CLEVELAND — As it turns out, the Cleveland Browns' pursuit of Deshaun Watson wasn't over just yet. According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, the Houston Texans quarterback has waived his no-trade clause in order to join the Browns.
Shortly after news of Watson's willingness to waive his no-trade clause was first reported, Cleveland and Houston agreed to a blockbuster trade, with the Browns sending the Texans three first-round picks (2022-2024), a 2023 third-round pick and a 2024 fourth-round pick in exchange for the three-time Pro Bowl quarterback and a 2024 fifth-round pick. According to Schefter, Watson will sign a fully guaranteed five-year, $230 million contract with the Browns, setting a new record for the most guaranteed money in an NFL contract.
The Texans were the first to officially confirm the deal on Friday evening.
Taking to Instagram on Friday afternoon, Watson confirmed the news of the trade by posting a picture of himself photoshopped in a Browns uniform.
"Cleveland, LETSSSS GOOOO!!" he wrote. "#DawgPound Ready To Work!"
The shocking turn of events comes one day after Cleveland was reportedly informed that it was out of the running for Watson, who has been meeting with suitors throughout the week. In addition to the Browns, the 2020 passing leader had met with the New Orleans Saints, Atlanta Falcons and Carolina Panthers prior to choosing Cleveland on Friday.
Considered one of the NFL's most talented quarterbacks, the 26-year-old Watson sat out the entirety of the 2021 season after requesting a trade from Houston, while he was also being investigated for accusations of inappropriate behavior and sexual assault from 22 women. Last Friday, a grand jury announced that it would not indict Watson on criminal charges stemming from the allegations, although he still faces civil suits and potential punishment from the NFL.
News of Watson's willingness to come to Cleveland caps a week that also saw the Browns' current quarterback, Baker Mayfield, request a trade from the team amid their public recruitment of the former Clemson star. The Browns had initially rejected Mayfield's request for a trade, but will now look to deal the No. 1 pick of the 2018 NFL Draft.
The Texans had originally selected Watson with the No. 12 pick of the 2017 NFL Draft -- a pick they acquired in a draft day trade with Cleveland.