There's a pretty strong financial incentive for Deshaun Watson to reach an agreement with the NFL to avoid a year-long suspension.
According to former NFL executive Andrew Brandt, Watson's contract makes it so a year-long suspension would have a major impact on his earnings. Specifically, a full year suspension would make his contract toll, giving him a salary of just $1 million in 2023.
"From Watson's side, avoiding a year suspension is financially imperative," Brandt wrote. "If he is suspended a year, his contract tolls: 2022 becomes 2023 and so on. He would keep his $45M bonus this year but only make a $1M salary next year, thus he'd make $46M over two years, not one year."
In other words, getting suspended for an entire year would cost Deshaun Watson up to $45 million in lost salary. That seems like a strong incentive to avoid serving an entire season's suspension.
It might also explain why ProFootballTalk is reporting today that Watson could be eyeing a settlement with the NFL.
A mediator gave Deshaun Watson a six-game suspension for violations of the NFL personal conduct policy stemming from the dozens of sexual harassment allegations against him.
But the NFL could hardly accept such a small punishment - it would have been too big of a PR nightmare.
As a result, the NFL is going to another arbiter to get a ruling that's closer to what they want. Reports are that the NFL is seeking a full season suspension or more.
What will the final punishment for Deshaun Watson be?