CLEVELAND — The Cleveland Browns' pursuit of Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson appears to be heating up. According to ESPN's Kimberley Martin, members of the Browns organization are set to meet with the three-time Pro Bowl quarterback in Houston on Tuesday as he seeks a potential trade.
The Browns' meeting in the Lone Star State comes just days after Pro Football Network's Aaron Wilson and Cleveland.com's Mary Kay Cabot reported that Cleveland is one of the teams vying for Watson, who will have a say in his destination by way of a no-trade clause. The Carolina Panthers and New Orleans Saints are among the other suitors to have been linked to the Clemson product.
Considered one of the NFL's most talented quarterbacks, the 26-year-old Watson sat out the entirety of the 2021 season after reportedly requesting a trade from Houston, while he was also being investigated for accusations of inappropriate behavior and sexual assault from 22 women. On Friday, a grand jury announced that it would not indict Watson on criminal charges stemming from the allegations, although he still faces civil suits and potential punishment from the NFL. Prior to meeting with the Browns on Tuesday, Watson will answer questions under oath in a deposition regarding the civil suits.
As for Cleveland's current quarterback, Baker Mayfield, Wilson reports that the Browns have "fielded exploratory trade calls from other NFL teams" regarding the fifth-year signal-caller. The No. 1 pick of the 2018 NFL Draft, Mayfield underwent surgery in January to repair the torn labrum in his left shoulder that plagued throughout a disappointing 2021 season.
Speaking to reporters at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis earlier this month, Browns general manager Andrew Berry reaffirmed his commitment to Mayfield as his starting quarterback. Berry, however, didn't rule out the possibility of improving Cleveland's quarterback room as Mayfield enters the final season of his rookie contract.
"We really do look at it as if it's an expansion team," Berry said. "And if we have opportunities to match resources with talent, we do want to continue to add talent to the roster and that applies to every position."