Robert Kraft

Extra Points: Jefferson, Maye, International Pathway Program

An undrafted wideout is working his way back to the field following a tragic car crash earlier this year. According to Aaron Wilson of KPRC 2 Houston, the 49ers worked out Louisiana receiver Michael Jefferson today.

Jefferson earned third-team All-Sun Belt honors in 2022 after finishing with 51 receptions for 810 yards and seven touchdowns. Thanks to his performance, the receiver was projected to be a mid-round pick in the 2023 draft. However, Jefferson was injured in a car accident in April that killed another driver, and the player required multiple surgeries.

He was expected to resume his career in 2024, but Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported earlier this month that Jefferson had been cleared by doctors to “fly, take physicals and join a team.”

It sounds like his first opportunity could come in San Francisco. The 49ers are currently stashing four receivers on their practice squad in Willie Snead, Chris Conley, Tay Martin, and Isaiah Winstead.

More notes from around the NFL…

  • Saints safety Marcus Maye got six months of probation stemming from a 2021 driving under the influence charge, per ESPN’s Katherine Terrell. Maye will have his drivers license suspended for six months as a result of the plea deal, and he was also given 50 hours of community service with the opportunity to buy them out. Maye allegedly crashed into another car while driving on the Florida Turnpike and was initially charged with driving under the influence, DUI/damage to property and person, and leaving the scene of the crash. The player also continues to deal with a civil suit from the driver of the other car who is seeking $30K due to injuries.
  • The NFL International Pathway Program has expanded in scope since it’s inception in 2016, with the 2023 iteration allowing teams from the AFC West and NFC North to allocate an extra roster spot to an international player. According to ESPN’s Kevin Seifert, the NFL will provide an international player exception to all 32 teams starting in 2024. There are currently 24 active players who participated in the International Pathway Program.
  • The NFL has established an ownership committee that will evaluate current ownership rules, potentially allowing “institutional capital” to invest in teams, per Ben Fischer of Sports Business Journal. As Liz Clarke, Nicki Jhabvala and Mark Maske of the Washington Post write, this committee could open the door to private equity firms buying stakes in teams, following the ownership rules previously established by the NBA, MLB, and NHL. Mike Klis of 9News in Denver reports that the committee includes Falcons owner Arthur Blank, Patriots owner Robert Kraft, Browns owner Jimmy Haslam, Chiefs owner Clark Hunt, and Broncos owner Greg Penner.

Latest On Bill Belichick’s Job Security

The post-Tom Brady era in New England has seen more lows than highs. After missing the postseason only once between 2003 and 2019, the Patriots have now missed the playoffs in two of the past three seasons. As a result, owner Robert Kraft is reportedly getting antsy, and he may be pointing the finger at his iconic head coach.

During an appearance on the Rich Eisen Show, NBC Sports Boston’s Tom Curran acknowledged that coach Bill Belichick is currently on the hot seat and has “been there at different levels of warmth since 2019” (Twitter link). While Curran notes that Kraft has recently walked back his demand for a playoff win (something that’s eluded the organization since their last Super Bowl in 2018), the reporter also believes that the organization could consider drastic changes if the team disappoints in 2023.

As Curran hints, Belichick’s approval rating in New England started to see some cracks in 2019. That year, Belichick and the front office refused to commit to Brady beyond that season, and the QB ended up leaving the organization for Tampa Bay in 2020. While Brady going on to win a championship with the Buccaneers surely ruffled some feathers in Foxborough, Curran believes Kraft was most upset that the Patriots didn’t have a plan at the position for the 2020 campaign. The team ended up rolling with free agent Cam Newton as their starter and won only seven games, the organization’s fewest amount since the 2000 season.

The team managed to bounce back in 2021 with a rookie Mac Jones under center, but the wheels fell off in 2022. Belichick did little to replace offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, who left for the head coaching job in Las Vegas. Belichick turned to former defensive coordinator Matt Patricia and former special teams coordinator Joe Judge to lead the offense, and the results were predictably disastrous. There’s been various reports about how much Kraft influenced Belichick’s decision to hire Bill O’Brien for the OC job this offseason, but either way, the owner clearly wasn’t happy with the on-field product in 2022.

