courtesy @PFF on Twitter

Deshaun Watson traded to Browns despite sexual assault allegations

Cleveland Browns agree to take Watson with his current civil cases, says sports editor Callie Hummel.

With the Cleveland Browns picking up the problem-infected Deshaun Watson, Houston has been given six new draft picks for the first three rounds of the NFL draft.

Watson has been the Brown star quarterback since the Houston Texans picked him in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft. Since then, he has stood out as an excellent quarterback, playing in the Pro Bowl three times and leading the NFL in passing yards for several seasons in the four years he played with Houston.

In March of 2021, his legacy began to become tainted as more and more women came forward saying Watson sexually harassed them, from inappropriate touching to revealing himself to them. One year after the initial accusation, 22 women have come forward, all of them massage therapists whom Watson would book through Instagram.

The public immediately wanted answers from Watson, who continued to claim that all 22 of the cases were “consensual” and prepared to prove his alleged innocence in all civil cases in the near future.

While many teams, including Houston, started to see Watson as a player they didn’t want on their team due to legal problems, the Browns decided to go the complete opposite direction. Watson’s contract with the Texans originally had a no-trade clause in it, but after the legal turmoil, the Texans allowed that clause to be overridden. The Texans had announced they were not going to be playing Watson due to the lawsuits, so they allowed the Browns to take the quarterback. In return, the Texans received three of the Browns’ first-round picks in 2022, 2023 and 2024; one third-round pick in 2023; and two fourth-round picks in 2022 and 2024.

Watson still has rigorous ongoing legal proceedings though, which makes the public curious as to why the Browns were so eager to sign him during it all. The Browns’ owner said the legal team spent a “tremendous amount of time exploring and investigating” along with a “comprehensive evaluation process” due to the “sensitive nature of his position and the complex factors involved.”

This “comprehensive evaluation process” consisted of speaking with Watson directly on his side of things — in which he continued to claim that all 22 women had consented to his actions — talking to “people in Watson’s past” to get a character analysis, and speaking with three female attorneys associated with Watson’s defense team. They decided not to speak with the plaintiff’s attorney in worries that the conversation might go public and include things they didn’t want published.

Stephen Ross, the team owner of the Miami Dolphins, was also looking to acquire Watson. After doing their own investigative work, the Dolphins quickly decided not to put out an offer for Watson. Ross announced that he would not look at Watson again until settlements were made on all 22 cases.

It seems like the Browns have a different opinion on “thorough” as the due diligence they performed on Watson’s background didn’t consist of talking with the women filing suits against him, or anyone on the opposing side.
The research, investigation, and statements from the Browns seem to point to one conclusion: Deshaun Watson is a renowned quarterback who has led the league in the past, and the Browns want to get to the Super Bowl.

Post Author: Callie Hummel