Deshaun Watson was one of the most promising young QBs in the NFL, and the Houston Texans knew what they had in Watson. Watson was the face of the Texans’ franchise, so Houston extended Watson’s contract to make him one of the highest-paid players in NFL history.
Watson has had unprecedented off-the-field issues since that time, and the Texans quickly realized they could not bring Watson back. The Houston front office also knew that, despite the legal issues surrounding Watson, several NFL teams would be eager to acquire the talented QB services.
The QB derby that transpired next was one of the most fascinating trades in NFL history. The Atlanta Falcons, New Orleans Saints, and Cleveland Browns all thought they had a shot at the QB. Initially, it was reported Watson rebuffed the Browns’ interest, but Cleveland didn’t take ‘no’ for an answer and continued their pursuit.
As Atlanta and New Orleans emerged as the frontrunners, Cleveland made another creative approach to Watson and his agent — a new, fully guaranteed contract. The new deal was enough to complete the deal with Watson, and now the Browns and Texans needed to agree on compensation.
Deshaun Watson Trade Details
Houston Texans receive: 2022 first-round pick (13th overall), 2023 first-round pick, 2024 first-round pick, 2022 fourth-round pick, 2023 third-round pick, and a 2024 fourth-round pick.
Cleveland Browns receive: QB Deshaun Watson and a 2024 sixth-round pick.
one year ago today, nick caserio fleeced the Browns in the Deshaun Watson trade 😁 pic.twitter.com/0KrNd07qSQ
— 𝙉𝙖𝙩𝙝𝙖𝙣 ❄️ (@TexansEra) March 18, 2023
Players Involved in Watson Trade
On the front end of the deal, the trade is all about Watson.
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The Browns were desperate for a franchise QB and thought Baker Mayfield had plateaued, so they made the bold move, sending six draft picks to the Texans for the QB.
Why did the Browns trade for Deshaun Watson?
Serious question pic.twitter.com/ebRPLBon9H
— Cameron Magruder (@ScooterMagruder) September 10, 2023
Who Won the Watson Trade?
As with most recent trades, it is too early to tell which team got the better end of the deal. We don’t know what Cleveland has in Watson. Watson hasn’t been the same player he was in Houston, the type of player to lift an entire franchise and put a team on his back.
Watson hasn’t played much football in the last few years, so rust lingers. The longer the rust lingers, the louder the questions will be — people will be asking whether we will ever see the version of Watson we saw in Houston.
— Tyler Johnson (@T_johnson_TJ) March 18, 2023
As for the Texans side, they used the draft capital obtained in the Watson deal to acquire anchors for their offensive and defensive lines. Kenyon Green slides into offensive guard and gives the Texans’ offensive line an identity. Will Anderson Jr. can be a defensive game wrecker.
The Texans had to move on from Watson and did well to get the value they did, so they are winners regardless. Whether the Browns are winners depends on what Watson we get from here on out.