Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson has apparently reached a settlement agreement in 20 of the 24 civil lawsuits he was facing for alleged sexual misconduct. Lawyer Tony Buzbee, who is representing Watson’s accusers, has announced as much in a statement released on Tuesday.
“Today I announce that all cases against Deshaun Watson, with the exception of four, have settled,” Buzbee wrote. “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.”
A majority of the cases against Watson were filed nearly 15 months ago, and now 20 of them are off the table. How this impacts the other four or indeed Watson’s outlook heading into the 2022 NFL season has yet to be determined; the star quarterback still faces potential league discipline.
Watson, 26, originally entered the NFL as a first-round selection by the Houston Texans in 2017 and quickly proved himself one of the best young passers in football. After having started 56 games for the organization and leading it to the playoffs twice, however, he requested to be traded. The Texans did not initially trade him, and the emergence of numerous allegations of sexual harassment did not help the situation get resolved.
A grand jury deciding earlier this year that Watson would not face criminal charges pushed the door open for a trade to take place. He eventually was sent to Cleveland for six draft picks — including three first-round selections — and later received a fully-guaranteed five-year, $230 million contract.
One of the four women who have not settled is Ashley Solis, who were the first to come forward with allegations against Watson.
“Her case has not settled and thus her story and that of the other three brave women will continue,” Buzbee wrote. “I look forward to trying these cases in due course, consistent with other docket obligations and the court’s schedule.”