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Revisiting Deshaun Watson trade as Browns take on Texans in Wild Card Round

Cleveland and Houston will forever be linked because of the blockbuster trade involving Watson. We look back at the details, his contract and how it’s gone so far.

Deshaun Watson #4 of the Cleveland Browns looks on during the second half against the New York Jets at Cleveland Browns Stadium on December 28, 2023 in Cleveland, Ohio. Photo by Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images

The Cleveland Browns made the blockbuster move to acquire quarterback Deshaun Watson from the Houston Texans in ahead of the 2022 season. The Browns gave up several first-round draft picks in the deal. Not only did Cleveland trade a lot of draft capital for Watson, but they also inked him to a huge contract extension.

Watson has now been with Cleveland for two seasons and has played a total of 12 games. He has thrown for 2,217 yards with 14 touchdowns and nine interceptions. Watson dealt with injuries in 2023, but still, when he played, he did not look good. This caused questions to arise if he should remain the team’s quarterback, especially with the season turnaround with Joe Flacco under center.

Let’s take a look two years later and see how this trade has affected the Browns and Texans.

Revisiting Deshaun Watson trade

Trade Details

From Cleveland:

2022 first-round pick
2023 first-round pick
2024 first-round pick
2023 third-round pick
2024 fourth-round pick

From Houston:

QB Deshaun Watson
2024 fifth-round pick

Contract

In the 2022 offseason, the Browns signed the quarterback to a five-year, $230 million contract. Notably, all $230 million was fully guaranteed, the highest amount in NFL history. Watson’s cap hit jumps to $63.977 million in 2024 and remains that for three years. Even if the Browns wanted to move on from him, with the contract being fully guaranteed, they would eat every penny of the deal.

How has deal gone for Browns, Texans so far?

Cleveland

At the moment, this trade has not begun to pay off for Cleveland. They do still have the 2024 5th-round pick to look forward to, but that’s it. The team hasn’t even had to try to work around his cap hit, which will grow exponentially next season. Watson has dealt with a suspension and injuries, but still there are 42 quarterbacks with more passing yards than him in the last two regular seasons.

Houston

The trade has worked out for Houston, especially with the suspension, injuries and enormous contract for Watson. The Texans used the 2022 first-round pick on guard Kenyon Green. They moved back in the draft with the Philadelphia Eagles and, through a series of other moves, turned the Browns’ pick into Green, John Metchie III, Christian Harris, Dameon Pierce and Thomas Booker.

Houston drafted C.J. Stroud at No. 2 in 2023 and then made a shocking move back up with Cleveland’s pick in a package for No. 3, where they drafted Will Anderson Jr. Through more creative picks, they were also able to draft Tank Dell, Brandon Hill and Xavier Hutchinson.

They still have a first and third-round pick to make in the upcoming 2024 NFL Draft to complete the package for Watson.