CLEVELAND — The price for Deshaun Watson went up for the Cleveland Browns in 24 hours. Call it football inflation.

Cleveland’s trade for the legally entangled quarterback became official Sunday, when the Browns finalized the complex deal and released statements from owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam explaining their decision to add him to their roster following the team’s own extensive investigation.

A three-time Pro Bowler, Watson has been accused of sexual misconduct by 22 female massage therapists.

The Browns’ announcement also included terms of the deal that turned out to be inaccurate.

On Monday, when the trade hit the NFL transactions wire, the Browns had sent first- and fourth-round draft picks in 2022 (Nos. 13 and 107), first- and third-rounders in 2023 and first- and fourth-rounders in 2024 to the Texans.

In exchange, the Browns got Watson and a sixth-rounder in 2024.


The original deal didn’t include the fourth-round pick this season and had Cleveland getting back a fifth-rounder in ’24.

The team did not provide any reason for the change.

Watson is expected to be in Cleveland later this week for a physical and to be introduced by the Browns at a news conference. Plans are still being finalized by the team, which has received some backlash for their decision to trade for him and give Watson a fully guaranteed $230 million contract.

Watson is scheduled to give depositions the next two days in Houston in the pending civil lawsuits filed by the women who said he sexually abused and harassed them during massage therapy sessions.

The 26-year-old Watson initially told the Browns he wouldn’t waive his no-trade clause to join them before changing his mind. He was intrigued by their stacked roster and enticed by a contract that will pay him an average annual salary of $46 million – second only to the $50 million Green Bay is giving Aaron Rodgers.

Watson is also facing possible discipline from the NFL, which is doing an independent investigation into his behavior.


In the event he’s suspended without pay, Watson won’t have to forfeit as much money because the Browns structured his contract with a base salary of $1.035 million – the league’s minimum for a player with his service time – for next season. If he’s suspended, Watson will lose $57,500 for each game he’s out.

BUCCANEERS: Shortly after completing a visit with the New England Patriots on Monday night, running back Leonard Fournette agreed to terms with the Bucs on a three-year, $21 million contract.

Fournette, 27, had the best overall season of his career in 2021, rushing for 812 yards and eight touchdowns while catching 69 passes for 454 yards and and two scores.

Fournette tweeted last week that he deserved to be paid among the top five running backs in the NFL.

BILLS: The Buffalo Bills restocked their veteran depth at receiver by signing Jamison Crowder to a one-year contract.

The seventh-year player joins the Bills after spending the past three seasons with the AFC East rival New York Jets.


VIKINGS: The Minnesota Vikings and free-agent outside linebacker Za’Darius Smith agreed to terms on a three-year, $42 million contract, giving the team a pass-rushing boost from a player recently let go by their biggest rival.

Smith, who spent the last three seasons with the Green Bay Packers, has incentives to earn up to $47 million over the life of the deal.

FALCONS: Former Georgia football star Lorenzo Carter is returning home to play for the Atlanta Falcons.

Looking to bolster their pass rush, the Falcons announced they have signed the outside linebacker to a one-year contract.

Carter, who grew up in suburban Atlanta, was selected by the New York Giants in the third round of the 2018 NFL draft. The previous season, he starred on Georgia’s team that reached the national championship game before losing to Alabama.

DOLPHINS: Terron Armstead has become the Miami Dolphins’ latest big free-agent move, announcing that he’s joining the team after spending his first nine NFL seasons with the New Orleans Saints.


Armstead instantly becomes the presumed starter at left tackle for the Dolphins, whose offensive line struggled at times last season. His decision came one day after visiting Miami, then leaving without a deal completed.

A person with knowledge of the agreement said Armstead will sign a five-year deal worth nearly $75 million, with about $44 million guaranteed.

Armstead is a three-time Pro Bowl selection – 2018, 2019 and 2020 – but was limited to eight games for the Saints last season while dealing with a knee injury and COVID-19-related issues.

PACKERS: Free-agent defensive tackle Jarran Reed says he’s heading to the Green Bay Packers.

Reed indicated his choice by tweeting, “Let’s gooooo (hash)GoPackGo so thankful for the opportunity to continue my career in Green Bay.” The Packers haven’t announced his addition yet.

Reed played for the Kansas City Chiefs last season.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.