Thu Jun 30 7:25pm ET
By ROB MAADDI
AP Pro Football Writer
Deshaun Watson's disciplinary hearing concluded Thursday with the NFL adamant about an indefinite suspension of at least one year and the quarterback's legal team arguing there's no basis for that punishment, two people with knowledge of the case told The Associated Press.
Both sides presented their arguments over three days before former U.S. District Judge Sue Robinson in Delaware, according to both people who spoke on condition of anonymity because the hearing isn't public.
Watson was accused of sexual misconduct by 24 women and settled 20 of the civil lawsuits.
Robinson, who was jointly appointed by the league and the NFL Players' Association, will determine whether Watson violated the NFL's personal conduct policy and whether to impose discipline.
Post-hearing briefs are due the week of July 11 so it's uncertain when Robinson will make a ruling. The Cleveland Browns are hoping to know Watson's availability before training camp starts July 27.
If either the union or league appeals Robinson's decision, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell or his designee ''will issue a written decision that will constitute full, final and complete disposition of the dispute,'' per terms of Article 46 in the collective bargaining agreement.
A person familiar with the case told the AP the league believes it presented evidence to warrant keeping Watson off the field this season. The person said the league's investigation determined Watson committed multiple violations of the personal conduct policy and he would be required to undergo counseling before returning.
A person familiar with Watson's defense told the AP they expect a suspension. Asked what would be acceptable, the person said: ''our goal is to get him back on the field this year.''
Two separate Texas grand juries declined to indict Watson on criminal complaints stemming from the allegations.
Watson has denied any wrongdoing and vowed to clear his name.
This is the first hearing for Robinson, who was the first female Chief Judge for the District of Delaware. Previously, Goodell had the authority to impose discipline for violations of the personal conduct policy.
Philadelphia Eagles OT Le'Raven Clark (hamstring), DL Javon Hargrave (groin), CB Jimmy Moreland (ankle), SS Jaquiski Tartt (personal) and CB Kary Vincent Jr. (groin) were added to the injury report and did not practice Sunday, Aug. 7.
Cleveland Browns running back Kareem Hunt was spotted doing 11-on-11 work during Sunday's practice. The veteran didn't participate in team drills over the last few days and recently requested a trade. However, with the Browns denying the demand, it appears Hunt has already raised the white flag. Although the 27-year-old is listed behind Nick Chubb on the depth chart, a spot he's very familiar with, he has historically been a relatively reliable PPR option due to his pass-catching ability. Still, he's dealt with injuries and off-the-field issues over the years, which remain concerns for fantasy managers heading into the 2022-23 campaign.
New York Giants head coach Brian Daboll reported he expects everyone healthy to suit up for Thursday's preseason opener against the Patriots. Daboll hopes to expose his players to as many live reps as possible, allowing everyone to become familiar with the new coaching staff. Although it's unknown how much work guys like Daniel Jones, Tyrod Taylor, and Saquon Barkley, among others, will receive versus New England, it will offer a small glimpse of what's to come for fantasy managers heading into the regular season.
Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson has been featured in different parts of the field throughout training camp. In an attempt to exploit opposing defenses this year, head coach Kevin O'Connell, who served as the Rams offensive coordinator last season, plans on utilizing Jefferson the same way Cooper Kupp was showcased in 2021-22. The 23-year-old has been a fantastic addition to fantasy rosters, accumulating 3,016 yards and 17 touchdowns off 196 catches since being drafted in 2020. Although Kupp should continue to be a reliable asset for managers in all formats, Jefferson's skill set could allow him to finish as the year's top fantasy wideout.
Miami Dolphins running back Myles Gaskin isn't a lock to be the No. 1 option on the depth chart. With the Dolphins having a crowded backfield consisting of Salvon Ahmed, Sony Michel, Chase Edmonds, and Raheem Mostert, it's anyone's guess who has the edge during training camp, especially with head coach Mike McDaniel remaining non-committal to reporters. While Gaskin may end up as McDaniel's preferred runner, it's unlikely he'll be a week-to-week fantasy option this season. As a result, fantasy managers may want to avoid this situation altogether, although Gaskin, Edmonds, Mostert, and Michel could have some potent showings in 2022-23.
