NFL

Deshaun Watson gets Stefanski backing after completing Cleveland Browns trade

By Sports Desk March 20, 2022

Kevin Stefanski is confident the Cleveland Browns have done their homework on Deshaun Watson after the quarterback's trade was confirmed on Sunday.

Watson agreed to waive his no-trade clause to allow the Houston Texans to deal him to the Browns.

The 26-year-old seemed to have narrowed down his options to join either the Atlanta Falcons or the New Orleans Saints, but is instead bound for Cleveland. Houston will receive a first-round pick for this year, 2023 and 2024, along with a third-round pick for 2023 and a fourth-round selection for 2024.

A bidding war for Watson materialised when he was not charged by a grand jury earlier this month, after it considered evidence of sexual assault and misconduct allegations against him.

Watson faces 22 civil lawsuits, but the grand jury did not find enough evidence for criminal proceedings. He has strenuously denied the accusations since they emerged last year, overshadowing his previous request to be traded away from the Texans.

According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, the Browns have agreed to give Watson a fully guaranteed five-year, $230million contract. That figure is $80m more than the previous record for fully guaranteed money at signing.

Browns head coach Stefanski believes Watson will be a shrewd acquisition.

Stefanski said: "Our organisation did a tremendous amount of background on DeShaun.

"We understand the concerns and questions that exist but are confident in the extensive work Andrew [Berry, executive vice-president of football operations and general manager] and his staff have done to feel confident about him joining our organisation.

"It was important for us to meet with Deshaun in person as part of our team's evaluation process, we had a candid conversation regarding his approach to coming into our organisation and community.

"I'm looking forward to the opportunity to coach Deshaun, he is ready to put in the hard work needed to help our team improve and make a positive impact in our community."

The 26-year-old Watson did not play a single game in 2021, having led the NFL in passing yards in 2020.

The Browns also confirmed on Sunday that Case Keenum has been traded to the Buffalo Bills for a 2022 seventh-round pick.

Watson's arrival will clear the way for the Browns to move former first-round pick Baker Mayfield, who has requested a trade.

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