Complicating the matter is Belichick’s ongoing pursuit of the all-time wins record. The 71-year-old is 19 wins behind Don Shula for the all-time record (regular season and playoffs), and there’s little chance Belichick or Kraft make a move until the record is set. That would mean the Patriots head coach is locked in through at least the 2024 campaign, but depending on the results of the 2023 season, the team’s owner may not want to wait that long to make a move.

If Kraft does decide to make a head coaching change following the 2023 season, it sounds like the replacement is already in-house. Defensive coordinator Jerod Mayo ended up turning down head coaching interviews this offseason to stick in New England, and it’s believed he’s the heir apparent for the Patriots head coaching gig. Mayo played under Belichick before recently serving as the team’s de facto co-DC alongside Belichick’s son, Steve Belichick. In this scenario, the elder Belichick would likely transition to an advisory role, and Curran believes that the future Hall of Famer would be in support of a Mayo promotion. Of course, that support would be contingent on Belichick ending his coaching career on his own terms.

Kraft: ‘Money Spending Will Never Be Issue’ For Patriots

It might still be too soon to call what is transpiring in New England a cold war, but the Robert KraftBill Belichick relationship has certainly seen better days.

The owner appeared to fire another salvo at the historically successful head coach recently. Belichick defended the Patriots’ unexpected 2021 spending spree by pointing out how the team’s commitments from 2020-22 ranked 27th on average. The Pats’ 2021 splurge remains an outlier for the generally conservative franchise.

[RELATED: Patriots Remain In DeAndre Hopkins Pursuit]

Our spending in 2020, our spending in 2021, and our spending in 2022 — the aggregate of that — was we were 27th in the league in cash spending,” Belichick said in January. “Couple years we’re low, one year was high, but over a three-year period, we are one of the lowest-spending teams in the league.”

This comment came after a question regarding the 2021 free agency period — and not necessarily a dig at Kraft stinginess — but when asked about a willingness to spend money, Kraft shot back to continue what has been a somewhat icy stretch between the two Patriot bigwigs.

He has never come to me and not gotten everything he wanted from a cash-spending perspective. We have never set limits,'” Kraft said of Belichick during an interview with the Boston Sports Journal’s Greg Bedard (h/t to the Boston Herald). “Money spending will never be the issue, I promise you, or I’ll sell the team.”

This would qualify as less newsworthy in a normal Patriots offseason. But this one also featured Kraft putting his six-time Super Bowl champion coach on shakier ground with March comments that gave off a win-or-else vibe. Last week, Kraft also said he would only consider this season a success if the franchise claims its seventh Super Bowl title. With the Patriots a mid-pack AFC team not mentioned with the conference’s elites, they will face long odds to accomplish that. Kraft and Belichick also have not seen eye to eye regarding last year’s Matt Patricia role and the treatment of Mac Jones, the latter seeming to have more support from the owner than the head coach.

Excepting the 2021 offseason, the 2017 Stephon Gilmore contract and select other instances, Belichick has not been known for big-ticket outside expenditures. The Pats did add JuJu Smith-Schuster this offseason but did so for the same fully guaranteed amount the Raiders gave outgoing Patriot Jakobi Meyers ($16MM). The team made an offer to Hopkins, who appears content to wait for his market to change.

Kraft pulling the plug on the Belichick era would be among the most controversial decisions in NFL history. The 24th-year Patriots HC sits second all time in wins (329), having passed George Halas last year. Belichick trails all-time leader Don Shula by 18 wins, putting him in position to potentially pass the Hall of Famer in 2024. Kraft firing Belichick, 71, under any circumstances would qualify as surprising, even considering the team’s below-.500 finishes in 2020 and 2022. But canning the future Hall of Famer as he is on the doorstep of a hallowed record would bring a bizarre conclusion to one of the most storied runs in NFL history.

Patriots Owner Robert Kraft Addresses Bill Belichick’s Future

Well into the post-Tom Brady era, the Patriots face increased pressure to rebound from an 8-9 campaign last season. Recent remarks from owner Robert Kraft have led to the belief that head coach Bill Belichick is on the hot seat entering 2023, given the team’s struggles relative to their dynasty seasons.

Belichick sits at 329 career wins, leaving him 18 shy of Don Shula‘s all-time record. While most of that success came with Brady at the helm, New England has missed the playoffs in two of the past three seasons and have gone four years since their last postseason victory. Kraft made it clear that past successes, rather than current performances, will not inform his moves in the near future on the sidelines.

