CLEVELAND (WJW)– A day after the Cleveland Browns were apparently out of the running for Deshaun Watson, the embattled Houston Texans quarterback had a change of heart.
ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter reported Watson decided he wants to play for the Browns. According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, he will waive his no-trade clause for a guaranteed 5-year, $230 million contract with Cleveland.
The Houston Texans confirmed on Twitter that they agreed to trade Watson to the Browns.
Watson posted an image of himself wearing a No. 4 Cleveland jersey on his verified Instagram account. It had the caption, “Cleveland, LETSSSS GOOO!! #DawgPound Ready To Work!”
The Texans got three first-round picks, a third-round pick and a four-round pick in exchange for Watson and a fifth-round pick, Rapoport said.
General Manager Nick Caserio released the following statement about the trade:
“Earlier today, we agreed to trade Deshaun Watson to the Cleveland Browns. I felt it was the right move for our organization as we head into the new league year focused on building our roster for the 2022 season. Our priority right now is adding talented players to the foundation we have already put in place over the last 15 months and this trade supports that plan. As we navigate through the rest of the offseason, we remain open-minded to all avenues that allow us to improve our roster and add to our program.”
The 26-year-old agreed to meet with the Browns, Saints, Panthers and Falcons. Cleveland representatives, likely owner Jimmy Haslam, general manager Andrew Berry and head coach Kevin Stefanski, flew to Houston to speak with the QB on Tuesday.
Just last week, a grand jury declined to indict Watson following lawsuits from 22 women who accused him of sexual assault and harassment. One woman alleged Watson forced her to perform oral sex, while others accused him of exposing himself and touching them with his genitals.
Watson requested a trade from the Texans in March 2021 and Houston police began their investigation the next month.
League spokesman Brian McCarthy told NFL Network the trade has no effect on its “ongoing and comprehensive investigations against Deshaun Watson.”
Watson, the 12th pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, sat out the 2021 season. The year prior, he threw for nearly 5,000 yards, 33 touchdowns and seven interceptions. He was the 12th-rated quarterback in the league.
Amid the Browns meeting with Watson, quarterback Baker Mayfield tweeted a “thank you” letter to fans and requested a trade from Cleveland.
“The past 4 years have been nothing short of truly life changing since I heard my name called in the draft to go to Cleveland. This is not a message with hidden meaning. This is is strictly to thank the city of Cleveland for embracing my family and me,” Mayfield wrote.