HOUSTON — More than a year after demanding to be traded, Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson is getting his wish.
The Texans announced Friday that they have agreed to trade Watson and a 2024 fifth-round pick to the Cleveland Browns in return for a 2022 first-round pick, a 2023 first-round pick, a 2024 first-round pick, a 2023 third-round pick and a 2024 fourth-round pick.
Texans General Manager Nick Caserio said the following about the deal:
“Earlier today, we agreed to trade Deshaun Watson to the Cleveland Browns. I felt it was the right move for our organization as we head into the new league year focused on building our roster for the 2022 season. Our priority right now is adding talented players to the foundation we have already put in place over the last 15 months and this trade supports that plan. As we navigate through the rest of the offseason, we remain open-minded to all avenues that allow us to improve our roster and add to our program.”
As for Baker Mayfield, who has been the Cleveland quarterback since being drafted out of Oklahoma, the Austin native has asked the Browns for a trade. According to reports, that trade wouldn't be to the Texans.
Before the Texans made it official, Watson himself appeared to confirm the news on Instagram. Meanwhile, we wanted to find out Watson's reaction was on Twitter. That's when we discovered KHOU 11 was blocked.
With his new team, Watson isn't done with NRG Stadium. The Browns are on Houston's home schedule in 2022.
Fans react to Watson news
After we posted this story to our Facebook page, we got plenty of reaction. as of 3:50 p.m., most were ready for the team and Watson to move on.
Ariel L. said, "I'm just glad this drama-filled saga is over. #SeeYa."
Kasi T. agreed, replying "Thank goodness! Bye Felicia."
Others, like Shay D., say he was driven out of Houston, responding, "Move on Sir, We all know they tried to ruin your life."
And Tony S. wished the now-former Texans quarterback well, saying, "Congratulations and good luck on your future endeavors."
You can read more of the comments on our Facebook page.
The news of Watson's deal comes days after a Harris County grand jury declined to indict him on criminal charges of sexual assault or harassment.
Despite being cleared of criminal indictment, Watson still faces 22 civil lawsuits stemming from the allegations.
Watson had been on the trading block since January 2021 when he first requested to be dealt. He had a no-trade clause in his contract meaning he had to approve any move the Texans made involving him.
All along, the Texans have been asking for three first-round picks and two second-round picks in exchange for Watson. And according to Watson’s side, potential offers have been on the table from different teams now for a while.
Watson asked for a trade in January 2021, but that was before he was facing 22 civil lawsuits alleging sexual misconduct. The NFL was also looking into the allegations, as was the FBI, Watson’s attorney, Rusty Hardin, confirms.
Watson was expected to be the franchise quarterback after being drafted in the first round by the Texans in 2017 out of Clemson.
In his career, Watson has thrown for more than 14,539 yards and 104 touchdowns. He led Houston to the AFC division title in 2018 and 2019.
Watson did not play a snap for Houston during the 2021-22 season. When starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor went down with an injury, the team turned to Davis Mills and kept Watson on the list of inactive players.
We are working on this breaking story and will have updates throughout the day.
Here’s a look at some of the key issues surrounding Watson and his future in the NFL.
Are Deshaun Watson’s legal troubles over?
Johna Stallings, chief of the adult sex crimes and trafficking division with the Harris County District Attorney’s Office, said the grand jury’s decision ended criminal proceedings related to Watson in Harris County.
But Watson is still facing separate civil proceedings for lawsuits filed by the 22 women who claim he harassed or assaulted them during massages.
Watson was questioned in a deposition for one of those lawsuits for the first time Friday. Tony Buzbee, who is representing all the women accusing Watson of misconduct, said the process of questioning Watson as the lawsuits move toward trial will continue.
“The civil cases will continue to gather steam,” Buzbee said Friday. “We take Mr. Watson’s deposition again Tuesday. Respect the process.”
No trial date has been set for the lawsuits.
Why did Deshaun Watson sit out last season?
Watson has not been punished by the NFL for these accusations. He asked for a trade in January 2021 more than two months before the first woman came forward and did not play for the Texans last season because of that request.
Watson has not changed his stance on playing in Houston, forcing the team to deal him elsewhere.
Could Deshaun Watson still be disciplined?
Watson could still face punishment from the NFL despite not being charged criminally.
NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said last week that the league is “closely monitoring all developments” and that matter “remains under review of the personal conduct policy.”
A player does not have to be convicted or even charged with a crime to be disciplined under the league’s personal conduct policy.
In 2010, former Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was suspended for six games for violating the policy a week after prosecutors decided not to charge him in a case involving a college student who accused him of sexually assaulting her in a Georgia nightclub. The suspension was reduced to four games after he followed the league’s guidelines and stayed out of trouble over the next few months.
In a letter to Roethlisberger announcing the punishment, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell stated in part that: “The Personal Conduct Policy makes clear that I may impose discipline ‘even where the conduct does not result in conviction of a crime’ as, for example, where the conduct ‘imposes inherent danger to the safety and well-being of another person.’”
Associated Press reporter Juan Lozano contributed to this report.