Deshaun Watson has been suspended 11 games and fined $5 million.
Retired federal judge Sue Robinson initially handed down a six-game suspension to Watson on Aug. 1. Given the structure of his five-year, $230 million contract – a large signing bonus with a paltry nominal salary for the 2022 season – it only would have cost the quarterback around $345,000.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell appealed the punishment under the league’s Personal Conduct Policy, and appointed New Jersey’s former attorney general Peter Harvey as the designee to hear the case. The NFL and NFLPA reached an agreement on the punishment before Harvey ruled.
Watson was accused of sexual misconduct by more than two dozen Houston-area massage therapists, who made lurid allegations about the star quarterback’s behavior.
Watson did not face criminal charges in Texas over the allegations, but he has settled 24 of the 25 civil lawsuits brought about by plaintiffs attorney Tony Buzbee.
Terms of the settlements were undisclosed.
The 26-year-old Watson was traded from the Texans to the Browns this offseason for a package that included three first round picks. Watson is slated to return in Week 13 against the Texans in Houston.