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Source: Browns Adjust Deshaun Watson Contract for Possible Suspension

Editors note: This story contains accounts of sexual assault. If you or someone you know is a survivor of sexual assault, contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673 or at https://www.rainn.org

Deshaun Watson confirmed that he is headed to the Browns after reports surfaced that he planned to waive his no-trade clause, but Cleveland and the Texans are still working on finalizing the trade details.

His new contract will be a five-year, $230 million deal that is fully guaranteed, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. It will set a new record for the largest guaranteed contract in league history.

However, there is one addition to the contract that could have been added due to the ongoing NFL investigation. 

A source told Sports Illustrated‘s Albert Breer that under Watson’s new deal, he will lose only $55,556 for every game he’s suspended. Comparatively, the quarterback’s contract with Houston had him losing $1.94 million each game he missed due to suspension.

This is because his base salary is just $1 million in 2022, per NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport.

NFL spokesperson Brian McCarthy said in a statement to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero that the investigation is still ongoing. 

“Any transaction would have no effect on the NFL’s ongoing and comprehensive investigations of the serious allegations against Deshaun Watson. Nor would it affect his status under the Collective Bargaining Agreement and the Personal Conduct Policy. 

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“If the league’s investigation determines that Watson violated the Personal Conduct Policy, discipline may be imposed pursuant to the policy and the CBA.”

A grand jury recently returned nine “no” bills on nine criminal complaints against Watson, and the prosecutor said it concluded the criminal proceedings against him in Harris County. But the quarterback’s legal troubles are not over—he still faces 22 active civil lawsuits filed against him that allege sexual harassment and assault. The graphic accounts from women range from Watson allegedly refusing to cover his genitals to forcing women to put his penis in their mouths.

Watson’s attorney, Rusty Hardin, said in a statement after the announcement was made, “Now that the criminal investigations have been completed, we are happy to move forward with the civil case depositions. We will vigorously defend those cases with every ounce we have.”

The civil depositions are ongoing, and they began on the same day the grand jury convened. The quarterback reportedly invoked the Fifth Amendment during the first two depositions, but he reportedly answered questions under oath several days after the criminal proceedings concluded.

These civil cases are unrelated to the grand jury proceedings that occurred March 11. As the civil deposition proceedings continue, here’s what has happened on and off the field since Watson’s last snap.

“I'm just going to keep fighting to rebuild my name and rebuild my appearance in the community,” Watson said during his public remarks after hearing the grand jury decision. “And on the legal side handle what we need to handle. But also ready to get on the field, and prep for that.” 

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