The Cleveland Browns reportedly expect to be without Deshaun Watson for eight games in the 2022 campaign.
Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk cited a league source and reported that the AFC North team is "bracing for an eight-game suspension" as jointly appointed disciplinary officer Sue L. Robinson reviews materials submitted to her by the NFL and the NFL Players Association.
Florio previously reported "the currently expected range is two to eight games" for the suspension, although the league could then appeal the outcome.
That Watson may not be suspended for a full season echoes a report from Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com stating "there's growing sentiment" he will play during the 2022 campaign.
Both Cabot and Florio noted the NFLPA pointed out some league owners were not suspended for their direct or indirect involvement in sexual misconduct when arguing against a strict punishment for the quarterback.
On Monday, Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports reported Watson and the NFLPA plan to file a lawsuit against the NFL in federal court if he is suspended for an entire season.
Two grand juries declined to indict the Clemson product on criminal charges in March, although that did not remove the possibility of a suspension given the league's personal conduct policy.
Attorney Tony Buzbee announced in June that Watson settled 20 of 24 lawsuits accusing him of sexual assault or misconduct.
The Browns acquired Watson from the Houston Texans via trade this offseason and signed him to a fully guaranteed, $230 million contract extension over five years. They also traded Baker Mayfield to the Carolina Panthers and would likely turn to Jacoby Brissett should Watson be suspended.
Cabot reported the team will look to sign another quarterback as a backup if the suspension is a lengthy one.