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Why on earth did Deshaun Watson reject the NFL’s settlement offer?

With NFL now set to appeal his suspension, the Browns QB may yet find himself in even worse trouble should the league get its wish.

Deshaun Watson pasaría un segundo año fuera de la NFL
Nick CammettAFP

Given that the NFL has now made it clear that it intends to appeal Watson’s six-game suspension, there is a real possibility that he could find himself on the end of an even worse punishment in the coming weeks.

The NFL is going to appeal Deshaun Watson’s suspension, so what now?

As has been well documented, The NFL always wanted Watson to receive a suspension of at least one year. With that in mind, it stands to reason that the league will be seeking exactly that when the appeal process begins. As for how that process will go, it’s understood - in keeping with the league’s CBA - that Roger Goodell or a designated individual of his choosing, will now have the last call. This is all to say, that it’s highly likely that in an appeal process that the NFL has initiated and moreover are in control of, Deshaun Watson is probably going to get more time added to his suspension.

What’s curious here is the fact that recent reports have indicated that it didn’t have to come to this. Indeed, Watson was reportedly given the option to settle by the NFL and that was before Judge Sue Robinson delivered her ruling on Monday morning. As per reports, both the NFL and Watson were engaged in the negotiation of a settlement, but it is now clear that none was reached. Allegedly, while the NFL was intent on seeing Watson suspended for a full year, the league was prepared to reduce the time through a settlement. What was the NFL’s offer? According to reports, the final offer from the league was a 12-game suspension along with a fine of $8 million to $10 million.

Why didn’t Deshaun Watson accept the NFL’s offer?

Though there are varying layers to this, what we can understand is that Watson’s team dismissed the idea of settlement because they were unwilling to accept any offer that would see the QB suspended for more than six to eight games. It’s also understood, that Watson indicated he was not prepared to pay any heavy fines. A safe assumption here is that Watson and his representatives preferred to take their chances. The problem is, with things being as they are it would appear that gamble was a mistake. Had he accepted the offer, he wouldn’t be facing an appeal process and with it, the very real possibility of an even more severe punishment.

Does Deshaun Watson have any hope?

Ironically, the NFL may have inadvertently done Watson a favor. By starting the process of appealing his suspension, there is now more time on the clock which one has to hope Watson’s legal team will use in an effort to negotiate with the NFL. Given where things are at, the best Watson can hope for will be a 12-suspension - the original settlement offer. Consider for a moment, that the NFL actually offered that quantity of games to Watson in the first place. In case you’re wondering, that number is not random. With Watson and the Browns set to face the Texans in Week 13 of the season, one can imagine that the league is not enthusiastic about seeing that happen, given the Texans own implication in the quarterback’s case.

What happens if Deshaun Watson and the NFL can’t settle?

To be frank, if the two sides can’t find a middle ground, then Watson’s case will likely find its way to federal court. That being said, reports on Thursday suggest that Watson’s team has made no firm decision on whether or not to file a federal lawsuit. At this point, it would appear that we have a waiting game in progress. If the suspension is increased to 12 games, then all things considered, Watson’s team will probably accept and go quietly. Should the NFL seek to suspend him for a year, then expect this fight to go the distance. Regardless, Watson and Co. have until Friday to respond to the NFL’s appeal which means we’re just getting warmed up.


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