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Details for the Reported Deshaun Watson Trade, Contract Are Out

Editors note: This story contains accounts of sexual assault. If you or someone you know is a survivor of sexual assault, contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673 or at https://www.rainn.org

A new chapter has begun for Deshaun Watson. 

The quarterback confirmed that he is headed to Cleveland after waiving his no-trade clause, but the Texans and Browns are still working on finalizing the trade details. As of Friday afternoon, it looks like it could be a record-breaking move. 

His new contract will be a five-year, $230 million deal that is fully guaranteed, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. It will set a new record for the largest guaranteed contract in league history.

Per Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer, the Browns receive Watson and a 2024 fifth-round NFL draft pick in the deal. They send the Texans three first-round picks (’22, ’23, ’24), a third-round pick (’23) and a fourth-round pick (’24).

Originally, it was reported that if Watson was traded, the new team would acquire his  four-year deal worth $136 million. It is understood that Watson could still be suspended by the league depending on its investigation, which would void the guarantees in his deal.

An NFL spokesperson told NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport last week, “We have been closely monitoring all developments in the matter which remains under review of the personal conduct policy.”

On Friday morning, ESPN’s David Newton reported that the Panthers were unwilling to guarantee the third and fourth years of Watson’s deal, leading to the quarterback dropping them from the running to land him. The Falcons and Saints were considered the favorites to land Watson before the surprising news of the Browns deal dropped on Friday afternoon.

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Carolina met with Watson on Monday and reportedly made an offer to Houston for Watson on Sunday. The Panthers also aggressively cleared cap space in an attempt to land the quarterback in February ’21, which was before the first civil lawsuit was filed.

The quarterback has not taken a snap since January 2021 but was still paid $10.5 million in the ’21 season. A grand jury recently returned nine “no” bills on nine criminal complaints against the 26-year-old, and the prosecutor said this concluded the criminal proceedings against him in Harris County.

“I'm just going to keep fighting to rebuild my name and rebuild my appearance in the community,” Watson said during his public remarks after hearing the grand jury decision. “And on the legal side handle what we need to handle. But also ready to get on the field, and prep for that.”

Although the quarterback will not face criminal charges, there are still 22 active civil lawsuits that allege sexual harassment and assault. The graphic accounts range from Watson refusing to cover his genitals to forcing women to put his penis in their mouths.

Watson’s attorney, Rusty Hardin, said in a statement after the announcement was made, “Now that the criminal investigations have been completed, we are happy to move forward with the civil case depositions. We will vigorously defend those cases with every ounce we have.”

These civil cases are unrelated to the grand jury proceedings that occurred March 11. As the civil deposition proceedings continue, here’s what has happened on and off the field since Watson’s last snap.

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