Panthers Planning Big Deshaun Watson Push

Previously linked to a Deshaun Watson pursuit, the Panthers appear prepared to pry the superstar passer from the Texans. If the Texans make Watson available, Panthers owner David Tepper is “fixed on” the prospect of landing him in a trade, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports notes.

After seeing the Panthers limited at quarterback during his short tenure in power, the Carolina owner wants to see the franchise acquire a game-changing talent at this position. The Panthers are “beyond smitten” with Watson, with Tepper prepared to do what it takes to land the four-year Houston starter, La Canfora adds.

The Panthers do not have the extra 2021 first-round pick that would help them in such a deal, putting them at a disadvantage compared to the Dolphins and Jets, but JLC indicates the Tepper-run franchise would be prepared to offer its next three first-rounders and possibly young players if that is what it required to acquire Watson. If nothing else, the Panthers appear prepared to make other Watson suitors bid highly to land him.

While the Texans have yet to make Watson available, the quarterback is dug in on his stance to leave Houston. The Panthers join the Broncos and 49ers as teams preparing for a Watson run, but thus far, Carolina’s reported level of interest surpasses that of Denver or San Francisco. The Jets and Dolphins have also been linked to Watson, who has Miami and San Francisco atop his destination list. It is unclear how the 25-year-old QB feels about Carolina, but he is not expected to be veto-happy with his no-trade clause and did have a rather notable college career in the region. The Panthers are also set to move their practice facility to South Carolina, the state in which Watson won a national championship while at Clemson.

The Panthers offered Teddy Bridgewater and their No. 8 overall pick in a deal for Matthew Stafford, giving more credence to the idea Tepper is seeking an immediate upgrade at quarterback. But Watson is “far and away” the player the owner covets, according to La Canfora. The Texans, should they grant their passer’s trade request, would certainly prefer to ship him to the NFC. But it is unclear at this point what the Jets and/or Dolphins would offer. It sounds like those teams will have to surrender plenty to outbid the Panthers.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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54 comments on “Panthers Planning Big Deshaun Watson Push

  1. bobsnoot

    My guess that Carolina will offer: Derrick brown, pick #8, two 2nd rounders, two 3rd rounders for Watson and a 7th rounder

    • CamFrost

      And the Texans should decline that. But you never know what those clowns will accept.

        • CamFrost

          I know they need picks. They need more 1st rounders than that. Getting, likely, two late 2’s and 3’s isn’t cutting it when you’re going to receive a young franchise QB.

    • I Beg To Differ

      Any offer the Texans receive most likely needs to meet the following criteria:

      1. Picks over players. They’re devoid of picks this year and trading Watson means they’re rebuilding. They’ve got so many holes to fill their best bet is to trade back and accumulate draft picks.

      2. Clearing cap room. Watson to Carolina most likely means Bridgewater is coming back. As opposed to Darold or Tua Bridgewater takes up cap room. Cap is going down due to covid. So keeping your cap space clear next couple seasons is almost a must since owners don’t know when they’ll have full attendance back.

      3. The deal has to beat the #2 or #3 pick from the Jets or Dolphins, if that’s on the table, which probably is.

    • joeyrocafella

      I’m thinking they offer the 3 first round picks plus CMC and Teddy

    • ruckus727

      This isn’t too far off. But still a bit short in my opinion. I do believe Houston will trade him to an NFC team. I think Carolina could get together a competitive offer. Not a niners fan but I got a hunch something involving Jimmy G, Nick Bosa, and a few high picks could move front and center. I know Miami and the Jets have more picks but I believe Houston will insist on both high picks and high end players with a strong preference for the NFC.

  2. CamFrost

    Cal McNair and Jack Easterby are currently vetting the entire Panthers roster to see who the most devoted Christians are to ask for in a deal.

  3. Appalachian_Outlaw

    Panthers fans, if Houston asked for CMC and multiple picks, would you be mad if Carolina did it?

