Content warning: This story contains details about alleged sexual abuse. The content may be difficult to read and emotionally upsetting.
The 26-year-old QB still faces 22 active civil suits accusing him of sexual assault and sexual misconduct after two Texas grand juries decided not to indict him on criminal charges. The Browns traded a 2022 first-round draft pick, 2023 first- and third-round picks and 2024 first- and fourth-round picks to Houston for Watson in March, in addition to giving the QB a large five-year contract extension that featured $230 in guaranteed money — a record.
Watson denied the allegations several times during an introductory news conference in March, saying he has "never assaulted, or harassed or disrespected any woman."
Commissioner Roger Goodell addressed the NFL's investigation of Watson at the league meeting that took place after the trade in March.
"Our people are working on it, obviously these are serious charges so we're looking at this seriously," Goodwell said. "We now have at least resolution from, the criminal side of it, there's still civil charges that are going on. Our investigation will hopefully have access to more information and that will be helpful to getting to the conclusion of the facts.
"That determination will be made by a joint disciplinary officer that was established by the NFLPA and the NFL and so she will make that decision when the facts are all in and we'll see… there's no timeframe on that."
Goodell said then that it's not likely Watson would be placed on the commissioner's exempt list now given that the pending cases are civil and not criminal.
The 22 active suits allege Watson forced two women to perform oral sex, ejaculated on four women and in front of two others, groped four women and kissed another woman unprompted upon arrival for a massage appointment. Eighteen of the 22 active suits accuse Watson of inappropriately touching women with his penis during massage therapy sessions.
Several teams pursued Watson before the Browns eventually got a trade done. Goodell said that the league has been clear with the Browns and other teams that the NFL's personal conduct policy is something the organization takes very seriously.
"We've been very clear with every club that whether the criminal matter gets resolved or not, the personal conduct policy is something that's very important to us," he said. "It does not need a criminal violation to be a violation of the personal conduct policy. They recognize we're going to make sure we get to the bottom of the facts and how it applies to the personal conduct policy. And when we get to that a decision will be made of if there should be any discipline and if so what is it."