Browns to acquire Deshaun Watson from Texans
Deshaun Watson changed his mind. The Browns have their franchise quarterback, one with some extra heavy baggage.
Watson decided to waive his no-trade clause and the controversial quarterback accepted a trade to Cleveland after previously rejecting the team, a person familiar with the decision told the Associated Press on Friday.
Watson, who didn’t play last season for Houston, had informed the Browns on Thursday that he wasn’t coming. However, he had a change of heart and called the team Friday, said the person who spoke on condition of anonymity because the team has not announced the imminent trade.
The Browns are paying a hefty price for Watson, sending the Texans three first-round draft picks, a third-rounder and one in the fifth for the 26-year-old.
Watson posted a photo on Instagram of him wearing a No. 4 Browns jersey and wrote: “Cleveland, LETSSSS GOOOO!! 😤 #DawgPound Ready To Work!”
Watson will be joining a Cleveland team with plenty of talent, but one that underachieved last season and has been in search of a franchise quarterback for years. The three-time Pro Bowler became a target of the Browns after a grand jury declined to indict him on sexual misconduct claims made by 22 women.
Rumors had the Broncos pursuing quarterback Aaron Rodgers, but Russell Wilson was their target all along and keeping that a secret enabled Denver to complete the deal with Seattle.
Watson is still dealing with civil lawsuits from the women, massage therapists who accused him of assault and harassment. He’s also facing a likely suspension by the NFL for violating the league’s personal conduct policy.
His arrival in Cleveland will likely be met with a backlash by some fans, but the Browns are comfortable with his character after doing their own investigation.
Watson will receive a five-year, $230-million guaranteed contract, according to NFL Network.
The Browns’ public pursuit of Watson angered incumbent starter Baker Mayfield, who requested a trade. Cleveland turned down Mayfield’s demand before learning Watson had agreed to waive his no-trade clause and jump to the AFC North.
Watson had also been courted by Atlanta, Carolina and New Orleans. Cleveland seemed to have the longest odds to get him, but he was intrigued by their talented roster, which includes star defensive end Myles Garrett and running back Nick Chubb.
Cleveland’s pursuit of Watson must have been helped by the team signing free agent wide receiver Amari Cooper last week as well.
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