Deshaun Watson called an audible and the Cleveland Browns were the beneficiaries.
The controversial quarterback had said he did not want to play for the AFC North team. Then, on Friday, he changed his mind and said he would waive his no-trade clause for the Browns.
What followed was a massive deal between Cleveland and the Houston Texans, the team a healthy Watson did not see the field for in 2021.
The NFL Network reported that Watson will also receive a new five-year deal worth $230 million.
The Browns beat out three other teams who also offered a trio of first-round picks to Watson: the Saints, the Panthers and Falcons. The Saints and Panthers met with him on Monday night, and the Saints were believed to have emerged as the frontrunner. He met with the Browns on Tuesday evening in Houston, and the Falcons on Wednesday.
The Browns flew in one of Jimmy Haslam’s private jets to Houston for a meeting that included Haslam, GM Andrew Berry and coach Kevin Stefanski. The Browns made a compelling presentation, one that showcased their new, elite four-time Pro Bowl receiver Amari Cooper, whom they traded for on Saturday. They also spotlighted their excellent defense, running game and offense line.
What will Houston receive in return Watson, who has 22 civil lawsuits in front of him, after a grand jury decided not to indict him on criminal misconduct relating to allegations by massage therapists last week
The Browns send their next three first-round picks to Houston, ub 2022, ’23, and ’24. They will also send a third-rounder in 2023 and a fourth-rounder in 2024 to the Texans and get back a fifth-rounder in 2024.
Watson was a first-round pick out of Clemson in 2017. He has a career mark of 28-25 as a starter but did not play at all in 2021 due to legal concerns.
He has thrown for 14,539 yards with 104 touchdowns and 36 touchdowns in four seasons.
In case anyone was wondering, the Browns play at Houston in 2022.
With the acquisition of Watson, the Browns will accommodate quarterback Baker Mayfield’s wish to be traded.
Mayfield was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft and compiled a 29-30 record in four seasons, including an 11-5 mark in 2020.
Among the teams reportedly most interested in trading for Mayfield are the Indianapolis Colts and Seattle Seahawks.
For the odds on how BetUS sees the trade swinging things in the AFC, click here.