With Houston in a full rebuild, getting as many cracks as possible in the first round is vital to turning the franchise around in relatively short order. Having so many firsts also gives them the flexibility to move freely around the draft board if they identify a replacement for Watson in the future if 2021 third-rounder Davis Mills proves not to be the answer under center.
Of course, the only way this trade is truly a good move by the Texans is if they actually hit on the majority of these picks, which we won’t know for about another decade. Strictly in regards to the haul of picks, however, you can’t find many returns like this in league history.
The Browns get a clear upgrade at quarterback by slotting in Watson over Baker Mayfield, but this move does come with risks. The most immediate is Watson’s off-the-field issues with his outstanding civil lawsuits by 22 different women who allege sexual misconduct or assault. The NFL is still investigating Watson regarding this situation and, when you look at how his new contract is structured, it appears like he is bracing for some type of suspension. Naturally, that’ll hurt Cleveland’s chances to contend out of the gate in 2022 if Watson misses considerable time. Second, the price tag to acquire him is considerable. While the Los Angeles Rams and their mint Lombardi Trophy are proof that draft picks can successfully be thrown to the wayside in pursuit of a title, mortgaging the future for nearly a half-decade of first-round picks will require success quickly. metasports
After Watson announced where he wanted to go, the Texans and Browns took it the rest of the way to complete the deal that is one of the biggest in league history. Houston sent Watson and a 2024 fifth-round pick to the Browns in exchange for first-round picks in 2022, 2023, and 2024 along with a 2023 third-rounder and a 2024 fourth-round selection. Cleveland also inked Watson to a new five-year, $230 million deal that is fully guaranteed.