The Browns Land Watson, Give Record Breaking Contract
01:04 GMT 19.03.2022 (Updated: 13:27 GMT 17.10.2022)
© AP Photo / Matt PattersonIn this Dec. 27, 2020, file photo, Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson throws a pass during an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals in Houston. A person familiar with the decision tells AP quarterback Deshaun Watson has changed his mind and will accept a trade to the Cleveland Browns, Friday, March 18, 2022.
© AP Photo / Matt Patterson
The Cleveland Browns are the winners of the Deshaun Watson sweepstakes, but they paid a hefty price to get the quarterback they desired.
According to NFL Network, Watson agreed to waive his no-trade clause for the Cleveland Browns. Watson confirmed the news by posting a picture of himself in a Browns uniform on his Instagram.
The Browns will send the Texans three first round picks, a third round pick in 2023 and a fourth round pick in 2024. The Texans will send the Browns a 2024 fifth round pick in addition to Watson.
The Browns will pay Watson $230 million over five years, all of it guaranteed, a rarity in the NFL. That is the highest guaranteed figure in NFL history.
Trade discussions started after a Texas judged declined to charge Watson for allegation of sexual misconduct. Watson has been accused of sexual assault by multiple massage therapists and is facing 22 civil lawsuits. Regardless of the lack of criminal charges, the NFL may still take action against Watson, and said in a statement that they are still “monitoring all developments in the matter.”
The accusations include Watson rubbing his genitals on women and forcing oral sex.
Watson had asked for a trade in January 2021, just a few months before the allegations first surfaced. The Texans opted not to play him for the entirety of the 2021 season. He made his base salary of $10.54 million last year.
In his last on-field action, Watson was electric. He threw for 4,823 yards, the most in the NFL, along with 33 touchdowns and only seven interceptions. Despite a great individual performance, the Texans struggled, going 4-12 in their first losing season since 2017, the year they drafted Watson.
13 March 2022, 23:22 GMT
It was previously reported that the Browns were out of the running for the beleaguered star quarterback, and that either the Falcons and Saints were the favorites to land Watson. Sometime between last night and this morning, the situation changed.
In an ironic twist, the Browns had an opportunity to draft Watson. The Browns held the no. 12 overall pick, but traded to the Texans for the no. 25 pick and the Texans’ 2018 first round selection. Now, the Browns are sending three first round picks to get the quarterback they could have had then.
The NFL season will kick off on September 8th.