Deshaun Watson’s contract contains exception to “typical club protections” in event of suspension

When the Browns traded for Deshaun Watson three weeks ago today, we were told that his new contract will contain modifications to the standard language that would void guaranteed payments and/or trigger the default of signing bonus money previously paid. When the Browns officially introduced Watson two weeks ago today, G.M. Andrew Berry was asked whether Watson’s fully-guaranteed contract remains guaranteed in the event of a suspension.

“Again, I won’t go into all of the specifics with the contract, but we do have our language within the contract that does offer I would say typical club protections,” Berry said.

We’ve obtained a copy of the contract. It does indeed include “typical club protections.” However, it also includes a major exception to those “typical club protections.”

Each paragraph of the addendum to the agreement that contains guaranteed payments — No. 26 (2022 salary), No. 27 (2023 salary), No. 28 (2024 salary), No. 29 (2025 salary), No. 30 (2026 salary) — and the signing bonus addendum include language exempting from any potential default a suspension imposed by the league “solely in connection with matters disclosed to Club in writing pursuant to paragraph 42 and such suspension results in Player’s unavailability to Club solely for games during the 2022 or 2023 NFL League Years.”

Author: Lucy Green