The Ravens will play the Cleveland Browns in Week 7 and Week 15, and of those two dates, Watson could miss Week 7 if he gets a suspension of more than six games.
Watson was embroiled in controversy earlier this offseason as the subject of 24 lawsuits accusing him of sexual assault and sexual misconduct.
The Browns quarterback has since settled 20 of 24 of those suits, though the NFL investigation is still pending — it’s worth noting this investigation is independent from the courts, and that Watson settling those lawsuits doesn’t necessarily mean the league won’t punish him.
Independent arbitrator Sue L. Robinson, chosen by the NFL to lead the investigation, is expected to give her ruling soon, likely before the start of Browns’ training camp on July 27.
The Athletic wrote a piece detailing the likely suspension of the 26-year-old quarterback and how severe the punishment could be if Robinson finds that Watson violated the league’s personal-conduct policy.
"“If Robinson finds — improbably at this point — that Watson did not violate the league’s personal-conduct policy, the quarterback will receive no suspension. If Robinson rules that Watson did violate the league’s personal-conduct policy, she can issue a suspension of whatever length she sees fit.In the latter case, it’s possible that the matter won’t end there. If Watson and the Browns or the NFL don’t agree with the duration of the suspension Robinson hands down, they will be free to appeal.”"
Ravens hope Deshaun Watson gets slapped with the maximum suspension
If Watson does indeed miss time, the Browns have Jacoby Brissett as a backup option who most recently filled in for Miami Dolphins’ Tua Tagovailoa last season for five games.
Behind the Dolphins’ shaky offensive line, Brissett recorded five touchdowns against four interceptions and completed 62.7 percent of his passes.
Though Watson hasn’t stepped onto the field since 2020, the Ravens would much rather play against Brissett than Watson and should hope Watson gets suspended for more than six games.
While facing Watson wouldn’t throw a huge wrench into the Ravens’ comeback season, the AFC North yet again poses as an unpredictable gauntlet in 2022.
Baltimore already is up against tough competition in Joe Burrow’s Bengals on route to taking the AFC North throne, and playing against Watson just seems like an unpalatable experience for both moral and football reasons.
In 2020, Watson threw for nearly 5,000 yards and recorded 33 touchdowns against seven interceptions, numbers certainly worthy of an elite quarterback.
Watson nonetheless became a lightning rod of controversy yet again when he was ranked higher than Lamar Jackson in an ESPN poll.
It’ll be up to Lamar Jackson and the Ravens to prove the doubters wrong and quash Deshaun Watson and the Browns in 2022, but on the other hand, Baltimore wouldn’t mind seeing Watson get slapped with a very, very lengthy suspension.