AP source: Deshaun Watson changes mind, joining Browns

Published 4:15 pm Friday, March 18, 2022

By The Associated Press

Deshaun Watson changed his mind. The Browns have their franchise quarterback, one with some extra heavy baggage.

Watson decided to waive his no-trade clause and the controversial QB accepted a trade to Cleveland after previously rejecting the team, a person familiar with the decision told The Associated Press on Friday.

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Watson, who didn’t play last season for Houston due to legal problems, had informed the Browns on Thursday that he wasn’t coming. However, he had a change of heart and called the team Friday, said the person who spoke on condition of anonymity because the team has not announced the imminent trade.

The Browns are paying a hefty price for Watson, sending the Texans three first-round draft picks, a third-rounder and one in the fifth for the 26-year-old.

Watson will be joining a Cleveland team with plenty of talent, but one that has been in search of a franchise quarterback for years. The three-time Pro Bowler became a target of the Browns after a grand jury declined to indict him on sexual misconduct claims made by 22 women.

His arrival in Cleveland will likely be met with a backlash by some fans, but the Browns are comfortable with his character after doing their own investigation.

Watson will receive a five-year, $230 million guaranteed contract, according to NFL Network.

The Browns’ public pursuit of Watson angered incumbent starter Baker Mayfield, who requested a trade. Cleveland turned down Mayfield’s demand before learning Watson had agreed to waive his no-trade clause and jump to the AFC North.

Watson had also been courted by Atlanta, Carolina and New Orleans. Cleveland seemed to have the longest odds to get him, but he was intrigued by their talented roster, which includes star defensive end Myles Garrett and running back Nick Chubb.