Deshaun Watson lands record deal with Cleveland Browns
The Cleveland Browns are set acquire Deshaun Watson after a remarkable change of heart from the Houston Texans quarterback.
Deshaun Watson has agreed to waive his no-trade clause to allow the Houston Texans to deal him to the Cleveland Browns.
Watson had appeared to have narrowed his choices down to the Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints in his search to find a new team as his time with the Texans comes to an end.
The Browns who, along with the Falcons, Saints and Carolina Panthers, had met with Watson, had previously been reported to be out of the running.
However, on Friday ESPN's Adam Schefter and NFL Network each reported that Watson had changed his mind, instead electing to join the Browns, from whom he will receive a record-breaking new contract.
According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, the Browns have agreed to give Watson a fully guaranteed five-year, $230million contract. That figure is $80m more than the previous record for fully guaranteed money at signing.
The Texans, meanwhile, are set to receive five draft picks, including three first-rounders, in exchange for Watson.
Baker Mayfield may leave Browns after Watson trade
Watson's arrival will clear the way for the Browns to move former first-round pick Baker Mayfield, the quarterback who himself this week requested a trade.
The bidding war for Watson came after he was not charged by a grand jury last week after it considered evidence of sexual assault and misconduct allegations against him.
Watson faces 22 civil lawsuits, but jurors did not find enough evidence for criminal proceedings.
He has strenuously denied the accusations since they emerged last year, overshadowing his previous request to be traded away from the Texans.
The 26-year-old did not play a single game in 2021, having led the NFL in passing yards in 2020.
Cleveland will hope he can quickly recapture the form that saw him emerge as one of the league's elite quarterbacks, though there is still the possibility Watson will face disciplinary action from the NFL, which could yet choose to suspend him.