When the newest lawsuit was filed on Tuesday, it included an interesting piece of information: Apparently, Watson offered $100,000 to each plaintiff in an effort to settle each of the 22 lawsuits that he was facing. It had already been known that settlement talks took place around the trade deadline last season, but it wasn’t known how much Watson was offering to settle each case.
As first noted by Pro Football Talk, there’s a notation in the most recent lawsuit that mentions the settlement offer. The latest lawsuit is 11 pages long and tucked away on the second page was a notation about the settlement offer.
Here’s what the notation says, “We now know that Deshaun Watson offered each Plaintiff $100,000 to settle their cases, but not all would accept that amount, due to the aggressive nondisclosure agreement [NDA] that Watson’s team proposed.”
The notation was added by Tony Buzbee, who represents each of the 23 plaintiffs. Buzbee is the lawyer for all 22 women who were involved in the settlement talks and he also represents the woman who filed her lawsuit this week.
So why would Watson make a settlement offer if he insists that he’s innocent? Here’s a look at how the offer ties into everything that’s happened over the past nine months:
- It appears this offer was made around October. Back in January, one of the woman in the case offered a copy of the NDA to the Daily Beast. The woman never signed the NDA, which noted that Watson would be willing to pay her $100,000 to sign it at some point in October. At the time, it wasn’t clear if the offer was just for her or if it was made to the other women. Based on the court documents released this week, it appears the offer was made to all 22 women.
- Why did Watson’s team want an NDA? Watson’s attorney recently explained that the only reason he was looking to have the women sign an NDA is because the Miami Dolphins wanted it. The Dolphins were trying to make a trade for Watson back in October and according to multiple reports at the time, they were only going to go through with the deal if Watson reached a settlement with all 22 women who had filed a lawsuit. In the end, only 18 of the 22 women agreed, which blew up the trade and took the settlement off the table since it was an all-or-nothing deal.
- Tony Buzbee says the NDA ruined the settlement talks. After the trade deadline, Buzbee said that the aggressive NDAs is what killed the deal, “In what was submitted to us, there were nondisclosure agreements and many of the women pushed back on those,” Buzbee said in November. Buzbee specifically referred to the NDAs as a “deal-breaker” during that same interview.
Basically, it seems that Watson’s camp offered the $100,000 settlement to each plaintiff in order to facilitate a trade to the Dolphins, which tells you how close a trade was to happening. If all 22 women had agreed to Watson’s settlement offer, it’s possible that Watson would be playing for the Dolphins right now, but four of the women pushed back and refused to sign.
As things currently stand, Watson is still facing 23 civil lawsuits. In the meantime, the NFL is finishing up its investigation into the Browns quarterback, an investigation that should be completed soon, according to commissioner Roger Goodell.
“I think we’re nearing the end of the investigative period,” Goodell said at the Spring League Meeting on May 24. “Then it will be handled by our disciplinary officer.”
Even though the investigation is expected to be wrapped up in the near future, Goodell hasn’t given a timeline for a possible announcement of the findings where the league would reveal whether Watson is facing a punishment or not.