“Look, I’d like [Belichick] to break Don Shula’s record, but I’m not looking for any of our players to get great stats,” Kraft said, via Ben Volin of the Boston Globe“We’re about winning and doing whatever we can to win… In the end, this is a business. You either execute and win, or you don’t. That’s where we’re at.”

The Patriots struggled on offense throughout the season in 2022, in no small part due to the team’s experiment with Matt Patricia and Joe Judge taking on unfamiliar coaching roles on that side of the ball. The latter will remain with the Patriots in 2023, taking on a position which will involve work with special teams, the area he excelled in earlier in his career. Patricia’s future, on the other hand, remains in the air.

“I think [Patricia] got put in a difficult position,” Kraft said, when speaking about New England’s longtime defensive coordinator. “I think it was sort of an experiment. I think he worked very hard at it. In retrospect, I don’t think it was the right thing.”

The Patriots now have Bill O’Brien in place as offensive coordinator, something which should yield an upgrade for that unit, though a competition for the starting quarterback role could ensue this summer. In any case, Belichick faces what Volin notes is essentially an ultimatum with respect to qualifying for the playoffs in 2023.

“My objective for our team is that we make the playoffs, because once you make the playoffs, anything can happen,” Kraft said. “It’s very important to me that we make the playoffs. That’s what I hope happens next year.”

New England is set to play in a highly competitive AFC East in 2023, which should present a challenge in meeting Kraft’s target. If they fall short of the postseason once again, however, Belichick’s job security could increasingly become a key storyline to watch.

Patriots Notes: Kraft, McCourty, McDermott

Robert Kraft has owned the Patriots since 1994, a tenure which has included the most notable feats in the franchise’s history. If he has his way, Kraft’s stint owning the franchise will not be ending any time soon.

The 81-year-old made it clear during an appearance on Fox Business that he is “never selling” the six-time Super Bowl winning team. The Patriots would certainly net a substantial sales price if that stance were to ever change, but being able to hand ownership of the franchise was one generation to the next is clearly Kraft’s top priority.

“We’ve set it up so that it hopefully stays in the family for many decades to come,” he said, via Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. “After my family, the New England Patriots are the most important thing in my life. It’s not a business, it’s really part of my family… I love being in the locker room, being around the players. I just pinch myself that I’ve been so privileged to own a franchise in my hometown.”

Here are some other notes out of Foxborough:

  • Veteran safety Devin McCourty is a pending free agent, as was special teams ace Matthew Slater before he decided to continue his Patriots career for at least one more season. McCourty has yet to decide on his future, as detailed by Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald. The 35-year-old has been in New England since 2010, and he remained a productive, full-time starter in 2022 with 71 tackles and four interceptions. The former first-rounder’s most recent one-year deal contains a $9.7MM cap charge in 2023 via void years, but a new contract could alter that figure. He intends to make a decision about his playing future by the middle of March, likely in time for the start of the new league year.
  • Details are in on the new deal signed by offensive tackle Conor McDermott earlier this month. The 30-year-old will play in New England on a two-year contract with a base value of $3.6MM (Twitter link via ESPN’s Field Yates). The pact also contains incentives based on playing time, though, which means it could top out at $5.1MM. McDermott proved to be a valuable midseason signing off the Jets’ practice squad, as he started at right tackle to close out the regular season. He will at least compete for the No. 1 role at that spot this offseason.
  • McCourty’s future is up in the air, but so is that of two-time Patriot Malcolm Butler. The Super Bowl winning corner rejoined New England last offseason, but was ultimately released with an injury designation. He now feels 100% healthy, as noted by ESPN’s Mike Reiss, and is contemplating another attempted comeback as a player or the prospect of retiring and returning to college while transitioning to coaching. He last played with the Titans in 2020.

Patriots’ Matthew Slater To Return In 2023

FEBRUARY 20: Terms on Slater’s newest deal are in, as detailed by ESPN’s Field Yates (Twitter link). The veteran will have a salary of $2.52MM, coupled with a modest signing bonus. His cap hit, however, will come in at only $1.3MM since the contract qualifies Slater for the four year player benefit. Given his production in 2022, this latest contact is likely to provide good value for the Patriots.

FEBRUARY 17: A special teams mainstay will remain in New England for at least one more season. The Patriots announced on Friday that Matthew Slater will play in 2023, setting him up for a 16th season spent in Foxborough.

