Watson has waived the no-trade clause in his contract with the Houston Texans to be traded to the Browns and the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero report the quarterback will get a fully guaranteed five-year deal worth $230m – a record for the most guaranteed money given to a player in a single contract, beating the previous record of $200m.
The Texans have also sent a fifth-round pick to the Browns and will receive three first-round picks, a third-rounder and a fourth in compensation for the 26-year-old.
Watson posted an image of himself in a mocked-up Browns uniform on Instagram, along with the message: “Cleveland, LETSSSS GOOOO!! #DawgPound Ready To Work!”
Texans general manager Nick Caserio said: “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.”
The news comes after Watson had held meetings with the New Orleans Saints, Atlanta Falcons and Carolina Panthers earlier in the week.
Cleveland, along with the Panthers, had initially been informed they were out of the running for Watson, who has now seemingly changed his mind in order to team up with Kevin Stefanski.
Watson’s arrival is meanwhile expected to see Baker Mayfield traded after his request to be moved on had reportedly been rebuffed by the Browns on Thursday.
A Texas grand jury recently declined to indict Watson following accusations of sexual misconduct by 22 women, meaning he will not face criminal charges.