Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson has settled all but four of the 24 civil lawsuits for sexual misconduct brought against him, according to attorney Tony Buzbee. 

Buzbee represents the women suing Watson, who has been accused of committing sexual misconduct during massage sessions by two dozen women.

"Today I announce that all cases against Deshaun Watson, with the exception of four, have settled," Buzbee said in a statement on Tuesday.

"We are working through the paperwork related to those settlements. Once we have done so, those particular cases will be dismissed. The terms and amounts of the settlements are confidential. We won't comment further on the settlements or those cases."

One of the four women who did not settle is Ashley Solis – the first woman to accuse Watson of inappropriate sexual conduct. 

"Ashley Solis is one of the heroes of this story," Buzbee said. "Her case has not settled and thus her story and that of the other three brave women will continue. I look forward to trying these cases in due course, consistent with other docket obligations and the court's schedule."

Watson has not commented on Buzbee's statement.

Until all 24 cases are settled, Watson's NFL future is still uncertain. The NFL is conducting its own investigation into whether he violated the league's code of conduct.

The New York Times recently reported the embattled quarterback hired at least 66 different women for private massages over the course of 17 months. Watson has long maintained he is innocent of any wrongdoing. 

 

 

Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson repeated that he is innocent of the inappropriate sexual conduct alleged in the now 24 lawsuits against him when speaking publicly for the first time in nearly three months.

Despite the increasing number of civil suits against him, including two more filed within the last 15 days, Watson has insisted he is innocent.

Watson is accused of sexual assault and harassment by over two dozen massage therapists who visited his home for private sessions while he played for the Houston Texans.

Attorney Tony Buzbee, who represents the women suing Watson, said on Monday that he plans to file two more lawsuits against the embattled quarterback.

"I never assaulted anyone," Watson told reporters on Tuesday following practice at Browns mini-camp. "I never harassed anyone, or I never disrespected anyone. I never forced anyone to do anything. I just want to clear my name.

"I've been honest and I've been truthful about my stance. I never forced on anyone and I never assaulted anyone. That's what I've been saying since the beginning and I'll continue to do that until all the facts come out."

Last week, the New York Times reported that Watson hired at least 66 different women for private massages over the course of 17 months, including all 24 plaintiffs.

Despite Watson’s legal troubles, the Browns convinced him to drop his no-trade clause and gave him a fully guaranteed five-year, $230million contract after acquiring him this off-season.

The 26-year-old quarterback had criminal complaints dropped in two Texas counties, but both he and the Browns continue to face public backlash.

Watson’s short-term future on the field hangs in the balance as the NFL conducts its own investigation into whether he has violated the league’s code of conduct. Commissioner Roger Goodell said during spring meetings that the investigation was nearing an end but would not name a target date.

"I can't control that," Watson said. "I did everything they asked me to do. I answered every question truthfully that the NFL asked me.

"That's all I can do, is be honest and tell them exactly what happened. They have a job, and so I have to respect that. And that's what we want to do is cooperate. They have to make a decision that's best for the league."

Baker Mayfield has said he feels "disrespected" by the Cleveland Browns, and insists he is "ready for the next step" in his career.

The number one draft pick from 2018 is under contract for 2022 at $18.9million – fully guaranteed – with Cleveland picking up his fifth-year option last year.

However, the Browns appeared to move on from Mayfield as their starter when trading a significant package of draft picks to the Houston Texans to acquire Deshaun Watson.

The franchise also picked up former Pittsburgh Steelers backup QB Josh Dobbs from free agency last week, leaving Mayfield's future in further doubt.

Speaking to the YNK podcast on Wednesday, Mayfield said: “I feel disrespected... I was told one thing and they completely did another."

Mayfield suggested that the Seattle Seahawks were "probably the most likely option" for him after they traded Russell Wilson to the Denver Broncos, insisting: "I'm ready for the next chapter.

"I really, truly, honestly have no regrets of my time in Cleveland of what I tried to give to that place. True Clevelanders and true Browns fans know that."

Mayfield arrived in a Browns team that had gone 0-16 the year prior, improving them to 7-8-1 in his first campaign, and taking them to their first playoff victory in 26 years in his third.