The 37-year-old signed a one-year deal last offseason, valued at $2.62MM. While today’s announcement did not mention a new pact being signed, a similar arrangement is likely to be in place for 2023. Slater continued his long-established role as a special teams captain last year, remaining productive with 13 tackles while logging an 84% snap share in the third phase.

While those totals didn’t land him an 11th Pro Bowl nod, Slater proved he is still a valuable member of the Patriots’ operation. Suiting up for a full season also allowed him to pass Bruce Armstrong for second place on the franchise’s all-time games played list with 223. The three-time Super Bowl winner now trails only Tom Brady (285) in that regard.

“I couldn’t be happier to learn that Matthew Slater has decided to return for his 16th season with the New England Patriots,” owner Robert Kraft said in a statement. “Matthew’s drive to be the best at what he does will one day earn him enshrinement into the Pro Football Hall of Fame… He is truly special, and I am grateful that his contributions to the team will continue.”

Head coach Bill Belichick added that he is “thrilled” Slater will play at least one more campaign. The former firth-rounder has not recorded any offensive yardage since 2016 and has just 54 in total over the course of his career. His accomplishments as a gunner, however, have solidified his status as one of the best special teamers in NFL history. He will now look towards adding to his legacy in that capacity.

“It is a great honor and blessing to return to the Patriots for my 16th season,” Slater said. “Thank you to the Kraft family and the entire Patriots organization for allowing me to continue to pursue my childhood dream. See you in the fall. God Bless.”

Patriots Negotiating New Contract With Jerod Mayo, Will Start OC Interviews Next Week

The Patriots are officially looking to shake up their offensive coaching staff, but they’re also hoping to retain a key defensive coach. The organization announced in a press release that they’ve begun contract negotiations with coach Jerod Mayo “that would keep him with the team long-term” (via Ben Volin of the Boston Globe on Twitter). The team also announced that they will begin interviewing offensive coordinator candidates next week.

While Mayo has served as New England’s de facto defensive coordinator (alongside Steve Belichick), his title has officially been “inside linebackers coach.” As a result, Mayo wasn’t only allowed to interview for head coaching gigs, but also defensive coordinator opportunities, and it seemed all but certain that his stint in New England was likely going to come to an end as he pursued a more significant title. The Browns previously requested a DC interview with Mayo, and we learned earlier today that the Panthers planned to interview him for their head coaching vacancy. As Jeff Howe of The Athletic tweets, the Patriots don’t want to lose him for “anything short of a head coaching job.”

The former Patriots linebacker has had a quick accession through New England’s coaching ranks, culminating in his current role. It sounds like the Patriots are committed to keeping the Mayo/Belichick duo for as long as possible, and it will be interesting to see what title Mayo emerges with (assuming he sticks in New England).

With Josh McDaniels leaving for Las Vegas, the Patriots used a similar philosophy with their offensive coaching staff, relying on two individuals instead of one definitive offensive coordinator. The issue was that head coach Bill Belichick turned to former defensive coordinator Matt Patricia and former special teams coordinator Joe Judge to run the offense. The results were disastrous, with QB Mac Jones taking a clear step back during his second year in the league. Naturally, this has led to plenty of speculation that the Patriots could look to shake up the staff, and the organization has now made it clear that they’ll be interviewing for a new OC.

Some names have already been floated as possibilities. Bill O’Brien, who worked his way up to offensive coordinator in five years with the Patriots, could be a candidate. The coach has spent the past two years as Alabama’s offensive coordinator, and there were theories that O’Brien didn’t return to New England last offseason because Belichick didn’t want to compromise his relationship with Nick Saban. With O’Brien’s contract having expired, he’s now free to sign anywhere. Kliff Kingsbury is another candidate following his firing in Arizona. The former NFL QB was drafted by the Patriots in the sixth round of the 2003 draft. As Albert Breer of tweets, the Patriots will have to follow the Rooney Rule if they intend to give someone the title of offensive coordinator.

Either way, this is some “unprecedented” transparency by the Patriots organization (as Volin notes on Twitter), with Jonathan Jones of CBS Sports tweeting that the organization is clearly “being very intentional about getting the word out.” This follows rampant speculation that Robert Kraft has requested coaching changes, and the owner reportedly met with his head coach earlier this week. Indeed, Howe tweets that Kraft and Belichick “have been aligned in their vision for a new offensive plan” next season.

