Even in the quietest part of the offseason, there were still some significant developments around the NFL. Here’s a quick rundown of the week’s top headlines:
- Watson Hearing Concludes: The top offseason storyline in the league reached another critical stage, as the hearing presided over by Sue Robinson concluded after three days. Her decision on whether Browns QB Deshaun Watson will be suspended – and if so, for how long – will be the next step in this process, and could be delayed by a matter of weeks. Any appeals process (which would be administered by commissioner Roger Goodell or his appointee) would then follow, and have drastic consequences on Watson, the Browns and, given the precedent it could set, any players who find themselves in a similar situation in the future.
- McLaurin Signs Extension With Commanders: The offseason was building towards Terry McLaurin signing a lucrative extension in Washington, and he did just that by inking a three-year deal. The pact carries an average annual value of $23.3MM, and includes a signing bonus of $28MM. With the new contract in hand, McLaurin will see significant guaranteed money, while still being eligible for another significant deal at the age of 30.
- Mayfield Dispels Talk Of Browns Reconciliation: With a Watson suspension looming, many have pointed to Baker Mayfield as the Browns’ best QB option in 2022. He remains on the roster, as trade talks have sputtered throughout the offseason, but the fences between himself and the team still aren’t likely to be mended. “I think it’s pretty obvious the mutual decision on both sides is to move on,” he said, when asked about the possibility of rescinding his trade request to play out the final year of his contract in Cleveland. Finding a trade partner could still remain challenging for the team, though.
- 49ers Nearing Samuel Extension?: With McLaurin (and fellow 2019 draftee A.J. Brown) having signed big-money extensions, attention will turn even more so to the 49ers and Deebo Samuel. It was reported that, as trade talk cools around the highly-productive ‘wide-back,’ the team is “expected to continue working toward” a new deal with Samuel. In that event, he could find himself under contract by training camp later this month, presumably joining the $20MM-per-year WR club as many others have already done this offseason along the way.
- Texans Facing First Watson Suit: The civil litigation filed against Watson has been well-documented, and, even after 20 of those suits were settled, will remain a significant storyline into, quite possibly, next offseason. Another development related his case, though, was the news that the first lawsuit related to his conduct while with the Texans was filed against the franchise itself. A statement from plaintiff’s attorney Tony Buzbee suggested that many others could follow, claiming that “the overwhelming evidence collected indicating that the Houston Texans enabled Watson’s behavior is incredibly damning.”