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Deshaun Watson picks Browns in surprising trade as Texans agree to trade

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Deshaun Watson has made a decision.

In a stunning setback Friday, the Houston Texans’ three-time Pro Bowl quarterback has informed the Cleveland Browns that he wants to play for them and will waive his no-trade clause in a deal, a person with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press. USA TODAY Sports. under condition of anonymity. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the exchange was not yet official.

The Browns and Texans subsequently worked out a trade package in which Houston will receive three first-round picks, as well as a third-round pick and a last-round pick trade, a person with knowledge of the deal told USA TODAY Sports.

Watson later confirmed the news on Instagram, writing, “Cleveland LETSSSS GOOOO! đŸ˜¤ #DawgPound Ready To Work!”

Watson will receive a five-year, $230 million, fully guaranteed contract from the Browns as part of the deal, a person with knowledge of the deal told USA TODAY Sports. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because she was not authorized to disclose the financial terms of the contract. The guarantee breaks the previous record for an NFL contract, which was set by Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen in August 2021 at $150 million.

His base salary for 2022 will be $1 million, which will serve as potential protection against possible suspension from the NFL.

Watson, 26, sat out all of last season amid his trade lawsuit from the Texans and a series of allegations of sexual misconduct during massage therapy sessions, including 22 civil lawsuits. A grand jury last Friday opted not to indict Watson in any of the nine criminal complaints against him.

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Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) before an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons, Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019, in Houston.

By Monday, several teams had lined up as suitors for the quarterback, who has a no-trade clause in his contract, allowing him to deny any destination he doesn’t like. The Browns, Carolina Panthers, New Orleans Saints and Atlanta Falcons met with Watson this week, and the Saints met with him for the second time on Wednesday. His camp informed the Browns Thursday that they were no longer under consideration, a person familiar with the situation told USA TODAY Sports. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because she was not authorized to release details about the Watson process.

However, by Friday, Watson had apparently changed course.

Watson could still face a suspension from the NFL under the league’s personal conduct policy, and the 22 civil lawsuits are still pending.

The Browns’ pursuit of Watson led quarterback Baker Mayfield to request a trade from the team Thursday, when it appeared the team was out of the running for the signal-caller’s services.

“It’s in the mutual interest of both parties that we move forward,” Mayfield told ESPN. “The relationship is too far along to repair. It’s in both parties’ best interest to move on.”

The Browns initially made it clear they would not agree to Mayfield’s request, a person with knowledge of the situation told USA TODAY Sports. However, with Watson in the fold, the former No. 1 pick, and his fully guaranteed salary of $18.858 million, it would seem superfluous for Cleveland.

Mayfield is not expected to be part of the trade with the Texans, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported, and would instead be moved in a separate deal.

Watson will face his former team sometime in 2022, when the Texans are scheduled to host the Browns.

Collaboration: Jori Epstein

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Deshaun Watson trade: Browns are Texans’ quarterback pick in surprising trade

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