Very little has been said in recent weeks about the situation surrounding Deshaun Watson and the sexual assault lawsuits he is facing. The assumption is that Watson will either be suspended or placed on the Commissioner’s Exempt list, but is there still a possibility we could see him on the field this season?
Rich Eisen thinks so. When discussing the Watson saga on his show this week, Eisen said he heard around the time of the NFL draft that Watson was working on settling cases with some or all of his 22-plus alleged victims. He believes that could allow Watson to play at some point in 2021.
“I think it’s quiet right now for a reason. You don’t hear a word from a lawyer (Tony Buzbee) who was on Instagram like he was a 16-year-old sophomore,” Eisen said. “Every single thing was going on Instagram. You don’t hear a word from him right now, do you? Why? Anybody who knows the legal system knows that means something’s being discussed and you don’t want to upset it.
“You could (say) settling doesn’t remove anything with Deshaun Watson. That’s correct, he could still get suspended, but not for the entirety of the 2021 season.”
Watson’s case is unprecedented in some ways. We have yet to hear of him facing any criminal charges, and all of the cases are civil in nature thus far. However, the allegations have been made by so many different women that there are a number of ways the NFL could handle it.
Antonio Brown was suspended eight weeks to start the 2020 season after he faced sexual assault allegations, so Watson could face a similar penalty. His suspension could also be longer given that more than 20 women have made similar claims against him.
We know of at least one NFC team that is still interested in trading for Watson. If there comes a point where there is more clarity with the sexual assault scandal, the trade talks could quickly pick back up.