Reports: Deshaun Watson met Saints, Panthers; Brown next

FILE PHOTO: NFL: Cincinnati Bengals at Houston Texans
FILE PHOTO: December 27, 2020; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) rolls out of the pocket during the third quarter at NRG Stadium against the Cincinnati Bengals. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

March 15, 2022

A third team was given permission to meet with quarterback Deshaun Watson. The Cleveland Browns are scheduled to sit down with Watson after Monday night’s meetings with the New Orleans Saints and Carolina Panthers.

Watson’s admirers must be given the green light to meet with the Houston Texans quarterback, but a no-trade clause gives Watson the power to veto either team.

According to multiple reports, Watson met with Saints and Panthers officials in Houston Monday but declined to meet with the Seattle Seahawks.

The Browns have publicly committed for former No. 1 pick Baker Mayfield, who would likely be part of a trade or would have to be dealt to another team should Cleveland reach an agreement with the Texans.

Houston’s trade demands include several first-round picks or equivalent veterans, but the Texans must also overcome the limitations of Watson’s full no-trade clause.

The team’s plan at the position could be in flux depending on the draft haul and the ongoing rating of Davis Mills, who is entering his second NFL season.

Watson played collegially at Clemson and is reportedly the main target of Panthers owner David Tepper. The Saints are also in the mix, but adjusting Watson’s contract below the salary cap could pose a challenge for New Orleans.

A fresh start is coveted by Watson, who did not play last season after demanding a swap. He was inactive every week and faced criminal charges as more than 20 women accused him of sexual misconduct. In notable cases, including the six-game suspension Ben Roethlisberger received in 2010, he could face NFL disciplinary action even without precedent.

Watson, 26, remains the subject of civil complaints despite Friday’s decision by the grand jury in Harris County, Texas, which declined to indict him on nine criminal counts.

“I’ll just keep fighting to rebuild my name and rebuild my image in the community and do what we need to handle on the legal side. But also ready to go out on the field and prepare for it,” Watson said on Friday.

Commissioner Roger Goodell has repeatedly said only that the NFL is closely monitoring events surrounding the Watson case while it conducts its own investigation.

Watson rushed for a career-high 4,823 yards with 33 touchdowns and seven interceptions in 2020 after a landmark $156 million four-year contract extension with the Texans. That deal has yet to go into effect as Watson still had two years to complete his rookie contract, including a fifth-year option standard for first-round picks.

–Field level media Reports: Deshaun Watson met Saints, Panthers; Brown next


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