Deshaun Watson has been battling accusations for a year and a half with no end in sight. However, he's had opportunities to end most of the lawsuits early. According to one NFL analyst, he had an opportunity to settle the remaining civil lawsuits early and for 10 percent of what he could end up paying now.
“The problem is, there have been two other occasions in the life cycle of this litigation [where] settlement was seriously considered in April of 2021. They were ready to settle the cases."
He went on, naming Rusty Hardin, Watson's lawyer, and Tony Busby, the attorney going against him.
"If you believe what Tony Buzbee said about Rusty Hardin, the two lawyers who have negotiated these settlements are saying and for all the things they disagree on, one thing they do agree on is they were ready to settle these cases. Busby wanted a non-disclosure agreement to keep the payments and all of the terms secret. And Hardin didn't want an NDA."
He continued, explaining how the NDA became a trophy in the negotiations:
"Usually it's the other way around. The party that's paying wants the NDA because they don't want the world to know what was paid. I think Hardin wanted to be able to puff out his chest and say Tony Buzbee got peanuts, which means these cases had no merit, but they were ready to go."
Florio also claimed that the quarterback could have paid just $100,000:
"If Hardin just would have agreed to the NDA, then it doesn't happen. I don't know what the amount was, maybe 10 [or] 20 [thousand]. I don't know, but it wasn't much, then comes late October, early November, when the Dolphins were going to trade for Deshaun Watson, and they had settlements worked out with 18 of the 22 plantiffs for $100,000 each."
He explained that 18 accusers were ready to take the $100,000 deal:
"All 22 apparently were offered $100,000. 18 were ready to take it. And Deshaun Watson didn't didn't settle with the 18. And he wanted to settle with all or nothing. Now you've got 22, actually 24. And you mentioned a million. On the surface, given everything we're learning now, I don't know how unreasonable that looks."
Now, Florio said, the quarterback could be kicking himself:
"The problem is he's had two prior occasions where he could have settled these cases for a hell of a lot less. I think, psychologically, that is a tough bridge to cross.”
Deshaun Watson in the 2020s
Aside from Tom Brady, the former Houston Texans quarterback has had the most turbulent stretch in the NFL since 2020. Heading into 2020, Deshaun Watson was riding a peak. He had won a playoff game the previous season and many were picking his team to do great things in 2020.
Instead, the team went 4-12, despite the quarterback putting up career-record numbers. In 2020, he threw for 33 touchdowns and seven interceptions, completing more than 70 percent of his throws. However, it would be the last time he'd play for the team or step on to the field.
Immediately following the NFL season, news broke of a tsunami of accusations regarding the quarterback's promiscuous behavior in massage parlors. The accusations were a factor in the quarterback missing the 2021 season. After the 2021 season, all criminal charges were dropped.
However, the quarterback is still dealing with 24 sets of civil suits and an NFL investigation that could sideline him for much of 2022.