Deshaun Watson made a change of heart. Browns now have a franchise quarterback with extra baggage.
Despite the sexual misconduct allegations against Watson that were made while he was in Houston, Cleveland will name Watson its starting quarterback, making him the face of the organization and the highest-paid NFL player.
Watson waived his no trade clause and agreed to a trade with the Browns on Friday. This remarkable reversal rocked the NFL, and has changed the trajectory of both organizations.
The Browns went all out to win the Super Bowl by bringing on Watson. They won’t regret making this decision.
The Texans announced they have reached an agreement with the Browns, one out of four teams actively courting Watson this week.
Three-time Pro Bowler, who did not play last season, informed the Browns that he was not coming on Thursday. He had a change in heart and called the Browns on Friday to tell them he was available to start over in Cleveland. This was according to a source who spoke under condition of anonymity due the sensitive nature of the situation.
Watson is being paid a high price by the Browns. The Texans will send Watson and two third-round draft picks to the Browns in the following three years. Houston will ship Watson and a 2024 fifth round pick to Cleveland.
Nick Caserio, general manager of the Texans, stated that he felt the trade was the best move for his team as they head into the new league year. He said that he believes it is the right decision for the organization. “Our priority right away is adding talented players into the foundation we’ve already established over the past 15 months, and this trade supports that plan.”
Watson has yet to be officially welcomed by the Browns, but he posted an Instagram photo of himself wearing a No. He was flexing and wearing a Browns jersey. He wrote: “Cleveland LETSSSS GOOOO!” #DawgPound Is Ready To Work!
He should be content. Watson also received a $230 million guarantee contract for five years, which is a record.
Watson will join a Cleveland team that has a lot of talent but is struggling to win last season (8-9) and has long been looking for a franchise quarterback. After a grand jury refused to indict Watson for sexual misconduct allegations made by 22 women, he became a target for the Browns.
Watson continues to deal with civil lawsuits brought by women and massage therapists, who have accused Watson of harassment and assault. Watson could also be facing suspension from the NFL due to his violation of the league’s personal behavior policy.
The league will continue to investigate Watson’s case despite the trade.
Brian McCarthy, a league spokesperson, stated in an email to AP that any transaction would not have any effect on the ongoing investigation by the NFL into the serious allegations against Deshaun. It would not affect his status under the Collective Bargaining Agreement or the Personal Conduct Policy.
“If Watson is found to have violated the Personal Conduct Policy by the league, then discipline could be imposed in accordance with the CBA and the policy.”
Watson’s arrival is bound to cause a backlash from some fans. However, the Browns are confident in Watson’s character after conducting their own investigation before agreeing to chase him.
Undoubtedly, the team will feel heat and have to answer tough questions about Watson’s off-field problems. The team presented a plan to Watson to help him reshape himself in Houston.
Cleveland has some experience in this area, having signed running back Karem Hunt. He was caught on video pushing a woman while he was playing for Kansas City. Hunt was suspended for eight games by the league in 2019 because of his actions.
Baker Mayfield, the incumbent starter, was upset by Watson’s public pursuit by the Browns. He requested a trade. Cleveland declined Mayfield’s request, but then learned that Watson had waived his no-trade clause to make the jump to AFC North.
Mayfield is likely to be traded in the coming days, and several teams may be interested in signing him. After injuring his left shoulder in Week 2 of last season, Mayfield struggled this year but has proven he is capable of being a good starter since leading the Browns to the 2020 playoffs.
Mayfield could land in Indianapolis, New Orleans, and Seattle.
The Browns were rejected by Watson initially. After that, the team tried to repair their relationship with Watson. This is no longer necessary, as Cleveland will now be welcoming Watson.
New Orleans, Carolina, and Atlanta had all been interested in Watson. Although Cleveland appeared to have the best chance of getting him, Watson was attracted to their talented roster that includes Myles Garrett, a star defensive end, and Nick Chubb, a running back.
The signing of Amari Cooper, a free wide receiver, may have helped Cleveland’s chances to get Watson.
Dee and Jimmy Haslam, Browns owners, have worked tirelessly to find the perfect quarterback throughout their tenure. They tried every avenue possible, including signing veterans free agents and drafting college players like Johnny Manziel, Mayfield and Mayfield. The team was first in 2018 with the best quarterback selection.
Although the Watson trade is a sign of desperation given his legal problems, it gives them an elite player who can match up with Justin Herbert, Josh Allen, Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen.
Watson originally requested that the Texans trade Watson after 2020, but this was before the allegations of sexual misconduct.
The former Clemson star was available for Cleveland to draft in 2017, but he was twice rejected. They didn’t ignore him this time and may have solved the puzzle that has plagued the team since 1999, when it expanded.
Watson’s best season was 2020. He led the league with 4,823 yards of passing and 33 touchdowns.