Deshaun Watson has reached confidential settlements with "all but four'' civil lawsuits against him, opposing attorney Tony Buzbee announced on Tuesday.
“We are working through the paperwork related to those settlements,” Buzbee said. “Once we have done so, those particular cases will be dismissed.”
There are more shoes to drop here, other plaintiffs for one, and the NFL's plan for another. After all, it's been almost a month since NFL commissioner Roger Goodell stated that the league was "nearing the end of the investigation" into former Houston Texans quarterback Watson. But some clarity seems to be on the way.
Whether the NFL timeline was extended after two more civil cases alleging sexual misconduct and/or sexual assault by massage therapists were filed (with a further two expected soon) against the Cleveland Browns quarterback, taking the total to 24 lawsuits, is unknown.
Regardless, according to The Washington Post: "The NFL will argue that Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson should receive a 'significant' suspension for violating the league’s personal conduct policy."
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The Post reported that, per a source close to Watson, it is likely to be a proposed one-year suspension.
However, a source in the know regarding the NFL's stance "cautioned to be 'careful' about specifying a precise length at this point for the suspension."
The Post writes that the league is aiming to have this whole matter finalized by the start of the Browns' training camp on July 27. This time frame includes any potential appeals - but of course doe not take into consideration the civil issues.
The NFLPA is already preparing to launch "an aggressive defense on Watson’s behalf" should the NFL attempt to hit Watson with an unpaid suspension, per Pro Football Talk. The player's union reportedly plans to use how the NFL dealt with cases surrounding Washington Commanders owner Dan Snyder, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, and New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft as comparisons.
Watson recently spoke publicly for the first time since his introductory press conference for the Browns back in March this week, and maintained his innocence.
"I’ve never forced anyone," Watson said after the first day of mandatory mini-camp. "I never harassed anyone or I never disrespected anyone. I’ve never assaulted anyone. I’ve been saying it from the beginning and I’m going to continue to say it until the facts come out."