Deshaun Watson has decided to join Cleveland Browns after all and the team immediately signed him to a massive deal.
A day after ruling out Cleveland as a potential landing spot, the three-time Pro Bowler changed his mind, making the Browns his next squad. The Falcons and Saints were the other suitors remaining but Watson decided the Browns gave him the best chance to win.
Watson quickly issued a reaction via social media, sending a message to the Dawg Pound.
“Cleveland, LETSSSS GOOOO!! #DawgPound Ready To Work!” the QB wrote.
After landing Watson the Browns inked him to a new contract worth $184 million over the first four years of this contract, per Adam Schefter. It’s a $48 million raise over the $136 million he was scheduled to make over the same four years on the previous contract.
“Every dollar of Deshaun Watson’s new five-year, $230 million deal is guaranteed,” Schefter confirmed.
Watson Still Facing Uncertain Future From Allegations
Watson previously requested a trade out of Houston but did not play at all last season amid 22 civil lawsuits and 10 criminal complaints by women alleging sexual assault and misconduct. A grand jury determined March 11 that it would not indict Waston on criminal charges, although he still has civil suits pending. What the NFL will do in terms of a suspension is also a wild card in the situation.
The Browns gave up for three first-round picks, a third-round pick and a fourth-round pick for Watson, also getting a fifth-round pick in return.
The change of heart from Watson was due to the situation Cleveland provided, which was the most win-now of his option, per Aditi Kinkhabwala of NFL Network.
“After initially rebuffing their pitch, Deshaun Watson came back to the Browns this morning and said he’d changed his mind, someone apprised of that exchange tells me,” Kinkhabwala tweeted. “And why the change of heart? He wants to win. And the Browns had the best roster of his suitors.”
Watson Clears Up Baker Mayfield’s Situation After Trade Demand
Watson’s decision now gives the Browns more clarity on Baker Mayfield, who demanded a trade on Thursday following the news that Waston was not coming.
“It’s in the mutual interest of both sides for us to move on,” Mayfield told ESPN. “The relationship is too far fine to mend. It’s in the best interests of both sides to move on.”
Earlier in the week, Mayfield penned a letter to Browns fans amid the drama, explaining his side of the story as general manager Andrew Berry and head coach Kevin Stefanski met with Watson.
“I have no clue what happens next, which is the meaning behind the silence I have had during the duration of this process. I can only control what I can, which is trusting in God’s plan throughout this process,” Mayfield wrote. “I have given this franchise everything I have. That is something I’ve always done at every stage and at every level. And that will not change wherever I take my next snap. Whatever happens…I just want to say thank you to the fans who truly embraced who I am and the mentality that aligned so well with this city’s hard working people.”
The Seahawks and Saints will be likely suitors for Mayfield.