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NFL

Deshaun Watson fined $5 million: What is the biggest fine in NFL history?

Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson has been slapped with a $5 million fine- the largest individual fine in the history of the NFL.

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In the history of the NFL there have been notable financial penalties for teams such as the New Orleans Saints for their reward program for players who injured opponents (also called the Bountygate scandal); that of the Washington Commanders for creating a hostile work environment; and that of the New England Patriots for Deflategate, where quarterback Tom Brady supposedly ordered the deliberate deflation of footballs during an AFC Championship game.

However, Deshaun Watson’s $5 million fine for violating NFL conduct guidelines is the largest in history for an individual. His penalty is so large that it also goes down as the second largest fine ever handed out in the league, whether to an entity or an individual.

Apart from Watson, here are the most significant fines for individual players, coaches or owners set by the NFL.

Eddie DeBartolo Jr.

The former owner of the San Francisco 49ers was fined $1 million by the league in 1999 after pleading guilty to one felony charge in a Louisiana gambling scandal.

Jamal lewis

Lewis is one of only eight running backs in NFL history to record a season with more than 2,000 rushing yards. However, his legacy was tarnished when he pleaded guilty to federal drug possession charges in 2004 and was fined $760,000 by the league.

Bill Belichick

In 2007 the head coach of the New England Patriots received what was until then the largest individual fine imposed by the NFL when he was punished with 500 thousand dollars due to Spygate, a scandal involving illegally videotaping the hand signals of their opponents. This remains the biggest fine for a head coach. For their part, the Pats were penalized $250,000 and lost a first-round pick.

Jim Irsay

The owner of the Indianapolis Colts was fined the same amount as the head coach of the Pats, but for different reasons. Irsay pleaded guilty to driving under the influence in 2014, and the NFL added a six-game suspension.

Shawn Rogers

The former Cleveland Browns defensive tackle was arrested in 2010 at Hopkins International Airport with a loaded gun and for this reason the league decided to punish him with a $400,000 penalty, the salary of one game.

Biggest fines in NFL history

Some of these individual fines also made it to the all-time list. Here’s a record of the biggest penalties meted out by the league.

RANKTEAM/INDIVIDUALAMOUNTREASON
1Washington Commanders$10 millionHostile work environment
2Deshaun Watson$5 millionPersonal conduct policy violation
3Denver Broncos$1.918 millionCircumventing salary cap
4-TNew England Patriots$1 millionDeflategate scandal
4-TEddie DeBartolo Jr.$1 millionGambling scandal
5Las Vegas Raiders$800,000Violating covid-19 protocols
6Jamal Lewis$760,000Federal drug possession
7New Orleans Saints$700,000Violating covid-19 protocols
8-TNew Orleans Saints$500,000Bountygate scandal
8-TBill Belichick$500,000Illegally recording opponent hand signs
8-TJim Irsay$500,000Driving under the influence
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