Deshaun Watson has made his decision, and he’s staying in the AFC.
Deshaun Watson gets a fully guaranteed 5 year $230M contract. That is $80M more than the previous record for fully guaranteed money at signing ($150M). This deal was negotiated by David Mulugheta of Athletes First. https://t.co/nQls9WRpD1— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 18, 2022
Sources: The #Browns and #Texans are in agreement on a trade for Deshaun Watson. It’s three first-round picks, a third-rounder and late-round pick swap, a fourth for a fifth.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 18, 2022
It’s done. He’s a member of the #Browns.
Watson, of course, is still facing 22 civil lawsuits from massage therapists following allegations of sexual assault and misconduct. That’s why he hasn’t played a down of football since Week 17 of the 2020 season. A grand jury opted not to indict him last week so he will not face criminal charges, and that in effect paved the way for this total frenzy among several NFL teams to get Watson to play for them. There is still a possibility that Watson will be suspended by the league for violating the personal conduct policy, but we’re still a ways from any updates on that front.
Obviously the impending acquisition of Watson by the Browns signals the end of Baker Mayfield as Cleveland’s starting quarterback. A harsh ending for someone who’s only two seasons removed from throwing three touchdown passes in Cleveland’s first playoff win since 1995.
The Seattle Seahawks have been linked to Mayfield according to Josina Anderson. Aaron Wilson says Mayfield is interested in going to either Seattle or the Indianapolis Colts.
I'm told the #Seahawks would 'prefer to add an experienced veteran starting quarterback.'— IG: JosinaAnderson (@JosinaAnderson) March 18, 2022
Inquiry* calls have gone out to the #Falcons about Matt Ryan, Cleveland on Baker Mayfield and others, per league source.
Browns will now work to trade Baker Mayfield. Seahawks, Colts are teams Mayfield would be interested in joining, per a league source— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) March 18, 2022
The Athletic’s Jeff Howe reports that the Colts are the team Mayfield prefers the most, but last I checked Baker doesn’t have a no-trade clause and the Browns can trade him anywhere where there is interest.
My early read is that Mayfield will end up on the Colts and I think he makes the most sense for Indy. But Pete Carroll is a couple of days removed from an endless speech about “second chances” and he may see Mayfield as a second chance QB much the same way he sees Drew Lock. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Seahawks considered him, but I wouldn’t put them on the inside track to get him over the Colts or the Carolina Panthers.