The Cleveland Browns acquired quarterback Deshaun Watson in a deal with the Houston Texans, receiving first-round picks in 2022, 2023, and 2024, a third-round pick in 2023, and a fourth-round choice 2024 in exchange.
The Texans will also send the Browns a fifth-round pick in 2024.
The Browns intend to sign Watson to a new five-year, $230 million contract; sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter. He will receive $184 million for the first four years of the new contract — $48 million more than he was expected to receive under his current contract.
Sources said that all $230 million would be guaranteed, setting a record for the highest guarantee given to an NFL player.
Watson will receive a base salary of $1,035,000 in 2022, the source confirmed to ESPN. That’s the amount he would lose per game if The NFL suspends Watson because of allegations of sexual assault and inappropriate behavior made against the quarterback. NFL Network first announced Watson’s base salary in 2022.
In a statement Friday, Texans general manager Nick Caserio believes the Watson trade “was the right move for our organization” as the team rebuilds.
“Our priority is to add talented players to the foundation we’ve already laid over the last 15 months, and this deal supports that plan,” Caserio said. “For the remainder of the offseason, we remain open to all opportunities that will allow us to improve our roster and add to our program.”
The 26-year-old quarterback posted a post on Instagram showing him in a Browns uniform and wrote, “Cleveland, LETSSSSSSSS GOOOOOOOOO!!! #DawgPound Ready To Work!”.
Watson’s move to the Browns opens the door for quarterback Baker Mayfield to find a new team. Mayfield asked for a trade from Cleveland, as he told Schefter earlier this week, but a source earlier told ESPN’s Jake Trotter that the Browns would not grant the request.
The Browns and the Carolina Panthers believed they were out of the deal for Watson, who had also considered a move to the New Orleans Saints and Atlanta Falcons. Brown’s representatives met with Watson Tuesday in Houston.