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Will optics govern Deshaun Watson’s final decision?  Or will the NFL get its unprecedented ban?  – Denver Post

Roger Goodell’s appointee in Deshaun Watson’s appeal, former NJ Attorney General Peter Harvey, could drop the hammer of an indefinite suspension plus a major fine on the Cleveland Browns quarterback this week.

Or Harvey could slightly increase Watson’s six-game suspension, handed down by neutral judge Susan Robinson, and reveal that this process is more of a negotiated compromise than the league and union have portrayed.

Miami-based attorney Brad Sohn, who has argued several cases involving the football collective bargaining agreement, thinks this will be the last: something like 8-10 games plus a huge fine.

“I view this situation as a case study in optics,” Sohn told the Daily News on Saturday morning.

Essentially, from a legal standpoint, while Watson’s alleged behavior warrants punishment, imposing an indefinite suspension on a league appeal could be seen as Goodell vigorously reprimanding Robinson and, therefore, this whole new collectively bargained deal. with the union in the personal context. driving policy.

Goodell has already appointed Harvey to hear the league’s appeal, rather than serve as final judge and jury himself, which the CBA grants him the right to do.

The NFL has made no secret that it is still seeking an indefinite suspension, plus a fine and mandatory treatment. But the nominations of Robinson (jointly by the NFL and NFLPA) and Harvey (by the league) move both the NFL and the union away from the final decision.

So middle ground — building on the Watson league negotiations that stalled before Robinson’s decision — would allow both the NFL and NFLPA to walk away claiming the process worked.

“Doing that — basically negotiating a deal through publicly posting an independent process with different people helping to negotiate discipline — makes the NFLPA look good because it can say the new ABC is working,” Sohn said. “And the NFL seems to respect that process, but can also improve discipline. So assuming that happens, both sides can claim modest victories.

Before Robinson ruled for a six-game suspension, the most Watson’s team was willing to accept in league negotiations was 6-8 games, according to multiple reports. The NFL, meanwhile, would go no further than a 12-game ban and a fine in the range of $8-10 million.

The union could sue in federal court if Harvey extends Watson’s suspension indefinitely, but it wouldn’t challenge the original six-game suspension, and precedent has shown that typically in NFL cases it just delays the inevitable pain.

Sohn doesn’t think it will come to that, however. He says Watson’s case, from a legal standpoint, is not black or white. His pattern of alleged sexual assault clearly warrants discipline, but a Texas grand jury also found insufficient evidence to charge him criminally.

“The NFL is susceptible to valid criticism if it doesn’t act,” Sohn said. The opinion of an experienced lawyer, however, is that the action will not live up to the rhetoric, as it is more of a negotiation than it seems.

CARDINAL CIRCUS

Fresh off of their embarrassing contract drama with Kyler Murray, the Arizona Cardinals experienced a second straight week of high-profile dysfunction.

Wide receiver Marquise Brown was arrested for driving 126 mph in a 65 mph zone. The team placed running backs coach James Saxon on administrative leave after learning he had been charged with two counts of domestic violence.

And coach Kliff Kingsbury offered an interesting explanation for why Murray called plays from the sideline to reserve quarterbacks during practice.

“I just wanted him to know that ‘Hey, this shit ain’t easy,’ Kingsbury told reporters. “Every once in a while he starts shaking his head when I call him in there. say, ‘Okay, go ahead, big dog.’ »

I wonder if Murray gets credit for this as homework. The Cardinals QB then had to self-quarantine for five days after testing positive for COVID-19.

Just another week in Arizona.

CONDITIONING? SOUNDS FAMILIAR

Giants coach Brian Daboll mentioned twice after practice Friday night at MetLife Stadium that his team needed to improve their “conditioning.”

“I think we need to improve our level of conditioning,” Daboll said. “That’s why we made these two long journeys [for the first-string offense and defense]. And I think everyone can get an idea of ​​where they are individually. But collectively, it will be a point of attention this week.