However, a difficult 2021 season would follow, suffering a shoulder injury in Week 2 against the Houston Texans, before being booed during the home victory against the Detroit Lions in Week 11.

"I'd be lying to you if I didn't say that I got caught up in all the negativity and stuff during the year last year," he added. "I was trying to be tough and fight through [the injury], but then physically I wasn't as capable of doing what I would normally [do].

"When I wasn't performing on the field, that's when it really started to go downhill. Because I can tough it out, I don't care, I'm not going to complain about it, like everybody is banged up. But then when it started hindering my play and going downhill, that's when I was like, 'oh s***'.

"That's when I started losing my own self-confidence and losing myself. This past year was rough. It was. It was rough on me, my family. It sucked because I knew what I could be doing, but I physically wasn't in a state to do it."

Mayfield had just 17 passing touchdowns to his name (one rushing TD) in the 2021 campaign, his lowest during his four years in Cleveland, though he did end the season with a better pass completion percentage than in 2019 (60.5 to 59.4), as well as throwing fewer interceptions (13) than in either of his first two seasons (14 in 2018, 21 in 2019).  

"I know what I need to do for me to be the best version of me and be able to lead an organisation," he added. "I'm in a good place right now."

The Cleveland Browns have signed backup quarterback Josh Dobbs to a one-year deal as the situation with starter Baker Mayfield remains foggy.

Mayfield has requested a trade away from the Browns, but it is reported the franchise has no intention of dealing the former number one draft pick prior to this year's NFL Draft.

The franchise have moved on from Mayfield as their starter, trading a massive package of draft picks to the Houston Texans to acquire Deshaun Watson, and the signing of Dobbs – reported by ESPN's Adam Schefter – may indicate there is no intention to force Mayfield into a backup role.

It is understandable why the Browns would be hesitant to part ways with their primary signal-caller for a weak trade offer, as they went 0-16 in the season before he arrived, and have won no fewer than six games in the four seasons with Mayfield under center, including an 11-5 season and a trip to the playoffs in 2020.

After trading away three first round picks, plus two more later round picks, the Browns will be hoping a quarterback-hungry team comes calling on draft night as there is arguably no quarterback prospect in this year's class who profiles as a better prospect than Mayfield.

Dobbs has only attempted 17 passes in the NFL since being drafted in the fourth round in 2017, and has never started a professional game.

Deshaun Watson's presentation as the Cleveland Browns' new quarterback was dominated by questions around allegations of sexual assault and misconduct.

Watson faces 22 civil lawsuits, although two grand juries have now concluded there was not enough evidence for criminal proceedings.

The allegations, which emerged last year, overshadowed the player's attempts to secure a trade away from the Houston Texans, instead sitting on the sideline for the entire 2021 NFL season.

Watson eventually got his move after a first grand jury did not indict him, landing on the Browns.

The 26-year-old, appearing alongside Browns general manager Andrew Berry and coach Kevin Stefanski on Friday, described the opportunity as "a fresh start".

However, he also recognises "there's going to be a stain that's probably going to stick with me for a while".

Indeed, despite Watson discussing a belief he could win Super Bowls in Cleveland, most news conference queries centred on matters away from the field.

Watson said he did not intend to settle the civil lawsuits, explaining: "That's not my intent. My intent is to clear my name as much as possible."

And the QB continues to strenuously deny the allegations made against him.

"I don't have any regrets," Watson said. "The things that are off the field right now that came up caught me by surprise, because I never did anything that these people are alleging.

"And I know a lot of people say that I took the year off and I used that to be able to clear my name, like the previous two weeks, and I just continue to fight that.

"I just continue to work and become a better person, a better player and just a better son, like my mom has always taught me."

Meanwhile, Berry would not speculate on whether he thought there was any wrongdoing by Watson, responding to such a question: "We feel very confident in Deshaun the person.

"We have a lot of faith in him and we believe that as he gets into the community and our organisation, he's going to make a positive impact."