    • fathead0507

      Be mad if Houston took another RB when Carolina clearly has some young defensive players that Houston needs more than a RB clogging 18mill yr on a team that won’t be competing

    • joeyrocafella

      As a Panthers fan, yes, but I would understand the long term need. CMC and all RBs have a much shorter shelf-life that QBs, so as much as it would hurt to see CMC leave, it would possibly benefit the team in the long-run

    • keath

      I don’t care about losing CMC, personally, because RBs are not as highly valued positionally or difficult to replace, scheme-wise, as they once were. But I wouldn’t be over-the-moon just because of what I’ve laid out below RE: how losing the draft picks impacts our ability to shore up the O-Line, which any QB – including Watson – will desperately need to success at the highest level.

  4. Tatsumaki

    Most likely 3 first including this years #8 teddy bridgewater and 2 seconds or 2 thirds.

  5. jacobsigel1025

    Watson for Bridgewater, Mike Davis, #8, 2 future firsts, and two day 3 picks,

    • keath

      Davis is a FA, and why would Houston want Bridgewater on that contract? I mean, it is Houston so bear with me… but if I were the GM I’d laugh at any proposal to offload him to me with that $.

  6. crosseyedlemon

    Unless I’m mistaken the Panthers already have a franchise face and strong team leader in Big Mac. Adding Watson would be very costly and create a division within the team.

  7. LazingLeopard

    Watson will be a Dolphin if they’re interested. Starting a deal with Tua and the no. 3 overall pick is too much value to make up for a Carolina or Denver type when you consider the Dolphins likely either add no. 18 overall or next years first, plus a high 2nd this year and more in totality.

  8. arty!

    ‘but JLC indicates the Tepper-run franchise would be prepared to offer its next three first-rounders and possibly young players if that is what it required to acquire Watson’

    How do you win giving up that much? How does that make Watson better? Are you trying to win ‘selling the most jersey’s’ award or a super bowl? Basic questions.

    • crosseyedlemon

      Players are required to pass drug tests but owners are never required to pass intelligence tests.

      • arty!

        The owners always win. Even poor ole Mark Davis is a winner. By far, the brokest billionaire ever. How many stories have we read how the ‘poor ole Raiders’ just can’t compete financially?

        • Classicfinder

          Raiders are over the cap so that is just silly. Anyways, Trump is the brokest billionaire ever.

          • Ak185

            Davis isn’t a billionaire, at least officially. Arty is correct, the Raiders are regarded as the team with the “poorest” owner, but that’s why they have the same salary cap as the Panthers and David Tepper.

    • LazingLeopard

      Sure would be ill advised. My point was and is, even if the Panthers wanted to go down the likely wrong road, they would be at the mercy of the Dolphins passing on Watson.

      This years no. 3, 18 and 35 plus the 2020 5th pick in the draft on a rookie contract would be much too value to realistically surmount.

  9. WSnotAstros2017

    I myself would pretty much want this over. Do I blame Watson no. I want him happy but still want something to help us and the best that can help us. We will be rebuilding this year and probably next. I really think Watson is done here. Even if Cal says otherwise unless have missed something
    But I put blame on Cal and Easterby if anything.

    • arty!

      Ownership & management caused this mess. Watson could have not signed the extension preventing such a media storm, but he did and we get to read and comment about it all offseason!

  10. Classicfinder

    Houston needs to move on at this point. They have already poisoned the well. Start over. Take Bridgewater as a stop gap and draft who is left at 8. Also grab an additional 3rd this year followed by 1st and 3rds for the next two seasons. Somebody will pay up in the end, but the Texans will still suck after whatever they get due to management.

  11. IAmAFan

    Panthers don’t have any good trade pieces, might as well use that 1st round pick to get a QB if they are looking for one.

  12. martevious

    Houston needs to declare the bidding open on Watson. That’s the way they will maximize their return for him. Lots of teams want him.
    But their management us dumb, so who knows what they’ll do.
    Most likely they will be terrible for years to come.

