When the NFL and quarterback Deshaun Watson agreed to an 11-game suspension and $5 million fine, a case could have been made that it would have been better for the Browns to have Watson miss a full year. That would have truly suspended Watson’s contract, pushing it back by a full year, keeping him under contract through 2027, and slashing his salary in 2023 from $46 million to the veteran minimum for a player with his level of experience (currently, that’s $1.035 million).

Some within league circles may have thought the same thing. As noted by Peter King in his new Football Morning in America column, a “prominent team executive” recently said this: “I think there were multiple owners who didn’t want Deshaun Watson suspended for the season, and told Roger Goodell that.”