A Carolina Panthers, Deshaun Watson Trade Feels Inevitable

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After two years of the Matt Rhule Era, the Carolina Panthers are no closer to finding their next franchise quarterback than they were when they first released Cam Newton. This isn’t for lack of trying, as the team has aggressively brought in several options throughout the years. However, reading between the lines, it looks as though the Panthers will be making a heavy push for Deshaun Watson. 

Signs Point Towards Carolina Panthers Heavily Pursuing Deshaun Watson

It goes without saying that the Carolina Panthers are in desperate need of a new quarterback. The Sam Darnold experiment blew up in their face, and Matt Rhule is probably all out of leniency. If he doesn’t turn the team around in Year 3, he’ll probably be looking for a new job after the 2022 season. 

Darnold is under contract for another season, but nobody wants to see him under center in Week 1. Deshaun Watson might not be a great human being, but NFL teams have proven time and time again that they will overlook character flaws if the talent is there. There is no doubt about Watson’s talent, and all signs indicate that the Panthers will do everything they can to get him in Carolina. 

Recently, the team requested to interview Pep Hamilton for the vacant offensive coordinator position. This is relevant because Hamilton spent 2021 with the Houston Texans and reportedly has a good connection with Watson. The quarterback wouldn’t waive his no-trade clause for Carolina, so this could be a case of the Panthers trying to make Carolina seem like a friendlier landing spot. 

With that in mind, John McClain of The Houston Chronicle tweeted that he thinks Bill O’Brien and Deshaun Watson should be reunited in Carolina. For those that are unfamiliar with his work, McClain is perhaps the most reliable reporter in Houston, and he wouldn’t tweet something like that if he didn’t think it was a real possibility. 

Carolina Won’t Be Alone

Of course, the Panthers won’t be the only team in the running for Watson’s services. He is a great quarterback and, even with all the legal issues, will still have a heavy market. However, there is reason to believe that the Carolina Panthers will be able to outbid everyone for Watson’s services. 

For one, the team has not been shy about giving up resources to secure their future under center. Since Rhule joined the organization, the Panthers gave out massive contracts to Teddy Bridgewater and Cam Newton while also trading three picks for Sam Darnold. Obviously, none of those moves worked out, but the fact that they were this aggressive for three fringe starters shows that they’ll do whatever it takes to secure a proven commodity at the position. 

Additionally, history shows that the Panthers always had the biggest interest in acquiring Watson. Back in December, Pro Football Talk reported that the Panthers were the only team that would’ve traded for Watson without a civil suit settlement. Ultimately, the trade didn’t go down because wouldn’t waive his no-trade clause, but this shows that the Panthers clearly want Watson a little bit more than the rest of the league. 

If Hamilton or O’Brien end up becoming the offensive coordinator, then perhaps Watson wavies his no-trade clause. Assuming that happens, the Panthers would probably be willing to give up whatever it takes to secure the rights to one of the better young quarterbacks in the league.

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