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Gash Prex

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NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on Thursday designated former New Jersey attorney general Peter C. Harvey to hear the league's appeal of Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson's six-game suspension for violating the league's personal-conduct policy, NFL Network Insider Mike Garafolo reported.
https://www.nfl.com/news/nfl-commissioner-roger-goodell-designates-former-n-j-attorney-general-peter-c-ha

Personally I think it’s a much better system than Goodell being on every side of the discipline
 

EvilEmpire

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I think that guy, with those credentials, was in exactly the place he needed to be for a task like this. And Goodell knows him well enough to understand how he'll handle it without the slightest bit of inappropriate influence.
 

radsoxfan

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Also signed him to a new deal that was obviously built on the assumption that he'd be suspended for a full year. CLE's only concern before trading for him was whether he'd go to prison, once the DA tanked the Grand Jury they were making that deal
What about the contract was done specifically assuming he would be suspended for a full year?

It's been well established nearly every big long term contract in the NFL has a large signing bonus and very small year 1 salary. Perhaps Watson is lucky thats how contracts are done in the NFL, but I don't think that alone proves much. Maybe I just missed it, but was there something on top of this structure that was outside the norm?

I personally find it hard to believe the Browns would have given up all those picks, paid all that money, dealt with all the public backlash if they expected him to miss a full season (and not play in the NFL for 2 full years) before playing a game for them.

I guess they are the Browns....
 

Cellar-Door

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What about the contract was done specifically assuming he would be suspended for a full year?

It's been well established nearly every big long term contract in the NFL has a large signing bonus and very small year 1 salary. Perhaps Watson is lucky thats how contracts are done in the NFL, but I don't think that alone proves much. Maybe I just missed it, but was there something on top of this structure that was outside the norm?

I personally find it hard to believe the Browns would have given up all those picks, paid all that money, dealt with all the public backlash if they expected him to miss a full season (and not play in the NFL for 2 full years) before playing a game for them.

I guess they are the Browns....
Watson has more guaranteed base salary year 2 of his deal than the entirety of Kyler Murray's new deal, more than all of Allen's new deal, more than Mahomes and over 20x more than Rodgers' new deal.... and that's only year 2, he has the same amount guaranteed in years 3, 4 and 5.

Every other QB deal is heavy on signing bonus and roster bonuses, some leaning more one or the other (Rodgers has a ton of pro-rated signing bonus, Mahomes a lot more in roster.

Watson has a relatively low percentage of his money in his signing bonus, ZERO roster bonuses, and massive fully guaranteed salary years. It's built so that there is as little money that can be lost in year 1 as possible if he missed the full year.

So to compare him for example...
His cap hit year 1 is $9.8M, that is his $1M (690k guaranteed) base and 1/5 of his signing bonus (little under $9M).
Mahomes cap hit was $35.8M... $1.5M base, 1/5 of his signing bonus (6.3M) and $28M in roster and workout bonuses.
Rodgers cap hit is $28.5M.... $1.5M base, the rest ($27M) is 1/5 of his signing bonus (plus a $50k workout bonus).
Kyler and Allen because they are re-structure and extend deals off rookie contracts so they are more modest, but still around $17M.

Looking down through all the contracts, there is not another deal in the entire league remotely like his, the huge fully guaranteed salaries (to reduce the bonuses) are basically unheard of.
Additionally, the Browns removed the standard language around loss of signing bonuses due to suspension.
Also notable is that Watson was scheduled to have a significant salary this season, and in the extension he gave it up and didn't really convert it to bonus.... he instead pushed it out into guaranteed future year salary. That is a VERY weird thing to do.... unless you're worried about being suspended.
 

Van Everyman

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https://www.nfl.com/news/nfl-commissioner-roger-goodell-designates-former-n-j-attorney-general-peter-c-ha

Personally I think it’s a much better system than Goodell being on every side of the discipline
I mean, he could’ve been but chose not to, right?

It sounds like Harvey is well known for work in sexual assault and domestic violence. One of the criticisms of Robinson was that she was a patent and antitrust expert, with no meaningful experience with this kind of law (hence the whole “nonviolent sexual assault” angle). For whatever reason Goodell may want someone with that experience in this role now. .
 

radsoxfan

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Watson has more guaranteed base salary year 2 of his deal than the entirety of Kyler Murray's new deal, more than all of Allen's new deal, more than Mahomes and over 20x more than Rodgers' new deal.... and that's only year 2, he has the same amount guaranteed in years 3, 4 and 5.

