Trading for Deshaun Watson Won’t Help the Carolina Panthers

Deshaun Watson Panthers

Regardless of one’s personal feelings on Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson and his off-the-field issues, his impact as a borderline top-five passer in the league is undeniable. Watson is expected to be dealt by the end of this week.

Enter the Carolina Panthers. A team with consecutive five-win seasons, Carolina is no stranger to adversity. After owner Dave Tepper fired former head coach Ron Rivera, he committed to Matt Rhule. He was so sold on Rhule, in fact, that he gave him a seven-year deal.

So far in his tenure, Rhule has turned everyone off with his bizarre college-style approach to coaching, his bizarre pressers (one in which he compared himself to Jay-Z), and his even more bizarre decisions on and off the field.

What should have been the end of his time in Carolina was the decision to trade for New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold, even giving up a second-round pick in the process. Darnold repaid Rhule’s trust with a disastrous season, one in which Darnold was injured, benched after the team brought back Cam Newton, then thrown back in after Rhule decided he had seen enough of Newton.

[pickup_prop id=”21012″]

Deshaun Watson Is Not the Answer For Carolina Panthers

It should come as no surprise that Carolina is publicly desperate for a franchise quarterback. One poor decision after the other has led them to this point. They’ve made head-scratching trades, such as signing guys in free agency that lasted one year (Haason Reddick) or less (Dan Arnold)? Or even making odd decisions in drafts, such as passing on quarterback Justin Fields for cornerback Jaycee Horn?

Their desperation has ultimately led them to this point. Carolina has patiently waited throughout the process of Watson’s legal proceedings, never once wavering. Now that Watson has avoided being criminally charged, the gloves have come off. The Texans have been fielding calls left and right from teams curious to see what they would have to give up for Watson.

As aforementioned, the final four teams in the running for the young quarterback are the Saints, Browns, Falcons, and Panthers. Carolina has the most generous and eye-popping offer, according to some rumors. Not only are they willing to part with over half a dozen early-round picks, but they’re also reportedly willing to give up two defensive starters on rookie deals.

With all this in mind, there is one thing that some short-sighted people are failing to understand: Deshaun Watson is not going to turn around the Carolina Panthers. Unfortunately for the remaining fans in the Carolinas, some of those people just happen to be in charge of running the Panthers.

Say Goodbye to Valuable Assets

Regardless of who lands Watson, the asking price for the quarterback is astronomical. And why not? How often do teams have a chance to snag a top quarterback who isn’t even 26 years old yet? This is a rarity, perhaps something that will never be seen in the modern-era NFL again. Even though Watson has a no-trade clause, the Texans have all the power here.

Houston’s General Manager, Nick Caserio, has played this perfectly. He has successfully pitted two division rivals in Carolina and New Orleans against each other in their respective attempts to get Watson. In doing so, he’s driven up the asking price even further. This may have turned other teams off, but not Carolina. This is what will get Watson in the black and blue.

For a team like Carolina, however, these assets matter. When a team is not winning, it is difficult to land top free agents. That means the best way to rebuild is through the draft and re-signing impending free agents. Carolina has let Haason Reddick, Donte Jackson, and about a dozen more guys walk in free agency. They don’t have much choice, for two reasons. Number one, their poor decisions have left them strapped for cash. Number two, nobody wants to be in Carolina. The “culture” that Rhule has built is one of losing, negativity, and even in some cases apathy.

There is one more way to bring in talent: overpay. Whether it’s giving a free agent a bigger deal than he’s worth or sending more assets in a deal for a better player, teams that have failed to build a winning culture have to overpay. In overpaying, the Panthers have left themselves in a mess. They have enough cap room to land Watson, but not enough to fix their poor offensive line. They have the picks to send, but will not have them to help rebuild a defense that has lost talent.

Speaking of defensive talent, the Panthers are ready and willing to lose even more in their pursuit for Watson. The Texans have reportedly asked for at least two of the following players: Brian Burns, Derrick Brown, Jaycee Horn, and Jeremy Chinn. All four players are on rookie deals. All four have the potential to become top players at their respective positions. And all four are guys that Carolina had the intention of building this defense around.

Trading for Deshaun Watson Won’t Help

Ignore, for a second, the fact that Carolina is going to be stuck trying to rebuild the rest of the team around Watson for the foreseeable future. Despite avoiding any indictments, the league is sure to send down some form of punishment on Watson.

For the sake of argument, let’s say Watson is given an 8-game suspension. That leaves only nine games he’ll be starting in for a team next season. For a poor team like the Panthers, can they win a game without Watson? Can they even win WITH Watson? They have yet to prove they can perform consistently at any level.

With a lack of incoming talent, combined with the loss of current talent, there is no reason to believe in this current Panthers squad. Even if they are able to trade for Watson and keep him long-term, they will not be going far with this coaching staff.

This is why trading for Deshaun Watson could be a mistake that will set the Panthers back for another decade.

Main photo:
Embed from Getty Images