The Deshaun Watson trade saga is coming to an end with a very surprising twist: he will be joining the Cleveland Browns.
After initially being ruled out of the running for Watson, the Houston Texans will ship him off to Cleveland, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. The trade compensation is now finalized, headlined by three first-round picks. Watson waived his no-trade clause to become the Browns' next quarterback.
Sources: The #Browns and #Texans are in agreement on a trade for Deshaun Watson. It’s three first-round picks, a third-rounder and late-round pick swap, a fourth for a fifth.
It’s done. He’s a member of the #Browns.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 18, 2022
Watson's no-trade clause gave him the power to decide his destination. The New Orleans Saints and Atlanta Falcons were believed to be the final options. The Browns were one of the last teams in the mix but were told that they were out of the running on Thursday. They ultimately got back in at the last second and traded for the Texans' star quarterback.
Watson will also receive a new five-year, $230 million contract that is fully guaranteed, per ESPN's Adam Schefter. The Browns shocked the NFL world by trading for him and they will now pivot towards a trade for Baker Mayfield, who requested to be traded away from Cleveland.
The trade market for Watson heated up very quickly after it was decided that he would not receive criminal charges for his nine accusations of sexual misconduct. Although he may still face a suspension for violating the NFL's personal conduct policy, Cleveland will march on with him as the face of the franchise.
Houston, who was on the path for rebuilding after Watson demanded a trade, will now have plenty more assets and the chance to finally move on from the former Clemson star.