Deshaun Watson was not charged by a second grand jury after it considered evidence of sexual assault and misconduct allegations.

The Cleveland Browns quarterback faces 22 civil lawsuits.

However, earlier in March, Harris County jurors did not find enough evidence for criminal proceedings, and Watson was again not indicted on Thursday after a Brazoria County grand jury also assessed the case.

"After a careful and thorough review of the facts and evidence documented in the reports prepared by the Brazoria County Sheriff's Office and the Houston Police Department, as well as hearing testimony from witnesses, the grand jury for Brazoria County has declined to charge Deshaun Watson with any crimes," Brazoria County District Attorney Tom Selleck said in a statement.

"Accordingly, this matter is closed."

Watson has strenuously denied the accusations since they emerged last year, overshadowing his attempts to push for a trade away from the Houston Texans.

He got his move to Cleveland after the first grand jury did not charge him.

Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski said last week: "Our organisation did a tremendous amount of background on Deshaun.

"We understand the concerns and questions that exist but are confident in the extensive work Andrew [Berry, executive vice-president of football operations and general manager] and his staff have done to feel confident about him joining our organisation."

Kevin Stefanski is confident the Cleveland Browns have done their homework on Deshaun Watson after the quarterback's trade was confirmed on Sunday.

Watson agreed to waive his no-trade clause to allow the Houston Texans to deal him to the Browns.

The 26-year-old seemed to have narrowed down his options to join either the Atlanta Falcons or the New Orleans Saints, but is instead bound for Cleveland. Houston will receive a first-round pick for this year, 2023 and 2024, along with a third-round pick for 2023 and a fourth-round selection for 2024.

A bidding war for Watson materialised when he was not charged by a grand jury earlier this month, after it considered evidence of sexual assault and misconduct allegations against him.

Watson faces 22 civil lawsuits, but the grand jury did not find enough evidence for criminal proceedings. He has strenuously denied the accusations since they emerged last year, overshadowing his previous request to be traded away from the Texans.

According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, the Browns have agreed to give Watson a fully guaranteed five-year, $230million contract. That figure is $80m more than the previous record for fully guaranteed money at signing.

Browns head coach Stefanski believes Watson will be a shrewd acquisition.

Stefanski said: "Our organisation did a tremendous amount of background on DeShaun.

"We understand the concerns and questions that exist but are confident in the extensive work Andrew [Berry, executive vice-president of football operations and general manager] and his staff have done to feel confident about him joining our organisation.

"It was important for us to meet with Deshaun in person as part of our team's evaluation process, we had a candid conversation regarding his approach to coming into our organisation and community.

"I'm looking forward to the opportunity to coach Deshaun, he is ready to put in the hard work needed to help our team improve and make a positive impact in our community."

The 26-year-old Watson did not play a single game in 2021, having led the NFL in passing yards in 2020.

The Browns also confirmed on Sunday that Case Keenum has been traded to the Buffalo Bills for a 2022 seventh-round pick.

Watson's arrival will clear the way for the Browns to move former first-round pick Baker Mayfield, who has requested a trade.

The Houston Texans confirmed the trade of Deshaun Watson to the Cleveland Browns on Friday.

For Watson and their 2024 fifth-round pick, the Texans will receive a haul of draft picks in return, consisting of the Browns' three future first-round picks, the 2023 third-round and 2024 fourth-round picks.

After consecutive four-win seasons in 2020 and 2021, Texans general manager Nick Caserio asserted the trade is one that will solidify roster foundations.

"I felt it was the right move for our organisation as we head into the new league year focused on building our roster for the 2022 season," he said in a statement.

"Our priority right now is adding to the foundation we have already put in place over the last 15 months and this trade supports that plan."

According to ESPN's Ian Rapaport, Watson and the Browns have agreed to a fully guaranteed five-year, $230million contract, smashing the previous record for guaranteed money in the NFL by $80m.

The bidding war for Watson came upon the news he was not charged by a United States grand jury, after considering evidence of sexual assault and misconduct against him.

Watson still faces 22 civil lawsuits, but the grand jury ruled there was insufficient evidence for criminal proceedings.

