CLEVELAND — In a jaw-dropping turn of events, Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson has decided to waive his no-trade clause and will sign with the Cleveland Browns, a league source confirmed to WEWS and the Associated Press.
While the trade is working to be finalized, a league source said that the deal is expected to include three first-round picks and two additional picks.
Watson, who didn't play last season due to legal problems, will also receive a record-breaking fully guaranteed contract from the Browns—a 5-year $230 million deal, according to sources and the NFL Network.
Watson's decision was first reported by ESPN.
On Thursday, the Browns had been informed that they were out of the running from acquiring Watson and that he would not be interested in waiving his no-trade clause.
However, after additional meetings with the New Orleans Saints and Carolina Panthers and a meeting with the Atalanta Falcons, Watson continued weighing his options, with the Falcons considered front runners at the time.
Following the Browns' meeting with Watson, quarterback Baker Mayfield took to social media and posted an emotional letter thanking the city and fans for supporting him amid his uncertain future.
On Thursday, Mayfield requested a trade from the Browns.
The Browns at the time said that they did not plan to accommodate the request.
Now, with Watson's change of heart and plans to sign with the Browns, Mayfield's request will likely be granted soon, pending a deal to come with another team in need of a quarterback, which may include the Seahawks or Colts.
The Browns had been pursuing Watson, sending top staff including owner Jimmy Haslam, general manager Andrew Berry, and coach Kevin Stefanski to Houston on Tuesday to meet with Watson after the quarterback's deposition.
Watson's deposition comes after a grand jury declined to indict him following a police investigation following the filing of 22 civil lawsuits filed by women alleging sexual misconduct.
Some of the women in the lawsuit allege Watson exposed himself, purposely touched their hands with his genitals, or forcefully tried to kiss them and perform other sexual acts during separate massage sessions.
While the grand jury's decision meant no criminal charges for Watson at the moment, new evidence could be presented to the grand jury to change that as his depositions continue.
In addition to the legal battle ahead of him, Watson also faces possible discipline by the NFL, which could include suspension. That remains to be seen.
Camryn Justice at WEWS first reported this story.