CLEVELAND, Ohio (WCMH) — One day after declining a trade to Cleveland, controversial quarterback Deshaun Watson has reportedly changed his mind and is now willing to be traded to the Browns.
Watson is the subject of 22 lawsuits alleging sexual assault and harassment. He met with the Browns on Wednesday, declined to be traded to Cleveland on Thursday and changed his mind Friday. Shortly after the news broke, he posted an image of himself on Instagram in a Browns uniform.
Adam Schefter of ESPN reported that Watson would receive $184 million over the first four years of a new contract, a $48 million raise of his current deal, and that the entire deal will be guaranteed money — the largest in NFL history. In trade, the Browns reportedly will send three first-round draft picks, plus two others, to the Houston Texans.
Hours after Watson originally turned down the Browns, Cleveland quarterback Baker Mayfield requested a trade. Cleveland’s pursuit of Watson sparked Mayfield to take to social media Tuesday to thank the Browns organization and fans for their support during the first four years of his career.
Led by Cleveland owner Jimmy Haslam, the Browns sent a delegation to Houston on Tuesday and made a presentation hoping to entice Watson, who became a potential option for them after a grand jury declined to indict him last week on sexual misconduct claims brought by 22 women.
Watson was also being pursed by Atlanta, New Orleans and Carolina.
The Browns’ trip triggered a strong reaction from Mayfield. He ended his social media hiatus by posting what read like a goodbye letter on Twitter and Instagram, expressing disappointment and confusion over the situation.
“I have no clue what happens next, which is the meaning behind the silence I have had during the duration of this process,” Mayfield wrote. “I can only control what I can, which is trusting in God’s plan throughout this process.
“I have given this franchise everything I have. That is something I’ve always done at every stage, and at every level. And that will not change wherever I take my next snap.”
Mayfield, the No. 1 overall draft pick in 2018, is under contract for one more season at $18.8 million, the final year of his rookie deal. He’s been eligible for a long-term extension, but the Browns haven’t offered one.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.