Deshaun Watson Makes 'Stunning' Decision On New Team: Report
By Jason Hall
March 18, 2022
Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson has reportedly made his decision on his next NFL destination.
ESPN's Adam Schefter reports Watson has decided that he wants to play for the Cleveland Browns and will waive his no-trade clause once a deal between the Browns and Texans is reached, sources with knowledge of the situation confirmed.
The Browns were initially informed that they were out of the running for Watson on Thursday (March 17), according to multiple reports.
"Deshaun Watson has decided he wants to play for the Cleveland Browns in a stunning change of events, per sources," Schefter tweeted on Friday (March 18). "Watson has informed the Houston Texans that he now is willing to waive the no-trade clause in his contract to be dealt to Cleveland."
Deshaun Watson has decided he wants to play for the Cleveland Browns in a stunning change of events, per sources. Watson has informed the Houston Texans that he now is willing to waive the no-trade clause in his contract to be dealt to Cleveland.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 18, 2022
The Texans are expected to receive "three first-round picks, a third-round pick and potentially a fifth-round pick," Schefter reported, citing league sources.
Browns and Texans still are finalizing official trade compensation for Deshaun Watson, but it is expected to include three first-round picks, a third-round pick and potentially a fifth-round pick, league sources tell ESPN.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 18, 2022
Five picks for Watson.
Schefter reports the Browns will sign Watson to a new deal reported to be worth $184 million over the first four years, with a $48 million raise from the $136 million he was previously set to make over the same four-year span of his contract initially signed with the Texans, equivalent to a $12 million annual raise.
Sources told Schefter that Watson's new five-year deal worth $230 million is fully guaranteed, which would make it the highest guaranteed contract ever given to an NFL player.
Browns are giving Deshaun Watson a new deal, per sources. The $184M over the first four years of this contract is a $48M raise over the $136M he was scheduled to make over the same four years on the previous contract - a $12M a-year raise in that span.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 18, 2022
Watson confirmed his decision to join the Browns in a post shared on his Instagram account.
The Browns will now grant fellow quarterback Baker Mayfield's trade request, which was denied publicly on Thursday after reports that Cleveland was initially informed it was out of the running for Watson.
Last Friday (March 11), the Harris County District Attorney's Office ruled that Watson would not face criminal charges in relation to the accusations.
Hours later, a source told ESPN that the Panthers were exported to make an "aggressive" trade offer for Watson.
The former Clemson standout requested a trade from the Texans prior to the allegations surfacing and later being ruled out of every game during the 2021 season for "non-injury reasons/personal matter," though never specifically being suspended or placed on any reserve list.