Patriots Expected To Shake Up Offensive Staff; Latest On Bill O’Brien, Kliff Kingsbury

Bill Belichick and Robert Kraft met this week to discuss the franchise’s outlook, and although rumors of the owner and legendary coach not being on the same page regarding staffing circulated during the season’s final weeks, NBC Sports Boston’s Tom Curran reports the two are believed to be in step when it comes to the coaching situation.

Patriots staffers have not been informed of any changes yet, Albert Breer of notes, but Curran adds that Kraft did not need to issue any ultimatums to Belichick to shake up his staff after a strange plan helped produce a disappointing season. Following a season that featured Matt Patricia as the Pats’ primary offensive play-caller, changes will be coming to New England’s offensive staff. Several coaches are under consideration to join the offensive staff, per Curran.

[RELATED: Belichick Confirms Return For 24th Patriots Season]

Bill O’Brien has been linked to a New England return, but Curran tweets the Pats and the current Alabama OC have not been in contact yet. That said, Breer adds O’Brien likely “would love” to return to his home state to aid the Patriots. O’Brien was on Belichick’s staff from 2007-11, finishing that stay as the team’s offensive coordinator during Josh McDaniels‘ three years away. Although O’Brien was not on board as the Crimson Tide’s OC until the 2021 season, Breer mentions Mac Jones helped bring the incoming play-caller up to speed on the program’s offense. Robert and Jonathan Kraft are O’Brien fans as well, per Breer.

Belichick has also done some homework on Kliff Kingsbury, whom he drafted in the 2003 sixth round. The recently fired Cardinals HC spent just more than a year in New England, before being waived, but Breer adds Belichick placed the former Texas Tech QB in a de facto quality control role during a rookie year on IR. That said, Kingsbury may be readier to take a break compared to diving back into a high-pressure situation, Breer and’s Josh Weinfuss (Twitter link) offer. Tight ends coach Nick Caley came up previously as a potential McDaniels heir apparent, and he earned increased responsibility — in Year 6 coaching the Pats’ tight ends — following McDaniels’ departure.

It does not appear Patricia and Joe Judge will need to be too worried about losing their places on Belichick’s staff. The Patriots are expected to find roles for both of their de facto offensive coordinators, Dan Graziano of adds. Belichick thrusting both ex-head coaches into new roles impacted the Pats’ fortunes this season. The Pats plummeted from sixth to 17th in scoring offense, from 15th to 26th in total yards and from ninth to 24th in DVOA. It should be expected whoever calls Patriots plays in 2023 will have at least done it before.

Patriots Notes: Belichick, Patricia, Mayo

The Patriots’ offense has had a difficult time of it in the 2022 season. While the unit ranks in the middle of the pack in terms of points per game, it has posted the seventh-fewest yards per game. More importantly, second-year quarterback Mac Jones has regressed after a promising rookie season, and Jones’ struggles, combined with the offense’s problems as a whole, have led to increased scrutiny of head coach Bill Belichick‘s offseason staffing decisions.

Of course, after longtime OC Josh McDaniels accepted the Raiders’ head coaching job, Belichick installed Matt Patricia and Joe Judge as the Pats’ top offensive coaches. Patricia has served as the offensive play-caller despite not having worked as an offensive coach since 2005, and Judge has operated as the club’s offensive assistant/quarterbacks coach, despite having no coaching experience whatsoever on that side of the ball.

The general ineffectiveness of Belichick’s former staffers, both of whom had flamed out as head coaches elsewhere, means that the end-of-year meeting between Belichick and owner Robert Kraft will be of particular importance, according to Jeff Howe of The Athletic (subscription required). If Kraft — like many league evaluators that spoke to Howe — believes that a shakeup is in order, one wonders how Belichick will respond. Perhaps he will agree and will bring an experienced OC aboard in an effort to maximize Jones’ talents and inject more organization and variety into the offense (the team is already rumored to be interested in a reunion with Bill O’Brien).

But if Belichick does not agree and elects to give Patricia and/or Judge another opportunity in their current roles, then Kraft could have a difficult decision to make about Belichick himself in the near future. While it seems unfathomable that Belichick would not be given the opportunity to walk away on his terms, keeping his 2022 offensive staff intact in 2023 may put the spotlight more squarely on him, particularly if some of this year’s unforced errors — blown assignments, substitution mishaps, late play calls, etc. — should persist.