Every other QB deal is heavy on signing bonus and roster bonuses, some leaning more one or the other (Rodgers has a ton of pro-rated signing bonus, Mahomes a lot more in roster.

Watson has a relatively low percentage of his money in his signing bonus, ZERO roster bonuses, and massive fully guaranteed salary years. It's built so that there is as little money that can be lost in year 1 as possible if he missed the full year.

So to compare him for example...
His cap hit year 1 is $9.8M, that is his $1M (690k guaranteed) base and 1/5 of his signing bonus (little under $9M).
Mahomes cap hit was $35.8M... $1.5M base, 1/5 of his signing bonus (6.3M) and $28M in roster and workout bonuses.
Rodgers cap hit is $28.5M.... $1.5M base, the rest ($27M) is 1/5 of his signing bonus (plus a $50k workout bonus).
Kyler and Allen because they are re-structure and extend deals off rookie contracts so they are more modest, but still around $17M.

Looking down through all the contracts, there is not another deal in the entire league remotely like his, the huge fully guaranteed salaries (to reduce the bonuses) are basically unheard of.
Additionally, the Browns removed the standard language around loss of signing bonuses due to suspension.
Also notable is that Watson was scheduled to have a significant salary this season, and in the extension he gave it up and didn't really convert it to bonus.... he instead pushed it out into guaranteed future year salary. That is a VERY weird thing to do.... unless you're worried about being suspended.
Seems to me the true “uniqueness” of Watson’s deal is just how much he got guaranteed. I have no idea why the Browns agreed to do that, but that also seems a separate issue than how much money would be lost by Watson in a year 1 suspension. Maybe it’s not worth getting into the weeds, especially since I’m sure you know the rules/cap better than I do.

But why does a big base salary guarantee in years 2-5 change how much he would lose in a year 1 suspension? Isn’t the $ he loses in year 1 determined by his low base salary? The same low year 1 base salary all these big deals have?

Are you saying that typically players have to pay back a pro-rated portion of their signing bonus/roster bonuses in addition to base salary when suspended?
 
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HomeRunBaker

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Because he’s going to make it one year and proclaim how harsh it is. Watson will lose his 1mil backloaded contract for this year. ESPN will have it in 80 point font, as his direction, for 36 hours. Don’t people see what has been being setup for like six months now?
Yup. The 1m backloaded deal was the enormous tell here. Everyone has been in on this the entire time except for the general public. Such a well executed PR stunt.

View: https://youtu.be/OkdfhBghVAE
 

Reverend

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I think that guy, with those credentials, was in exactly the place he needed to be for a task like this. And Goodell knows him well enough to understand how he'll handle it without the slightest bit of inappropriate influence.
I want to make babies with you.
 

Reverend

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Fuck. I just remembered that you’re a Yankers fan.

I feel dirty.
 

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djbayko

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So Goodell delegated the decision to someone else and then made a statement about what he thought the punishment should be?

That’s a new form of bullshit I hadn’t even contemplated.
Well, the alternative was that he would be judge and prosecutor, so this is slightly less wild.
 

Reverend

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Well, the alternative was that he would be judge and prosecutor, so this is slightly less wild.
But he could have, like, kept his mouth shut.

Now that AG guy from NJ or whoever can only make a decision that is relational to what Goodell said.
 
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But he could have, like, kept his mouth shut.

Now that AG guy from NJ or whoever can only make a decision that is relational to what Goodell said.
Both sides don't get a chance to argue their POV to the arbitrator? Not saying Rog should be talking to the media. But won't there be a formal opportunity for the NFL to argue what they want and why? And if so, then Rog speaking publicly like this is relatively insignificant.
 

natpastime162

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Can anyone explain to me why the 2021 season is never mentioned in any of this? A tweet posted a few pages back has a quote from the arbitrator indicating she factored it into the punishment. Was there a strategic reason for not putting Waton on administrative leave during the investigation, like running afoul labor laws?

Note: I want to be clear that I am in no way defending Watson, arguing for a lesser penalty, saying the 2021 season should count towards the suspension, or anything of the sort. My curiosity (is that the right word?) is why it seems like the NFL seems to be pretending the 2021-22 season never occurred. Why not just suspend him pending the investigation, put him on administrative leave, or count the season as “time served” and suspend him for 23 games?
 