Texans CEO Cal McNair was full of praise for his GM on his handling of the trade amid the scandal.

"I'm extremely proud of the way Nick Caserio navigated us through this challenging situation," he said.

"He remained patient before ultimately making the decision that is best for us in the long and short term."

Deshaun Watson has agreed to waive his no-trade clause to allow the Houston Texans to deal him to the Cleveland Browns.

Watson had appeared to have narrowed his choices down to the Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints in his search to find a new team as his time with the Texans comes to an end.

The Browns who, along with the Falcons, Saints and Carolina Panthers, had met with Watson, had previously been reported to be out of the running.

However, on Friday ESPN's Adam Schefter and NFL Network each reported that Watson had changed his mind, instead electing to join the Browns, from whom he will receive a record-breaking new contract.

According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, the Browns have agreed to give Watson a fully guaranteed five-year, $230million contract. That figure is $80m more than the previous record for fully guaranteed money at signing.

The Texans, meanwhile, are set to receive five draft picks, including three first-rounders, in exchange for Watson.

Watson's arrival will clear the way for the Browns to move former first-round pick Baker Mayfield, the quarterback who himself this week requested a trade.

Baker Mayfield has cast doubt over his future with the Cleveland Browns amid reports that Deshaun Watson might be about to join the team.

Watson requested a trade from the Houston Texans over a year ago and, according to NFL Media's Ian Rapoport, was set to meet with the Browns on Tuesday.

The Atlanta Falcons are also said to be interested in Watson, who did not feature at all in 2021 due to disagreements with the front office in Houston and accusations of sexual misconduct.

Last week, a Texas court grand jury did not find enough evidence for Watson to be charged with a crime following these allegations, though the 26-year-old still faces 22 civil lawsuits and remains under NFL investigation.

However, the three-time Pro Bowler seems a viable target for the Browns, who failed to make the playoffs last season, and Mayfield could make way.

It was a particularly frustrating campaign for Mayfield, who threw for 3,010 yards and 17 touchdowns, both career-lows.

His pass completion percentage dropped from 62.8 in 2020 to 60.5, as he also battled a lingering shoulder problem for which he eventually needed surgery, missing the final game of the season as a result.

On Tuesday, Mayfield revealed he was uncertain about what the immediate future would be, but despite his insistence to the contrary, his message to Cleveland fans felt like something of a farewell.

"Cleveland," read the statement, which was posted to Mayfield's official Twitter account.

"The past four years have been nothing short of truly life-changing since I heard my name called in the draft to go to Cleveland. This is not a message with hidden meaning. This is strictly to thank the city of Cleveland for embracing my family and me.

"We have made many memories and shared growing in this process through all the ups and downs. I have no clue what happens next, which is the meaning behind the silence I have had during the duration of this process. I can only control what I can, which is trusting in God's plan throughout this process.

"I have given the franchise everything I have. That is something I've always done at every stage, and at every level. And that will not change wherever I take my next snap.

"Whatever happens, I just want to say thank you to the fans who truly embraced who I am and the mentality that aligned so well with this city's hard-working people.

"Cleveland will always be a part of Emily's and my story. And we will always be thankful for the impact it has had and will have in our lives."

Mayfield enjoyed a brilliant maiden season in 2018, throwing a then-NFL rookie record of 27 touchdown passes, which he has not bettered since.

Deshaun Watson was not charged by a grand jury after it considered evidence of sexual assault and misconduct allegations on Friday.

The Houston Texans quarterback faces 22 civil lawsuits, but jurors did not find enough evidence for criminal proceedings.

Watson had strenuously denied the accusations since they emerged last year, overshadowing talk of a trade away from the Texans.

The 26-year-old did not play a single game in 2021, having led the NFL in passing yards in 2020.

"After a Harris County grand jury was presented all the evidence and had the opportunity to hear from all witnesses, grand jurors declined to indict Deshaun Watson," Dane Schiller, spokesman for the Harris County District Attorney's Office, said in a statement released to Stats Perform.

"Grand jury proceedings are secret by law, so no information related to their inquiry may be disclosed."