Las Vegas Raiders running back Josh Jacobs isn't on the trade block, at least for now. After the 24-year-old was on the field for multiple series throughout the exhibition bout against the Jaguars, rumblings began to swirl about a potential move. However, head coach Josh McDaniels was quick to squash any rumors, indicating his preference to subject his players to "live hits" during the preseason, which can't be replicated at practice. Jacobs, whose fifth-year option was declined this offseason, had a down year running the ball in 2021, finishing with only 872 yards and nine touchdowns off 217 carries. Yet, he compiled a career-high 54 catches for 348 yards. While some fantasy managers expect the Alabama alum to bounce back this season, doing so may prove difficult with Kenyan Drake and Zamir White forecasted to also receive touches out of the backfield.
Seattle Seahawks CB Sidney Jones (concussion) remained sidelined at practice on Sunday, Aug. 7, due to a concussion.
Cleveland Browns running back Kareem Hunt shocked many when he decided to request a trade from the organization. He started skipping team drills in camp while he seeks a new contract. The organization has responded by fining Hunt and declining his request for a trade. This ultimately might backfire on Hunt since the Browns do have depth at the running back position. Nick Chubb is a stud and D'Ernest Johnson has proven himself to be a capable option. The Browns would likely move Hunt if the team received real assets in return. However, it seems unlikely that the Browns are going to move Hunt just because he requested a new deal.
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo has been on the trade block all offseason long. Despite that, there doesn't appear to be a clear trade partner for the veteran quarterback. At this point, it sounds like the team is fine with waiting until cutdown day to make a final decision on Garoppolo. There isn't much of a market for Garoppolo, so the team is waiting to see if another quarterback suffers an injury in camp. It's also worth noting that Garoppolo is working his way back from injury, so that could be part of the reason his trade market is slow. Regardless, fantasy managers shouldn't expect this situation to be resolved anytime soon.
Free-agent DBs Darryl Roberts (Commanders), Daryl Worley (Ravens) and Ken Crawley (Saints) worked out for the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday, Aug. 7.
Chicago Bears wide receiver Velus Jones Jr. could very well move up the depth chart quickly during training camp. The rookie wideout has reportedly hit the ground running in Chicago. The Bears took Jones in the third round, so clearly they believe in his ability on the field. It's also worth noting that Byron Pringle (quad) and N'Keal Harry (ankle) are sidelined right now. The Bears have little reliable depth, so they might be forced to use Jones to begin the season. He'll be a possible late-round target on draft day.
Chicago Bears wide receiver N'Keal Harry (ankle) was forced to exit Saturday's practice due to an ankle injury. It has now been revealed that Harry suffered a high-ankle sprain, which is not good news. The former first round pick was already having to compete for a spot on the 53-man roster. There is a good chance he misses a few weeks from this injury. The loss of Harry should mean more snaps for players such as Velus Jones Jr. and Dazz Newsome. This is a tough blow to a player who has struggled to make a name for himself in the league. Hopefully, Harry won't miss too much time, but it'll likely mean more looks for some younger players.
Dynasty | With no bell-cow running backs on the roster, there's fierce competition between all of them for the Dolphins starting role. Dynasty Analysis: The Dolphins currently roster Myles Gaskin, Chase Edmonds, Raheem Mostert, Sony Michel and Salvon Ahmed so there's no shortage of noteworthy backs competing for the top spot. Gaskin and Ahmed have history with the team and are likely on the outside looking in due to prior experience. Newcomer Chase Edmonds is/was the favorite to receive the bulk of the regular-season work but fellow new back Raheem Mostert is said to be looking explosive in camp. It's anyone's guess who will emerge on top early in September but our money remains on a combination of Edmonds and Mostert leading the way in a rotation. Edmonds is found as DLF's RB35 while Mostert comes in at RB65.
