After a successful appeal of the six-game suspension levied against Deshaun Watson, an agreement between the NFL and the NFLPA now sees the quarterback sidelined for 11 games. The quarterback has also been handed a $5 million fine, the larges ever dealt to any player in NFL history.
The terms fall short of the year-long suspension that the league had hoped for, but the settlement at least prevents further legal battles and offers some sort of closure to a case that has dominated the headlines for more than a year.
The Cleveland Browns had to know that Watson would likely face some sort of suspension, but the franchise was still willing to ship their 2022, 2023, and 2024 first-round picks; the 2022 third-round pick, and 2024’s fourth-round pick to the Texans to acquire the young quarterback and Houston’s sixth-round pick in the 2024 draft.
As the newest addition to Cleveland’s never-ending quarterback carousel, Watson inked a 5 year, $230 million deal that sees all $230 guaranteed. The Browns’ decision to offer a 100% guarantee ($46 million annual salary) is shocking, not only because it is unprecedented at this number, but because the threat of an eventual suspension seemed imminent.
Sportsbooks were quick to react to the news, making swift adjustments to the Browns’ Super Bowl odds, win totals, and division futures to reflect Watson’s absence from the large part of the season.
The team was never expected to be a true Super Bowl contender, but Cleveland’s 25-1 odds to hoist the Lombardi Trophy quickly fell to 45-1, knocking them out of the top-15 contenders.
Interestingly to note, the Cleveland Browns’ season win total line only fell one game, despite the additional 5 game suspension. Bettors could wager on the over/under 9.5 wins ahead of the ruling, but the line now sits at 8 games.
Cleveland Browns Betting Odds Movements Via BetOnline.ag
- Super Bowl: 25-1 to 45-1
- AFC: 11-1 to 20-1
- AFC North: +275 to +475
Will the Browns make the NFL playoffs?
Odds are also up for Browns’ win totals for Week 1-11 (4.5) and Week 12-17 (3.5).
“We were not surprised that Watson’s suspension was extended,” shared BetOnline oddsmaker, Adam Burns. “But the uncertainty was still there, leaving their Super Bowl odds in flux. We made the move from 25-1 to 45-1 once the news came out.”
“In regards to win totals, they do have a pretty light schedule to start the season. We are offering a team win total of 4.5 in 1st 11 games, with the full season line sitting at 8.5.”
“Still, no one seems to be betting the Browns regardless of the news. It wouldn’t shock me to see the 45-1 getting even higher to stimulate some action on this extremely unlikely outcome.”
As part of the settlement, Watson will still be allowed to participate in team practices and even play in preseason games up through August 30th. Deshaun can return to team facilities on October 10th, and can join full team practices on November 14th, two weeks before he is eligible to return to the field.
This allows for Watson to work with the staff, learn the schemes, and pick up reps with the team at practice, meaning that some chemistry will already be in place when the suspension concludes at the start of Week 13.
Watson’s first game back? A date with his former team, the Houston Texans.