Attorney Tony Buzbee announced Tuesday that Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson has settled 20 of the 24 civil lawsuits filed against him by women accusing him of sexual assault or misconduct.
According to Brent Schrotenboer of the Akron Beacon Journal, Buzbee, who is representing the plaintiffs, said the following in a statement:
"Today I announce that all cases against Deshaun Watson, with the exception of four, have settled. We are working through the paperwork related to those settlements. Once we have done so, those particular cases will be dismissed. The terms and amounts of the settlements are confidential. We won't comment further on the settlements or those cases."
All 24 of the civil suits were filed against Watson by women accusing Watson of sexual assault or misconduct during massage therapy sessions while he was a member of the Houston Texans.
Buzbee noted Ashley Solis, who was the first woman to file a lawsuit against Watson and also the first to publicly identify herseful, is one of the four plaintiffs to have not agreed to a settlement. Buzbee added that he is looking forward to trying her case and the other three that remain active.
In addition to the 24 civil cases filed against Watson, he faced 10 criminal complaints, but two grand juries in Texas declined to indict him.
After the first grand jury decided against pursuing charges, the Browns acquired Watson from the Texans for a bevy of draft picks and signed him to a fully guaranteed five-year, $230 million contract.
The NFL could still suspend Watson for some or all of the 2022 season if it is determined that he violated the league's personal conduct policy.
Per Cleveland.com's Mary Kay Cabot, a statement from NFL spokesperson Brian McCarthy read: "Today's development has no impact on the collectively bargained disciplinary process."
Watson did not play at all last season despite remaining an active member of the Texans roster while the police complaints and civil lawsuits remained active, but the Browns acquired him in hopes of getting the player who was a Pro Bowler in three of his first four seasons.
The Browns essentially spurned incumbent quarterback Baker Mayfield to do so, although the team has yet to trade Mayfield.
If Watson does get suspended, it is possible the Browns could try to convince Mayfield to return and play for them, but the more likely scenario would see former New England Patriots, Indianapolis Colts and Miami Dolphins quarterback Jacoby Brissett take over the starting job after Cleveland signed him as a free agent in March.