Now for more Patriots notes:

  • Albert Breer of agrees that identifying the team’s 2023 offensive play-caller will be at the top of Kraft’s offseason agenda, and he pegs Patricia’s chances of remaining in his current role at less than 50% (though he does believe that Patricia will remain on the Pats’ coaching staff in some capacity). Breer confirms that O’Brien will be in the mix, though the current Alabama OC could have other NFL opportunities outside of Foxborough.
  • Add Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald to the list of pundits who believe Belichick must make a change at offensive coordinator, lest he put his own job security in jeopardy. “Kraft has to make it clear that Belichick needs to come up with real solutions, as opposed to getting his friends on the cheap with their former teams still paying them,” Guregian writes (via Peter King of NBC Sports). “If Belichick isn’t willing to budge, then Kraft has to decide whether it’s worth it to keep the status quo, or move on from his sure-fire Hall of Fame head coach and clean house.”
  • While neither Patricia nor Judge will be interviewing for head coaching positions anytime soon, linebackers coach Jerod Mayo is a different story. Mayo, 36, interviewed for the Broncos’ and Raiders’ HC positions last year, and Mike Reiss of expects the two-time Pro Bowler to be busy again in the upcoming coaching cycle. Mayo, for his part, is prepared for the challenge, saying, “I think I’m ready to be a head coach in the league.”
  • New England suspended P Jake Bailey and CB Jack Jones on Friday. According to Reiss, the team believed that Bailey — who had been on IR since November 19 — was ready to return to game action, but Bailey apparently believed otherwise. Jones’ suspension, meanwhile, stems in part from his missed rehabilitation appointments, which also led to his being fined by the team. Jones played in only eight snaps in the Pats’ Week 14 victory over the Cardinals due to a knee injury, and he missed the next two contests before being placed on IR on December 31. The agents for both players have noted their objections to the suspensions, with Bailey’s agent indicating that he has filed a grievance. Reiss says that it is difficult to see Bailey playing for the team again, and since his suspension technically voids the guarantees in his contract, he and the Pats could find themselves embroiled in a financial battle in the coming weeks.
  • The Patriots signed cornerback Tae Hayes to their active roster at the end of December, and Reiss tweets that Hayes’ contract is actually a two-year pact. Hayes, who appeared in 24 defensive snaps in his New England debut on January 1, is now one of six CBs under contract for 2023.

Deshaun Watson Hearing Wraps After Day 3; Decision To Be Delayed

The Deshaun Watson hearing lasted three days, but the cases made by the NFL, NFLPA and Watson’s camp have concluded. While an appeal may follow, the next step will be for disciplinary officer Sue Robinson to render a decision.

That decision was rumored to be possible by Friday, which would be prime news-dump territory ahead of a holiday weekend, but it does not look like it will emerge for several more days. If Robinson moves to have the NFL and NFLPA file briefs, Mark Maske of the Washington Post notes a punishment would not surface for at least another week. Robinson has since called for post-hearing briefs, according to’s Dan Graziano, who adds the briefs are not due until the week of July 11 (Twitter links).

Although the NFL indeed focused on five Watson accusers’ cases, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk tweets the league has interviewed 12 of the women who have accused the Browns quarterback of sexual misconduct and/or sexual assault. The league conceded it is seeking an unprecedented punishment, Florio adds. The NFL has long been linked to aiming for a season-long ban or an indefinite suspension that includes a baseline of Watson missing the 2022 season.

Watson’s side was expected to attempt to compare potential punishment for the Pro Bowl passer to the penalties (or lack thereof) given to Robert Kraft, among other owners. NFL reps said at the hearing the Patriots owner was investigated by an NFL security director, and no punishment was recommended for his involvement in a solicitation scandal. Kraft pleaded not guilty to two misdemeanor counts of soliciting prostitution in connection with the January 2018 incident. His case was later dismissed.

While the number of women to accuse Watson and the nature of the alleged crimes differ wildly in this case, Florio notes the NFLPA is pushing for the recently traded QB to not be suspended for any length of time. This was believed to be the union’s plan. If Robinson rules Watson did not violate the league’s personal conduct policy, the NFL cannot appeal. Should Robinson punish Watson and the NFL still appeal for its preferred full-season ban, Roger Goodell or a commissioner-appointed overseer would handle that component of this saga.