Van Everyman

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Both sides don't get a chance to argue their POV to the arbitrator? Not saying Rog should be talking to the media. But won't there be a formal opportunity for the NFL to argue what they want and why? And if so, then Rog speaking publicly like this is relatively insignificant.
Nothing is in person I believe. Whole appeal will be considered via submitted documents.
 

Reverend

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Both sides don't get a chance to argue their POV to the arbitrator? Not saying Rog should be talking to the media. But won't there be a formal opportunity for the NFL to argue what they want and why? And if so, then Rog speaking publicly like this is relatively insignificant.
Rog isn’t supposed to be repping the NFL. And that’s fundamental to the process in place, however odd it might sound.

If you look upthread, in articles, you’ll even see references to how the NFL planned to appeal to Goodell; @djbayko even mentioned that the very idea hurt his head.
 

Kenny F'ing Powers

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Goodell thinks at least a year is fair.

https://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/34375432/roger-goodell-says-evidence-calls-least-full-year-suspension-cleveland-browns-qb-deshaun-watson

But here's the thing, if all the things are true, then a year is not nearly enough.
"Delegating" the decision in order to take credit for its success or distance yourself when it fails is sleazy management 101. Goodell getting the NFL to look like a neutral spectator in this entire process - his "The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled” moment - is going to be the Pièce de résistance of his career.
 
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cshea

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Can anyone explain to me why the 2021 season is never mentioned in any of this? A tweet posted a few pages back has a quote from the arbitrator indicating she factored it into the punishment. Was there a strategic reason for not putting Waton on administrative leave during the investigation, like running afoul labor laws?

Note: I want to be clear that I am in no way defending Watson, arguing for a lesser penalty, saying the 2021 season should count towards the suspension, or anything of the sort. My curiosity (is that the right word?) is why it seems like the NFL seems to be pretending the 2021-22 season never occurred. Why not just suspend him pending the investigation, put him on administrative leave, or count the season as “time served” and suspend him for 23 games?
It's because he was paid, and not put on the Commisioner's List. The Texans carried him on the 53 but essentially made him inactive each week.
 

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"Delegating" the decision in order to take credit for its success or distance yourself when it fails is sleazy management 101. Goodell getting the NFL to look like a neutral spectator in this entire process - his "The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled” moment - is going to be the Pièce de résistance of his career.
Making it so a male former AG is in position to rule on the punishment decided by a female former U.S. District Court judge is a nice touch too, don’t you think? Role reversal!! Whacky fun!!
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

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Making it so a male former AG is in position to rule on the punishment decided by a female former U.S. District Court judge is a nice touch too, don’t you think? Role reversal!! Whacky fun!!
What's so frustrating about this case is that the narrative has very quickly become that the arbitrator was light on the punishment and the NFL has had to step in to save the day because of this too-lenient judge.

The truth is that very few have taken the time to read what she actually wrote or understand what she was doing.

She took pains to explain what a piece of shit Watson is. And how he doesn't get mitigation because he has no remorse.

But her point was -- you fuckers allow players to beat the shit out of women and only give them six games. And that is only when there is video and public pressure makes it impossible for you to do less. So you know what? Fuck you. Six games. You've set the precedent, assholes.

But I guess it was too subtle?
 

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What's so frustrating about this case is that the narrative has very quickly become that the arbitrator was light on the punishment and the NFL has had to step in to save the day because of this too-lenient judge.

The truth is that very few have taken the time to read what she actually wrote or understand what she was doing.

She took pains to explain what a piece of shit Watson is. And how he doesn't get mitigation because he has no remorse.

But her point was -- you fuckers allow players to beat the shit out of women and only give them six games. And that is only when there is video and public pressure makes it impossible for you to do less. So you know what? Fuck you. Six games. You've set the precedent, assholes.

But I guess it was too subtle?
Agreed. Plus the possibility of potentially making it intentional that he couldn’t get time served. But that seems likely it was done for the NFL to get their chance to make a production out of punishing him. But I agree: Who reads that stuff?

You get a judge because they’re good at procedure, as you well know. And now they’re using the fact that she did her job well as an opportunity to make a big deal out of being the good guys because they’re tougher than the judge. It’s grotesque. But shit like this is what the league is good at, yeah?

