin

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