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When will Peter Harvey issue a ruling on Deshaun Watson?

Twelve days ago, the NFL appealed Judge Sue L. Robinson’s ruling in the Deshaun Watson case. The rules require that the appeal process be expedited. Currently, it doesn’t feel as if appeals officer Peter Harvey is expediting anything.

On Friday, just as the momentum was building for a ruling, credible talk of a potential settlement emerged. Watson reportedly is willing to accept a suspension of eight games and pay a fine in the amount of $5 million. The league presumably won’t slip below 10 games, and the league may want a fine in the range of $10 million — the salary Watson earned in 2021 for not playing.

If a settlement happens, both sides need to explain that the fine converts his absence from money for nothing into nothing from nothing. Although some continue to insist that Watson didn’t play last year for reasons unrelated to his off-field situation, he would have been traded to the Dolphins but for the lingering legal problems. Indeed, he likely would have been traded to someone before the 2021 draft, since it was clear he would not play for the Texans again.

If he pays a $10 million fine, Watson and the league can credibly argue that Watson actually served an unpaid suspension for all of last season. With 10 games in 2022 on top of that, this may placate those who would argue that the league was too lenient with Watson.

Regardless, if there’s a window currently open for a settlement, at some point it will close. At some point, Harvey needs to issue a ruling. It’s hard to imagine the situation lingering much longer.