Deshaun Watson Suspended for 6 Games
Deshaun Watson has made headlines this summer for all the wrong reasons. The talented quarterback was involved in two dozen lawsuits from women alleging that he had sexually assaulted them and, while all but one of these cases has been settled without criminal charges, Deshaun Watson still faced a hearing from the league about a possible suspension.
On Monday, August 1, the National Football League (NFL) announced that it had suspended Deshaun Watson for the first six games of the season for violating the league’s personal conduct policy. Judge Sue Robinson reviewed the case on behalf of the NFL and the NFLPA.
“Although this is the most significant punishment ever imposed on an NFL player for allegations of non-violent sexual conduct, Mr. Watson’s pattern of conduct is more egregious than any before reviewed by the NFL,” Robinson wrote after reviewing the facts. “While it may be entirely appropriate to more severely discipline players for nonviolent sexual conduct, I do not believe it is appropriate to do so without notice of the extraordinary change this position portends for the NFL and its players.”
Watson was acquired by the Cleveland Browns during the offseason despite the team knowing a suspension, at the very least, was possible. Cleveland also dealt Baker Mayfield to make room for Deshaun Watson, but now won’t have either for the first six games of a season in which they hope to be competitive.
The Browns Super Bowl Odds Improved
Although a six-game suspension to a star QB like Deshaun Watson might normally hurt a team’s Super Bowl odds, the Browns betting odds of winning the AFC and Super Bowl improved after the announcement of Watson’s suspension. Many reporters – and sportsbooks – believed Watson could miss the entire year.
At BetMGM, Cleveland was listed at +3000 to win the Super Bowl before Deshaun Watson’s suspension. The sportsbook now has the Browns at +2000. The Browns’ odds to win the AFC went from +1600 to +1100, while their odds to win the AFC North jumped from +300 to +225.
Cleveland now has the 12th-best odds to win the Super Bowl, behind these teams: Bengals (+2000), Ravens (+2000), Cowboys (+1800), 49ers (+1600), Broncos (+1600), Chargers (+1600), Packers (+1200), Chiefs (+900), Buccaneers (+750), and Bills (+600).
All Eyes on Jacoby
Prior to the news of Watson’s suspension, Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski said that recently-signed Jacoby Brisset would be the team’s QB1 if the three-time Pro Bowler was unavailable for any period of time. There’s a possibility the Browns could trade for Jimmy Garrappolo, but that seems unlikely considering Brissett is a more than serviceable replacement.
The former Indianapolis Colts quarterback and New England Patriots draft pick played 11 games for the Miami Dolphins in 2021 and threw for five touchdowns and 1,283 passing yards with a 62.7 percent completion rate.
Assuming he plays all six games, Brissett has a fairly decent schedule all things considered. Cleveland’s first six games are against the Panthers, Browns, Steelers, Falcons, Chargers, and Patriots. Realistically, the team could be in a great position if they’re 4-2 or even 3-3 once Watson returns.
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