Agent’s Take: Deshaun Watson’s potential suspension carries varying financial ramifications

Agent’s Take: Deshaun Watson’s potential suspension carries varying financial ramifications

A crucial step in resolving Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson’s playing status for the 2022 season is taking place. A disciplinary hearing to determine whether Watson violated the NFL’s Personal Conduct Policy conduct started on Tuesday.

Watson had been facing 24 civil lawsuits alleging inappropriate sexual conduct by him during massage sessions that took place while he was with the Houston Texans. Twenty of the 24 cases were settled last week. Two grand juries in Texas declined to pursue criminal charges against Watson, who has denied any wrongdoing, earlier this year. 

Retired U.S. District Court judge Sue L. Robinson, who was jointly appointed by the NFL and NFLPA, is conducting the hearing. The proceeding is expected to last several days.

Procedurally, the NFL was required to inform Robinson, Watson and the NFLPA of its recommended discipline at least 10 days prior to the hearing, according to the NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement. There are multiple reports of the NFL seeking an indefinite suspension that lasts at least one year. Talks between the NFL and the NFLPA/Watson prior to the hearing failed to produce a settlement.

There isn’t a set timetable for Robinson to issue a ruling. Ideally, a ruling will occur before the Browns open training camp on July 27. A finding of no policy violation, which doesn’t seem likely, would be the final resolution of the case.

Both sides have three business days to file an appeal if discipline is imposed. Commissioner Roger Goodell or someone he appoints as his designee would preside over the appeal, with the latitude to increase, decrease or affirm Robinson’s punishment.

Signing bonus forfeiture/voiding of guarantees

Whether Watson receives a yearlong suspension or is allowed to play football this season, the $44.965 million signing bonus in the fully guaranteed five-year contract worth $230 million he

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Agent’s Take: Kyler Murray, DK Metcalf, Deebo Samuel headline nine NFL stars seeking a big deal or trade

Player dissatisfaction with existing contracts and frustration with the negotiation of new contracts regularly occurs every offseason. There are different ways to handle contract unhappiness. Some players attend offseason workouts as a gesture of good faith that there will be a positive result. Others express their displeasure by refusing to attend the offseason workout program, organized team activities and mandatory minicamp. 

The three-day June minicamp camp is the only mandatory offseason activity. Players under contract who don’t attend this minicamp are subject to a $95,877 fine under the NFL collective bargaining agreement this year. It’s a $15,980 hit for the first day missed, $31,980 for a second missed day and $47,936 with a third missed day.

These penalties for missing mandatory minicamp don’t apply to unsigned restricted free agents, franchise and transition players. Their attendance isn’t required because of the absence of a signed contract. Players under contract are withholding services they are contractually obligated to perform while unsigned players have no such obligation.

Twelve of the 32 NFL teams (Colts, Buccaneers, 49ers, Giants, Lions, Packers, Patriots, Raiders, Rams Seahawks, Steelers and Vikings) are holding minicamp this week. Seventeen teams will have minicamp next week. The Dolphins had their minicamp last week. The Bengals and Eagles will not be holding a mandatory minicamp.

Here’s a look at the situations of nine notable players who are unhappy with their situations, who either want a new contract or a trade. Three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald was going to headline the list. He was threatening retirement until the Rams gave him an unprecedented three-year, $95 million contract, which added $40 million to his existing deal without getting any new contract years in return, on Monday. Donald becomes the first non-quarterback to break the $30 million-per-year barrier. He was also

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NFL free agency matchmaker: Projecting contracts, landing spots for 25 big-name 2022 free agents

NFL free agency matchmaker: Projecting contracts, landing spots for 25 big-name 2022 free agents

The 2022 NFL offseason will officially begin on March 16, but free agency talk is already well underway. Veterans with expiring contracts can begin negotiations with other teams on March 14, and that’s not even accounting for the uncertain futures of big names like Aaron Rodgers, who may or may not be back in Green Bay.

As we approach the open market, here’s one stab at where some of the top names could end up, and what kind of money they could fetch in free agency — a look at 25 different potential landing spots for players at every position:

Note: The following players were not included because they are projected to re-sign with their current teams: Packers WR Davante Adams, Buccaneers WR Chris Godwin, Chargers WR Mike Williams, Rams WR Odell Beckham Jr., Chiefs OT Orlando Brown Jr., Bengals S Jessie Bates III.

Projected terms: Three years, $61.5 million | Per year: $20.5 million

Regardless of whether the Colts replace QB Carson Wentz, they need better pass protection. Armstead is a major upgrade on Eric Fisher when healthy, not to mention a proven locker-room leader. GM Chris Ballard pays up to protect whomever’s under center.

Projected terms: Four years, $72 million | Per year: $18 million

Houston needs play-makers everywhere, but especially at corner. New coach Lovie Smith gets a building block for his defense, and general manager Nick Caserio knows Jackson from New England. At 26, the ex-Patriots star instantly boosts their secondary.

Projected terms: One year, $17 million | Per year: $17 million

A key piece of the Rams’ Super Bowl rotation, he has the flexibility to be picky at 33, and a big one-year payday allows him a chance to latch onto another contender before re-evaluating in 2023. Baltimore gets itself a plug-and-play No. 1 edge

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Notable MLB free agents are signing in Japan and South Korea during lockout; will bigger names follow?

Notable MLB free agents are signing in Japan and South Korea during lockout; will bigger names follow?

Back in 1987, with Major League Baseball’s owners colluding against the players to suppress salaries, Bob Horner took matters into his own hands. Horner, a former All-Star and Rookie of the Year Award recipient, had homered 54 times and posted a 121 OPS+ for the Atlanta Braves in the 1985 and 1986 seasons, making it all the more jarring when he agreed to a one-year contract with the Yakult Swallows. The Swallows, part of Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball league, were willing to do what no MLB club would deign itself to do: pay Horner what he believed he was worth, or nearly $2 million. 

“The Japanese called and made a good offer,” he said, according to a Los Angeles Times article. “I was at the point of thinking I was going to sit out the whole year.”

Horner didn’t enjoy his time in Japan. He later turned down a multi-year offer from the Swallows to return to the majors, where he suffered a career-ending shoulder injury a year later. Still, fans of a certain age might have thought about Horner once or twice already this offseason. With MLB’s franchise owners locking out the players on Dec. 2, the hot stove has been snuffed out. (“Any contact with major league players or agents on any topic is prohibited,” is the league’s instruction to front-office personnel.) The only transaction news to devour in the time since has been the steady drumbeat of MLB players pushing off America’s shores for more certainty in Japan’s NPB or the Korean Baseball Organization, the world’s No. 2 and 3 leagues.

The holiday weekend alone saw third baseman Rio Ruiz, a veteran of parts of six big-league seasons, and Chris Gittens, who appeared in 16 games with the New York Yankees, sign with Asian league teams.

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