Atlanta Falcons DT Vincent Taylor (Achilles) was placed on season-ending injured reserve on Sunday, Aug. 7, with a ruptured Achilles' tendon.
Cleveland Browns RB Kareem Hunt participated in team drills on Sunday, Aug. 7, after not doing so in previous practices because of his desire for a new contract or trade.
Fantasy Spin: Despite Hunt's demands, the Browns reportedly won't oblige, and his participation in practice on Sunday may mean he's accepted that fact. This situation still bears monitoring, but Hunt will be a borderline RB2 in a contract year.
Dynasty | Bears receiver N'Keal Harry suffered what appeared to be a significant ankle injury during practice Dynasty Analysis: After washing out in New England, Harry caught in with the receiver-needy Bears in an attempt to get a fresh start. No word yet on the severity as the team is awaiting further evaluation and results but best case scenario would seem to suggest at least a multiple week injury. We'll hope for the best for Harry and his loss would be another blow to an already suspect receiving corps. in the Windy City. Harry has fallen from the dynasty radar and remains unranked on DLF's receiver rankings.
Dynasty | No signing is imminent for free agent receiver Odell Beckham Dynasty Analysis: Expected to miss at least the first half of the 2022 regular season, Beckham will continue to rehab while waiting for his next best opportunity to present itself. Now in his age-30 season, OBJ would seem to be a fit for the Rams once again though the Packers are also said to be interested. As DLF's WR64, he's a dynasty "hold" while we wait and see where the mercurial receiver ultimately ends up. In any case, he's best rostered by competitive dynasty teams looking for late-season magic due to bye weeks or injury.
Dynasty | Las Vegas running back Josh Jacobs won't be traded Dynasty Analysis: Twitter was all ablaze after Jacobs garnered seven touches in the team's pre-season game believing the veteran was on the trade block or behind in the running back competition. In the end, it was just new head coach Josh McDaniels trying to get his backs 'live' hits that can't be reproduced in training camp. The team also declined Jacobs' fifth-year option, adding further fuel to the fire that he could be moved. Jacobs' dynasty value continues to fall, now found as DLF's RB23, but he's still expected to carry a majority of the load for the Raiders in 2022 before becoming a free agent in 2023. As a back end RB2, there's value present for enterprising dynasty coaches with the intestinal fortitude of risk-on assets.
Houston Texans rookie running back Dameon Pierce has a shot to be the team's lead back in his rookie season. Fantasy managers probably aren't looking closely into Houston's backfield, especially since it could be more of a committee approach in 2022. Veteran Marlon Mack (Achilles) appears healthy and is the favorite to open the year as Houston's primary running back, but Pierce will have his opportunities alongside Rex Burkhead. The 22-year-old has impressed the coaching staff in training camp, but he'll need to improve as a blocker in order to see more time on the field. On upside alone, Pierce is probably the most attractive fantasy back in Houston, although he'll likely be passed up in standard 12-team leagues to begin the season.
Cleveland Browns rookie third-round wide receiver David Bell (foot), who returned from the Physically Unable to Perform list on Saturday, won't be ruled out from playing in the team's preseason opener next Friday against the Jacksonville Jaguars. "He's really intelligent," head coach Kevin Stefanski said of Bell. "He had a nice spring for us, moved him around in our formation and he picked it up pretty quickly. So we're excited about getting him back out here. Like anything, I want him to catch up real fast, and I know he does too. So he's excited to be back out here." Amari Cooper is Cleveland's clear No. 1 receiver, but Bell has an opportunity for a big role in his first NFL season. The 21-year-old will be catching passes from quarterback Jacoby Brissett for at least the first six games of the year, though, putting him off the fantasy radar in most standard-sized leagues to begin 2022.