Edit: Gotta love the quotation Goodell gave for the article, too.
"We've seen the evidence, she was very clear about the evidence, she reinforced the evidence," Goodell said. "There were multiple violations that were egregious, and it was predatory behavior."
So in Goodall’s expressed opinion, he thinks it should be more punishment because of the facts the judge verified; it suggests she’s the one who’s been inconsistent. Assholes, indeed.
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

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Agreed. Plus the possibility of potentially making it intentional that he couldn’t get time served. But that seems likely it was done for the NFL to get their chance to make a production out of punishing him. But I agree: Who reads that stuff?

You get a judge because they’re good at procedure, as you well know. And now they’re using the fact that she did her job well as an opportunity to make a big deal out of being the good guys because they’re tougher than the judge. It’s grotesque. But shit like this is what the league is good at, yeah?

Edit: Gotta love the quotation Goodell gave for the article, too.

So in Goodall’s expressed opinion, he thinks it should be more punishment because of the facts the judge verified; it suggests she’s the one who’s been inconsistent. Assholes, indeed.
The league is so good at it, it's scary, yeah.

Hard to know exactly what was in her head but I think she wanted to force Goodell and the league to have to stew in their own juices. I think she probably knew that if she'd gone 10 or 12 games or something like that, then maybe they say, "we disagree but respect it" and move on. She made it impossible to do that by finding him to be a piece of crap but then pinning the punishment on the fact that the league sucks too. She forced their hand.

But, yeah, the deftness with which they simply blew past the part they probably don't like and figure out how to effectively use the part they do, is pretty impressive and disturbing.

Gotta give her credit too, though. She found a way to write an opinion that made it virtually impossible that the league would not appeal. And she did it in a way that give the league all the ammunition and Watson virtually nothing. Usually when you get a favorable opinion that the other side thinks it should appeal, it's chock full of good stuff you can use on appeal. But here the opinion was favorable to Watson only in result. And it was too favorable for him. I'm sure if you could have had his lawyers write their ideal opinion it would have been like 10 games or 12 games it would have founds some mitigating factors.
 

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The league is so good at it, it's scary, yeah.

Hard to know exactly what was in her head but I think she wanted to force Goodell and the league to have to stew in their own juices. I think she probably knew that if she'd gone 10 or 12 games or something like that, then maybe they say, "we disagree but respect it" and move on. She made it impossible to do that by finding him to be a piece of crap but then pinning the punishment on the fact that the league sucks too. She forced their hand.

But, yeah, the deftness with which they simply blew past the part they probably don't like and figure out how to effectively use the part they do, is pretty impressive and disturbing.

Gotta give her credit too, though. She found a way to write an opinion that made it virtually impossible that the league would not appeal. And she did it in a way that give the league all the ammunition and Watson virtually nothing. Usually when you get a favorable opinion that the other side thinks it should appeal, it's chock full of good stuff you can use on appeal. But here the opinion was favorable to Watson only in result. And it was too favorable for him. I'm sure if you could have had his lawyers write their ideal opinion it would have been like 10 games or 12 games it would have founds some mitigating factors.
Totally agree. As for the institutional stuff, I posted about it upthread here.

That she made the best play she could? Yes, good for her. But making her play this fucking game… just, ick. And, as per upthread, it’s so fucking predictable because it’s by design.
 

Harry Hooper

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Hard to know exactly what was in her head but I think she wanted to force Goodell and the league to have to stew in their own juices. I think she probably knew that if she'd gone 10 or 12 games or something like that, then maybe they say, "we disagree but respect it" and move on. She made it impossible to do that by finding him to be a piece of crap but then pinning the punishment on the fact that the league sucks too. She forced their hand.
Is this really was what the judge was up to, or was it more that the cases of only 4 victims were presented, which put it roughly in the ballpark of players with previous 4-6 game suspensions?
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

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Is this really was what the judge was up to, or was it more that the cases of only 4 victims were presented, which put it roughly in the ballpark of players with previous 4-6 game suspensions?
That's really not how her opinion reads to me. But like I said it's hard to know. The post by @Reverend that he links in post 531 above yours is one of the best discussions about strategic decisionmaking that you're going to find anywhere -- especially in 7 or 8 paragraphs. I think he's right on the nose, though I think she was playing at a somewhat different outcome than any of us were predicting back then.