  13. keath

    I love Watson. Would love to have him. But there are more than just one or two problems with all this.

    1. Panthers’ O-line is absolutely terrible, and even Deshaun Watson – however much of an immediate upgrade he is at the position – can’t unilaterally overcome that very serious problem (see: most recent SB for how important that is).

    2. Can’t sustainably build the O-line without picks, which is what they’d obviously have to unload in beaucoup quantities to get him. FAs can’t solve this problem, for a number of reasons – not least of which the best ones, that are in their primes, don’t typically become available. We get stuck with “names” that can’t perform to yesteryear’s level or can’t stay healthy (or both) instead.

    3. The way this staff/FO treated Cam – who is one of Watson’s good friends and mentors, reportedly – might be an issue. If so, the way they’re treating Bridgewater is potentially compounding this. Not that I think Bridgewater is a franchise-caliber QB, but still. Watson does have a no-trade clause, so would he waive it for potentially suspect public treatment and a not-great supporting cast on the LOS?

    4. Bridgewater. You simply can’t carry two QBs making that much $ on the roster. It’s hard enough to win with a single QB on their post-rookie pay scale, and it’d be absurd for Houston to take Bridgewater as part of this deal. I mean, it is Houston so certainly anything is possible – and a trade with a different team involving Bridgewater could of course manifest, but those are a lot of pieces that have to fall just right to go along with answers for the preceding as well.

    All-in-all, I’d say in the spirit of “nothing is impossible,” that nothing is impossible. In a vacuum, I’d love to have Watson, but as a Panthers fan I just don’t see it happening – and even if it did, I don’t think it solves much in the big picture insofar as the team’s persistent core problems are concerned. This team has neglected shoring up the O-line for going on a decade now, and parting ways with multiple years’ worth of 1st-round picks (and maybe 2nd-rounders to boot) obviously isn’t going to redress that trend. But then, if they were going to continue to fail to properly address the O-line (specifically the LT spot) anyway, what’s the rub I guess?

    • DonOsbourne

      Well stated. I agree with you on every point but one. The Texans should take Bridgewater and his contract. Houston isn’t going anywhere in 2021, but they are going to have to pay someone to play quarterback. Yes, they could select a QB with Carolina’s 8th pick, but would that player be immediately ready to play? And even if they are ready, should Houston take the risk of playing them with weak supporting cast. The ghost of David Carr still haunts them. The safer move would be to take on Bridgewater and let him pilot a sinking ship until the guaranteed money runs out on his contract and then move on. I haven’t studied his contract, but we are likely talking after the 2022 season. Even if Caserio knows what he’s doing,( and is allowed to proceed unmolested) 2023 is probably the soonest Houston could hope to compete anyway.

  14. billneftleberg

    If I’m the Jets I don’t want Watson, period. The Jets have too many holes to fill. And Watson on a much deeper team, The Texans, won only 4 games. The Jets are better off trading down to #4 and getting an Extra #1 and to continue building out the roster. I’d take Sewell at 4, to give them an elite offensive line, for 10 years. Darnold had never had a solid line or good players in front of him. Let Saleh build around him for a season. If it doesn’t work you have 3 1sts next year to go after a QB.

    • DonOsbourne

      Agreed. Overpaying for Watson is a bad move for a bad team. The Texans lose leverage every time they insist they have no plans to trade and Watson replies with silence. Players can force their way out if they want it bad enough. Besides, this off-season’s quarterback market proves that competent QB play is not as hard to come by as it once was. Yes, it may take more than competent to beat Mahomes and the Chiefs. However, you have to crawl before you walk and walk before you run. The Jets are in no position to be building a team designed specifically to outduel the Chiefs. A lot can happen between now and the time NY is ready to compete. Andy Reid may retire. Hell even Tom Brady may retire. The Jets should be focused on building a talented 53 man roster, not selling the farm to acquire one piece.

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