Despite facing 22 civil lawsuits for alleged sexual assault as well as a potential suspension by the NFL, Deshaun Watson has found a new team. The Cleveland Browns will acquire the quarterback from the Houston Texans in a blockbuster trade that will have a major impact on the entire league.
According to multiple reports, Cleveland will send five draft picks — including three first-round selections — to Houston to acquire the 26-year-old. The Browns will furthermore give him a new five-year contract extension at a fully guaranteed $230 million.
Watson originally entered the NFL as a first-round selection by the Texans in 2017 and quickly proved himself one of the best young passers in football. However, his tenure in Houston came to an unceremonious end: after having started 56 games for the organization and leading it to the playoffs twice, he requested to be traded.
The Texans did not trade him, though, and the emergence of numerous allegations of sexual harassment did not help the situation get resolved. However, when a grand jury decided earlier this month that Watson will not face criminal charges, the door was pushed open for a trade to take place.
Now, it has happened. Watson will waive the no-trade clause in his contract with the Texans to stay in the AFC, while the quarterback carousel will take some massive turns. Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield, for example, is expected to get traded to a non-Texans team soon; how other teams pursuing Watson will be impacted — namely the New Orleans Saints and Atlanta Falcons — remains to be seen.
The trade will also have a minor impact on the New England Patriots. The team is scheduled to play the Browns in Cleveland this season. Whether or not Watson will be allowed to participate in that game remains to be seen.