The Houston Texans have agreed to trade embattled quarterback Deshaun Watson to the Cleveland Browns, according to Texans General Manager Nick Caserio.
Watson posted an edited picture of himself in a Browns uniform on Instagram Friday with a caption saying, “Cleveland, LETSSSS GOOOO!! #DawgPound Ready To Work!”
Last week, a Harris County grand jury declined to charge Watson over allegations of harassment and sexual misconduct. Watson still faces 22 civil lawsuits, many of them alleging sexual assault and misconduct.
The NFL is also investigating the accusations and if Watson is found to have violated league rules, he likely would be suspended.
“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,” Caserio said in a statement.
According to NFL.com, Watson told the Texans he is willing to waive his no-trade clause for the move and will reportedly receive a five-year, fully guaranteed $230 million contract from the Browns. It would be the highest guaranteed money given to a NFL player, according to ESPN.
The Texans said they were sending Watson and a fifth-round pick in 2024 to the Browns for a first-round pick in the next three drafts, a 2023 third-round pick and a 2024 fourth-round selection.
“Any transaction would have no effect on the NFL’s ongoing and comprehensive investigation of the serious allegations against Deshaun Watson,” NFL spokesperson Brian McCarthy said in a statement. “Nor would it affect his status under the Collective Bargaining Agreement and the Personal Conduct Policy.
“If the league’s investigation determines that Watson violated the Personal Conduct Policy, discipline may be imposed pursuant to the policy and the CBA.”
Texans Chief Executive Officer Cal McNair said the team made a decision that is best in both the short and long term.
“We’re confident in our plan to build a championship program that can sustain success and our entire organization is excited to move forward together,” he said.
CNN has reached out to the Browns for comment.
On Thursday, NFL.com and ESPN both reported that current Browns starting quarterback Baker Mayfield requested a trade from the team. NFL.com’s report added that the Browns did not plan to honor Mayfield’s trade request.
After a grand jury declined to indict Watson, the quarterback told reporters in Houston that he was ready to get back on the field.
“It’s definitely a very emotional moment for me. I know we’re far from being done of handling what we need to handle (legally),” Watson said. “I thank my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, for letting the truth be heard.”
Watson is an NFL superstar, having been selected for three Pro Bowls in his five seasons with the Houston Texans. He did not play during the 2021 season because of investigations into the allegations.
The Browns will travel to Houston to play the Texans next season. The date and time of the game have not been set.