While Deshaun Watson will not face criminal charges after two grand juries decided against pursuing them, the Cleveland Browns quarterback still faces the strong possibility of a civil trial brought by 22 plaintiffs accusing him of sexual assault and harassment.
However, an agreement between his lawyers and the lawyer representing the plaintiffs will ensure that the trial does not happen during the 2022-2023 NFL season.
Via Adam Ferrise of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the two sides have agreed that no trials will be scheduled between August 1, 2022, and March 1, 2023, which roughly spans NFL training camp to the post-Super Bowl time period. According to Tony Buzbee, the lawyer representing the 22 plaintiffs, he is attempting to get a trial scheduled for this July, but if that can’t happen he will try to schedule it for March 2023.
It’s also entirely possible the two sides will come to an agreement on a settlement amount before or during the season.
The longer these legal issues remain unresolved, the longer they’ll hang over Watson, the Browns, and the NFL. However, in their eyes, it must be good news to know that Watson’s first season in Cleveland will not be interrupted by a trial. In as much as anyone can find “good news” in this situation.
It’s still entirely possible that the NFL will suspend Watson, who claims to have never assaulted any of the plaintiffs, for a series of games this season. Watson’s contract is structured so that he only makes $1 million (out of $220 million) this year, which appears to be a way to skirt the financial impact of any suspensions. The Browns have denied doing this on purpose.