5 Key Stories: 7/31/22 – 8/7/22

With training camps well underway, there have been a number of significant developments with on- and off-the-field implications this past week. In case you missed anything, here’s a quick recap of the top stories from around the league:

  • Watson Given Six-Game Suspension: The long-awaited ruling from former judge Sue L. Robinson was handed down Monday morning, and imposed a ban for the first six games of the season on Deshaun Watson. The Browns QB was found to have violated the NFL’s Personal Conduct Policy by virtue of his “nonviolent sexual conduct” during massage sessions dating back to his time with the Texans. As it stands, the punishment will cost Watson $345K in salary; things could change significantly soon, however, since the league has appealed the decision, and is looking to have both its length and financial penalties increased by a new third-party arbiter.
  • Samuel Signs Extension: After formally requesting a trade earlier this offseason, wideout Deebo Samuel completed his course reversal by inking a three-year, $71.55MM extension. The new deal will keep him in San Francisco through 2025, and moves him into the top-10 in the league in annual compensation ($23.85MM) at the position. The 26-year-old now has the financial security to replicate his success from last season – where he earned All-Pro honors for his unique effectiveness in the air and on the ground – but also the opportunity to hit the open market in the not-too-distant future.
  • Dolphins, Ross Punished For Tampering: The Dolphins were docked a 2023 first-round pick and a 2024 third-rounder for their attempts to acquire QB Tom Brady and head coach Sean Payton. In addition, owner Steven Ross was suspended until October and fined $1.5MM. The organization was found to have committed tampering violations of “unprecedented scope and severity,” leading to the substantial discipline being handed down. Ross and the team were, on the other hand, cleared of any wrongdoing with respect to the tanking allegations made by former head coach Brian Flores.
  • Steelers Extend Johnson: In the immediate build-up to his new deal being finalized, all signs seemed to point to Diontae Johnson departing in free agency at the end of this season. Instead, he signed a two-year extension worth $36.71MM. Surprisingly, the Pro Bowler came in short of the $20MM-per-year mark that each of his 2019 draft classmates (among several other wideouts) who have been extended this offseason eclipsed. Like Samuel, though, he can build off of a career-year over the course of the pact’s short term and test the free agent market while still in his prime.
  • Cardinals Extend Humphries: Not long after signing QB Kyler Murray to a massive extension, Arizona took care of his blindside blocker as well. Left tackle D.J. Humphries signed a three-year, $66.8MM extension to keep him on the books through 2025. The 28-year-old now ranks ninth in the league in terms of annual average compensation ($16.98MM) amongst left tackles as a result of the deal. He will look to continue his Pro Bowl form of last year as another key member of the Cardinals’ offense who is on the books for the foreseeable future.  
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