Deshaun Watson was acquired by the Cleveland Browns via trade from the Houston Texans during the 2022 NFL offseason.
The move sparked a certain amount of controversy as Watson sat out the entire 2021 NFL season while dealing with legal issues.
He was ultimately excused from facing any criminal charges after a grand jury decided there wasn't enough evidence to proceed. However, Deshaun Watson is still facing 22 civil lawsuits that are currently unresolved.
Despite the pending cases, the Browns organization decided to proceed with the trade anyway, confidently backing the superstar quarterback. On March 25, Watson held his highly anticipated introductory press conference with the Cleveland Browns.
As expected, he will face many uncomfortable and difficult questions about his current legal situation. The Browns organization would also be expected to answer similar questions.
Somewhat shockingly, Browns owners Jimmy and Dee Haslam weren't present at the press conference to answer questions.
They claim to currently be out of the country on a previous obligation, which is why they chose not to attend the press conference. The Haslam's decision was a bit strange given the magnitude and controversial nature of the trade.
Rather than Jimmy and Dee Haslam joining their new quarterback and face of their franchise, they instead sent just general manager Andrew Berry and head coach Kevin Stefanski to sit on the podium with Watson. The Haslams followed up with a separate press conference of their own via Zoom shortly following the main one.
The Browns organization explained that they looked deeply into the entire situation over the past five months before determining Deshaun Watson was a suitable option. They came to the conclusion that they believed in him and his character enough to proceed with the trade while fully supporting his process of recovery.
What did the Browns give up to acquire Deshaun Watson?
The Browns gave up a massive package of draft picks to acquire their new quarterback, including three first-rounders, one third-rounder and two fourth-rounders. They received Watson and a sixth-rounder when the trade was made official.
In addition to the blockbuster deal, the Browns offered Deshaun Watson a brand new contract, making him the highest paid NFL player of all time. The deal includes a record-setting 230 million dollars of fully guaranteed money over the next five years.