According to Commissioner Roger Goodell, a resolution between the NFL and Deshaun Watson could take some time. Goodell said Tuesday that there is no timetable on when the league might conclude its investigation of Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson, which would determine the punishment of the 26-year-old.
After a trade from Houston, Watson is now with Cleveland who sent the Texans a 2022 first-round pick (No. 13 overall), 2023 and 2024 first-round picks, a 2022 fourth-round choice (No. 107), a third-round pick in 2023, and a fourth-round pick in 2024.
Watson will not be indicted on criminal sexual misconduct charges brought by 22 women. However, he still faces 22 civil lawsuits.
Goodell spoke about the situation on Tuesday at Palm Beach, Florida.
“We’re going to let the facts lead us, find every fact we can,” Goodell said. “At least there is a resolution from the criminal side of it. Our investigation hopefully will have access to more information. We will speak to everyone who can give us a perspective.”
Goodell added that there's no exact timetable on the situation as the NFL waits to gather more information about the incident.
“The (NFL’s) personal conduct policy is something that’s very important to us,” Goodell said. “There are still civil charges (pending) so our investigation, hopefully, will have access to more information. And that will be helpful, obviously, getting to the conclusion of, what are the facts? And, was there a violation of the personal conduct policy? But that determination will be made by a joint disciplinary officer … established by the NFLPA and the NFL (who) will make the decision when the facts are all in. And we’ll see. There’s no timetable on that"
The league could still punish Deshaun Watson even though he wasn't criminally charged
Although Watson won't be facing criminal charges, he could still be suspended from the league if they choose to do so. The NFL has the power to conduct their investigation, which is what they are doing, and if they feel there is enough evidence to warrant a suspension, they can do so.
In 2017, Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott was suspended for six games by the NFL for violating the personal conduct policy. The suspension came from an investigation that started more than a year ago before the 2017 season after an ex-girlfriend accused Elliott of domestic violence in Columbus, Ohio. Elliott was never charged in the process.
The NFL can suspend Watson like they did Elliott back in 2017 while facing no criminal charges. It is unclear how many games Watson will miss if he is suspended.