A widely released statement from Rusty Hardin, Watson's attorney, said: "We are delighted that the grand jury has looked at the matter thoroughly and reached the same conclusion we did.

"Deshaun Watson did not commit any crimes and is not guilty of any offences.

"Now that the criminal investigations have been completed, we are happy to move forward with the civil case depositions. We will vigorously defend those cases with every ounce we have."

Watson has been the subject of an investigation from the NFL, and the league said: "We have been closely monitoring all developments in the matter which remains under review of the personal conduct policy."

Tua Tagovailoa will be the starting quarterback for the Miami Dolphins going forward and there will be no trade for Houston Texans star Deshaun Watson, according to general manager Chris Grier.

As Tagovailoa has been inconsistent since the Dolphins selected him with the fifth overall pick in the 2020 draft, there had been talk Miami would be interested in bringing in a different quarterback. 

Miami did take the first steps towards acquiring Watson last year, with owner Stephen Ross being granted permission to talk to the Texans quarterback.

However, no trade was finalised for Watson, who is facing 22 civil lawsuits that remain unresolved as the NFL conducts its own investigation into sexual assault and misconduct allegations against him.

Mike McDaniel was hired as Miami's new coach early last month after five seasons with the San Francisco 49ers, serving last season as the team's offensive coordinator. 

"I think the door is shut on Deshaun," Grier said Wednesday at the NFL Scouting Combine.

"At the end of the day, Mike and the staff have come to do a lot of work and studied Tua and they feel good about his developmental upside, what he can be and then the fit in the offense. I think we're good with Tua."

There are questions about exactly how high a ceiling Tagovailoa has, and Grier was asked whether he thinks he can be an elite quarterback.

"I can't say he can't be," Grier said. "It's a situation now where this will be built around his skill set and what the offense can be and Mike's vision of how he fits.

"So, I wouldn't say he can't be. It's too early. He's played 20 games maybe. The first year was in and out and missing games this year, but I know he's won games even this last year, and it's hard to win games in this league.

"I know people want to say he doesn't throw the ball downfield, but he's incredibly accurate, and that's the real exciting part for Mike and the coaching staff, his accuracy."

Tagovailoa completed 67.8 per cent of his passes last season and threw 16 touchdowns with 10 interceptions. 

"I will say Mike and the offensive staff watched every game, every throw and put together this tape of the roster, and it was pretty cool," Grier said.

"Mike's vision for how Tua fits into this scheme and what he can do, they're all every excited about it.

"So, I think at the end of the day, probably Tua is going to have to come in and work with him and do it on the field, but right now there's a very good comfort level with how they feel he fits into what Mike wants to do with our offense."

Joe Schoen is "really excited" to help Daniel Jones "put his best foot forward", with the New York Giants set to stick with their quarterback after ruling out a Deshaun Watson trade.

Schoen has been hired as the new Giants general manager and has plenty of work to do to make the team challengers once more.

The former Buffalo Bills assistant GM will at least be able to name his own head coach, with Joe Judge out after a 4-13 2021 season, but he may not have the same flexibility elsewhere. The Giants are over the salary cap for 2022.

As Schoen attempts to operate on a budget, he will not immediately be looking for an upgrade under center.

Having been a surprise selection with the sixth overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, Jones initially impressed with 24 touchdown passes and 12 interceptions in 13 games (12 starts) in his rookie year.

The quarterback has since struggled to build on that performance, however, tossing only 21 TD passes across the past two seasons combined.

Many would suggest it is time for the Giants to move away from Jones, but Schoen, it seems, would rather work to get the best out of a 24-year-old who threw an accurate, well-thrown pass with 80.3 per cent of his attempts this season.

That mark ranked ahead of three of the four quarterbacks still alive in the playoffs; Joe Burrow's 86.5 per cent led the league (minimum 100 attempts).

"I've looked at Daniel," Schoen said as he met the media in his new role on Wednesday – with Jones in attendance.

"Once the new staff gets in here, we're going to get together – offensive coordinator, head coach, the entire staff – dive into the film as a group and look at what Daniel does best, and we're going to try to allow him to put his best foot forward.