Anyway, if you read her opinion from first page to last without flipping to the end to get the bottom line, you'd start off by thinking she was really going to crush Watson. Then her explanation for why she's constrained is facile. But deliberately so. She's not being dumb or disingenuous. She's sticking it back to the NFL, trying to put them in a box for their shitty approach for violence against women. That's how it reads to me, at least.

As rev notes, she was doing the best she could in a pretty narrow space that they carved out for her, and despite her best efforts, they are so good at what they do that they've just swatted her aside and blown past it. They had a gameplan for whatever she did.
 

mauf

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What's so frustrating about this case is that the narrative has very quickly become that the arbitrator was light on the punishment and the NFL has had to step in to save the day because of this too-lenient judge.

The truth is that very few have taken the time to read what she actually wrote or understand what she was doing.

She took pains to explain what a piece of shit Watson is. And how he doesn't get mitigation because he has no remorse.

But her point was -- you fuckers allow players to beat the shit out of women and only give them six games. And that is only when there is video and public pressure makes it impossible for you to do less. So you know what? Fuck you. Six games. You've set the precedent, assholes.

But I guess it was too subtle?
I’m more cynical than you.

Arbitrators, in general, strive to keep both sides happy. To some extent, it’s a crass attempt to secure repeat business. In the labor relations context specifically, however, this self-interest is normally considered a feature rather than a bug. The ultimate goal of a grievance and arbitration process is to foster harmonious (or at least not acrimonious) labor-management relations, not to dispense perfect justice in individual cases. Having arbitrators who are incented to keep both sides happy advances that goal.

The arbitrator played her role in this framework brilliantly. The union is happy that Watson only got six games. The league is happy that she made damning findings of fact that Goodell or his designate can use to justify harsher punishment. Both sides will be happy to use her again.
 

Cotillion

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That's really not how her opinion reads to me. But like I said it's hard to know. The post by @Reverend that he links in post 531 above yours is one of the best discussions about strategic decisionmaking that you're going to find anywhere -- especially in 7 or 8 paragraphs. I think he's right on the nose, though I think she was playing at a somewhat different outcome than any of us were predicting back then.

Anyway, if you read her opinion from first page to last without flipping to the end to get the bottom line, you'd start off by thinking she was really going to crush Watson. Then her explanation for why she's constrained is facile. But deliberately so. She's not being dumb or disingenuous. She's sticking it back to the NFL, trying to put them in a box for their shitty approach for violence against women. That's how it reads to me, at least.

As rev notes, she was doing the best she could in a pretty narrow space that they carved out for her, and despite her best efforts, they are so good at what they do that they've just swatted her aside and blown past it. They had a gameplan for whatever she did.
A Strange Game. The Only Winning Move is Not to Play.
 

Harry Hooper

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That's really not how her opinion reads to me. But like I said it's hard to know. The post by @Reverend that he links in post 531 above yours is one of the best discussions about strategic decisionmaking that you're going to find anywhere -- especially in 7 or 8 paragraphs. I think he's right on the nose, though I think she was playing at a somewhat different outcome than any of us were predicting back then.

Anyway, if you read her opinion from first page to last without flipping to the end to get the bottom line, you'd start off by thinking she was really going to crush Watson. Then her explanation for why she's constrained is facile. But deliberately so. She's not being dumb or disingenuous. She's sticking it back to the NFL, trying to put them in a box for their shitty approach for violence against women. That's how it reads to me, at least.

As rev notes, she was doing the best she could in a pretty narrow space that they carved out for her, and despite her best efforts, they are so good at what they do that they've just swatted her aside and blown past it. They had a gameplan for whatever she did.

Thanks for the reading of the entrails.
 

boca

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11 game suspension and $5m fine according to various twitter reports
 

Awesome Fossum

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Does the NFL give a shit about promoting a Week 11 game between the Browns and Texans? Isn't the more likely explanation is that it splits the difference between the original sentence and a full season?
 

djbayko

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Does the NFL give a shit about promoting a Week 11 game between the Browns and Texans? Isn't the more likely explanation is that it splits the difference between the original sentence and a full season?
Yeah this is where I am. Can’t make it too obvious that this judge is in the bag for the NFL.
 

nattysez

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I don't think that's enough games for them to take on James G's salary, so I think the Niners are out of options in terms of a trade.

That backloaded deal is going to work out perfectly for him and the Browns. Smartest thing they've done in a while - so gross.