As of March 11th, Deshaun Watson was dismissed of any criminal charges.
NFL teams across the league are using this as an indication they should prepare their trade packages in an attempt to acquire the quarterback. However, Watson may not be out of the woods yet.
NFL analyst Andrew Brandt brought up a couple of precedents that show the quarterback could still be suspended by the NFL.
Why Elliot, Roethlisberger sets the stage for how NFL treats Deshaun Watson's case
Ezekiel Elliott did not face criminal charges in his domestic abuse case. He was charged with the crime but was never convicted. However, according to SB Nation, Elliott was suspended for six games by the league.
Meanwhile, Ben Roethlisberger faced criminal charges regarding sexual assault in 2012. Per SB Nation, the quarterback was never convicted. However, the league still suspended him for six games.
Brandt points out that both Elliott and Roethlisberger were dealing with one woman. Watson has been dealing with multiple women with similar allegations. Based on Brandt's reasoning, a six-game suspension could be next.
That said, it could be more than six games in the quarterback's case, as multiple women and accounts have surfaced. If the league looks at this as six games per woman, the quarterback could still miss multiple seasons. He won't be behind bars, but he could still be effectively unemployed for quite some time.
That said, NFL suspensions rarely go beyond one season at a time, even when transgressions threaten the legitimacy of the sport. In the case of Calvin Ridley, who essentially bet on himself, the NFL only suspended him for one season.
As such, while a suspension could still be incoming for the quarterback, it seems there is a hard ceiling as to how long he will be kept from the game.
Of course, if something like this happens again, a lifetime ban could be in the cards. It could be an unprecedented move for the league, but the number of women and charges is quite extreme in the quarterback's case.
That said, if this is the ultimatum the quarterback is facing, it would behoove him to essentially avoid the other gender until he's retired.
Watson has a hard choice to make. He can either avoid the opposite gender as much as possible to give his career the longest life or he can risk it all. No matter what the quarterback chooses, it is clear which option his future team will be pushing for.