May 19, 2024

The Houston Texans finalized a major trade by sending Pro Bowl quarterback Deshaun Watson to the Cleveland Browns, initially seeming like a setback for the team. However, three years later, the Texans find themselves reaping the benefits of the deal. In January 2023, Watson, sidelined due to a season-ending shoulder injury, witnessed his former team dominate the Browns during the Wild Card Round of the playoffs.

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Reflecting on his departure from NRG Stadium, Watson observed fans cheering for the team he once requested a trade from in January 2021, initially appearing detrimental to the Texans. Yet, the assets acquired in the trade have propelled Houston towards championship contention. The blockbuster deal between Houston and Cleveland was finalized during Day 2 of the 2024 NFL Draft, resulting in the Texans selecting cornerback Kamari Lassiter (No. 42 overall) and safety Calen Bullock (No. 78 overall). General manager Nick Caserio and his team focused on maximizing assets to build a competitive future roster.

Caserio emphasized the team’s approach of adding talent regardless of past trades, stating, “We’re just adding football players to the team with the opportunities that we get, regardless of what trade took place.” Notably, key players like reigning Defensive Player of the Year Will Anderson Jr. and second-year receiver Tank Dell were acquired as part of the Watson trade, solidifying the team’s foundation.

While the Texans position themselves for championship contention, the Browns’ experience with Watson hasn’t been as fruitful. Due to injuries and suspension, Watson has yet to complete a full season with the Browns, falling short of the expectations set during his tenure in Houston. In addition to Watson, the Texans also traded a 2024 sixth-round pick to the Browns, which was later included in a trade with the Denver Broncos that secured Jerry Jeudy for the franchise.

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