The Panthers’ pursuit of Deshaun Watson is no joke. Owner David Tepper is “obsessed” with finding a long-term quarterback solution this offseason, according to a well-placed source who spoke with Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated.
The Panthers thought they found their QB one year ago when they inked Teddy Bridgewater to a three-year, $63MM deal. They already have buyer’s remorse. Bridgewater showed his age and injury history last year, prompting the Panthers to look elsewhere. Of course, there’s still the matter of his contract — the Panthers are already locked in for $10MM in guaranteed base money this year. And, if Bridgewater remains on the roster, he’ll earn his full $17MM base salary, plus $1MM total in workout and per-game bonuses.
Tepper’s desire to upgrade could lead them to a Watson deal, even though it would be costly in terms of dollars and draft capital. The other option would be to trade up from the No. 8 overall pick to land one of this year’s top quarterbacks. Similar to the Broncos, the Panthers are in on Watson, though they were never all that keen on Carson Wentz. That’s a sign that the Panthers are looking to land a superstar, rather than a bridge QB (no pun intended).
It’s worth noting that the Panthers recently carved out significant cap space, with help from center Matt Paradis. That extra coin could give them the room necessary to land Watson and untangle themselves from Bridgewater.
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