Former trainer Joe Judge emphasized conditioning. So did Brian Flores, the former Dolphins coach whom the Giants interviewed for this position. Both Judge and Flores are known for their regular conditioning periods during practices and penalty laps or sprints after mistakes.

Daboll’s spring and early summer schedules haven’t been particularly grueling by comparison. The Giants medical staff’s plan to manage the players has focused primarily on spring rest.

At times during the spring and summer, Daboll had players run sprints between games to simulate sideline play while tired. He’s a follower of Bill Belichick, like Judge and Flores, so he values ​​conditioning and knows it’s important.

But Daboll also said in June that he doesn’t believe in conditioning for conditioning’s sake.

“Just to do it just to say that we condition ourselves is – we really have a map laid out of when we do it and why we do it,” Daboll said during OTAs.

At the time, the Giants’ first-year head coach offered this qualifier, however: “If we don’t do a good enough job in practice, chasing after guys with the ball in hand or chasing down the field as an offensive lineman or trying to get down and get an extra block, then you have to make up for it by doing something else.

Now, Daboll says conditioning will be a “point of attention” heading into the Giants’ preseason opener in New England at Foxboro on Thursday night.

It will be interesting to watch Daboll navigate any plans to increase the team’s conditioning work internally and see how different the Giants’ upcoming practices could be.

AROUND THE LEAGUE

The Jimmy Garoppolo market got more interesting this week with the news that Rams QB Matthew Stafford is feeling elbow pain in his throwing arm that’s “a little abnormal for a quarterback,” the Rams coach said. Sean McVay to reporters. McVay said the injury is similar to what “pitchers deal with” in baseball. He said, “It’s something I’ve never gone through as a coach with a quarterback.” The Cleveland Browns appear to be Garoppolo’s most likely landing spot, with Watson expected to miss most or all of this season following Goodell’s call-up. But if the 49ers can’t find a business partner and are forced to release Garoppolo in free agency, could Jimmy G end up signing in a division with the LA Rams? If the defending Super Bowl champions need backup or insurance, why not? …

I like that the Las Vegas Raiders win the competitive AFC West provided they solidify their offensive line. Right guard Lester Cotton was impressive in Thursday night’s Hall of Fame game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, but with starting left tackle Kolton Miller rested, backup left tackle Brandon Parker (in particular) and left tackle right Alex Leatherwood weren’t up to snuff. The Raiders have high hopes in Josh McDaniels’ first season as head coach. They need a line that matches their aspirations…

Giants wide receiver Darius Slayton is buried on the team’s wide receiver depth chart. He saw significant time with the third-string offense in Friday practice. Other teams know about it, but because Slayton is planning to be released, Giants general manager Joe Schoen doesn’t have much leverage to execute a trade. Teams are more likely to wait for the Giants and rely on Slayton to be cut and hit free agency, where they can sign him without giving up assets to the Giants. It’s early in camp, so there’s always the chance other players’ injuries could save Slayton. But it doesn’t look good…

Schoen and the Giants need more depth at positions like offensive tackle, corner, tight end and running back, so Schoen will be heavily involved in the Final Cuts on August 30 to scour talent that is being cut. of the other 31 teams. One offensive tackle who would be available via trade is Chicago Bears sophomore tackle Teven Jenkins, 24, who underwent back surgery as a rookie in 2021, played just six games with two starts last season, and missed all of this year’s camp under new coach Matt Eberfllus. Presumably, the Bears couldn’t get more than a late-round pick for Oklahoma State’s former second-rounder. But it’s still unclear how healthy he is, and NFL offices will have to rely primarily on their pre-draft evaluations to judge his form.

THEY SAID IT

“Mr. Watson’s pattern of conduct is more egregious than any previously considered by the NFL. – retired judge Sue L. Robinson in her 16-page ruling on Watson

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