"I've looked at him. I wasn't here in the past, so I don't exactly know what he was told to do, but I do know this: I know he's a great kid.

"He's been in this building the last two days. I've talked to him. There's not anybody in this building that's said a bad word about his work ethic, passion, desire to win, and I think you've got to have those traits as a quarterback.

"The kid has physical ability. He's got arm strength, he's athletic, he can run. I'm really excited to work with Daniel.

"Again, when the new staff gets in here, we'll build an offense around Daniel to accentuate what he does best."

Jones also has the backing of Giants co-owner John Mara, who accepted the team had "done everything possible to screw this kid up".

And Mara assured there would be no move for wantaway Houston Texans QB Watson.

Watson pushed for a trade before the 2021 season and instead spent the year on the sideline as the subject of police and NFL investigations into sexual assault and misconduct allegations, facing 22 civil lawsuits.

"We're not trading for Deshaun Watson," Mara said. "There are so many reasons why we wouldn't do that.

"Cap-wise, we couldn't afford it, but more importantly with the allegations that are out there right now, that's just not the right fit for us."

Miami Dolphins general manager Chris Grier said the franchise did their "due diligence" regarding a trade for wantaway Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson before opting not to make a deal.

The Dolphins were reportedly favourites to land Watson before Tuesday's NFL deadline as the three-time Pro Bowler was believed to have been willing to waive his no-trade clause.

It sparked uncertainty over the future of second-year QB Tua Tagovailoa, however, a trade for Watson did not materialise.

Grier was asked about Miami's interest in Watson – who is yet to play this season – on Wednesday and he told reporters midweek: "We never got to a point where anything was going to be realistic in terms of happening.

"It was still us just doing our due diligence, just talking through things. We never got to a point where anything was that close to happening."

Topping 4,000 yards for the second time in his career as he racked up 4,823 to lead the league, Watson threw for 33 touchdowns and seven interceptions last season.

Fifth in the NFL in air yards per attempt (9.27), according to Stats Perform data, Watson did an excellent job of balancing his aggression with smart decision-making.

Watson threw a pickable pass on just 2.28 per cent of his attempts, the fourth-lowest rate in the NFL last term.

This season, Tagovailoa has 103 completions for 1,040 yards, seven touchdowns and five interceptions in five games.

"I don't think it's any different than any player on the roster, honestly," Grier said. "Because if there's a player available around the league that's viewed as being one of the top players in the league at any position, I think you look at it and try to go for it.

"We're very happy with Tua. We think he's developing well. Brian has been very consistent with his message, and we have been as well.

"He's working hard, he's showing a lot of improvement and we think he'll continue to develop and be the player he should be."

Watson will remain in Houston until at least the end of the season and Texans GM Nick Caserio added: "The veracity of some of what has been reported is a little bit stretched. But that's just the nature of how these things work.

"There were various levels of discussions, specific to him and specific to other players as well. In the end, there was no trade that came to fruition, so I don't really have any comment about some of the logistics and the mechanics about what happened and what hasn't happened, what did happen."

Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson will remain on the team's roster until the end of the season after the disgruntled star was not traded before Tuesday's NFL deadline.

Watson was on the tracking block after requesting a move from the Texans in January as the three-time Pro Bowler faces 22 civil lawsuits that remain unresolved as the NFL conducts its own investigation into sexual assault and misconduct allegations against him.

The Miami Dolphins were reportedly favourites to land Watson, who was believed to have waived his no-trade clause, while the Carolina Panthers and Philadelphia Eagles had also been interested.

But Watson – who has been inactive during the 2021 season – is staying put after an agreement was not reached prior to the deadline.

Topping 4,000 yards for the second time in his career as he racked up 4,823 to lead the league, Watson threw for 33 touchdowns and seven interceptions last season.

Fifth in the NFL in air yards per attempt (9.27), according to Stats Perform data, Watson did an excellent job of balancing his aggression with smart decision-making.

Indeed, the 26-year-old threw a pickable pass on just 2.28 per cent of his attempts, the fourth-lowest rate in the NFL last term.

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