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Matthew Stephens
·3 min read
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Respectfully, March 17, hurry the heck up.

And if some form of real-life time acceleration isn’t created within the next three weeks for the new league year to begin, perhaps the Houston Texans could go ahead say they’re open to trading Deshaun Watson?

Enough speculation. Let’s make a move.

It has been seven weeks since reports first surfaced that Watson, the former Clemson quarterback, was unhappy in Houston. Everyone knows by now he wants to be traded. It seems more like a matter of if, rather than when, Houston will allow for that possibility, though there are no guarantees. Should he and his four-year, $156 million contract become available for trade, all but a handful of teams across the NFL have reason to be interested, with the Panthers being one of the most notable (especially for you Panthers Tracks newsletter subscribers).

But should the Panthers give up just about everything of value they have to make way for the 25-year-old quarterback, or should they focus on building pieces around the quarterback first? That’s what columnist Scott Fowler and beat reporter Alaina Getzenberg debated.

Point: Panthers have to do everything to trade for Deshaun Watson, no matter the cost

Fowler, who has covered the Panthers for all 26 years, says it’s ABSOLUTELY worth giving up Christian McCaffrey and first-round draft picks (with an “S”) to land Watson.

Kansas City Chiefs defensive end Frank Clark (55) pressured Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) and eventually got a sack in the third quarter during the AFC divisional playoff game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Houston Texans at Arrowhead Stadium Sunday, Jan. 12, 2020. After being shut out by 24 points, the Chiefs came back to defeat the Texans 51-31.
Kansas City Chiefs defensive end Frank Clark (55) pressured Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) and eventually got a sack in the third quarter during the AFC divisional playoff game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Houston Texans at Arrowhead Stadium Sunday, Jan. 12, 2020. After being shut out by 24 points, the Chiefs came back to defeat the Texans 51-31.

Counterpoint: Panthers are in no place to mortgage their future on Deshaun Watson

Getzenberg has the more level-headed take, saying the Panthers need an offensive line first before they think about signing an expensive franchise quarterback. Multiple starters up front are scheduled to become free agents come March 17.

Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) throws a pass against the Cincinnati Bengals during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 27, 2020, in Houston.
Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) throws a pass against the Cincinnati Bengals during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 27, 2020, in Houston.

In non-Deshaun Watson news (which we promise does still matter) ...

Speaking of NFL free agency, we have you covered with our running story tracking every free agent move Carolina makes. Alaina also analyzed the Panthers’ running back situation behind McCaffrey with Mike Davis set to become a free agent. Mark Ingram? Maybe?

If you’re more interested in the draft than free agency ...

Panthers Tracks Podcast

We like to pump Panthers news straight into your ear holes. We even bought nicer microphones to make our voices more pleasant to listen to as we break down the latest in NFL news as it related to Carolina.

On this week’s episode (Episode 16), Jonathan and Alaina detail what to make of the Panthers clearing up $25 million in salary-cap space. You can listen to (or watch) the episode here, or subscribe for free on your favorite podcast platform.

Carolina Panthers safety Tre Boston, center, celebrates his sack of New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees during first half action at Bank of America Stadium on Sunday, January 3, 2021.
Carolina Panthers safety Tre Boston, center, celebrates his sack of New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees during first half action at Bank of America Stadium on Sunday, January 3, 2021.

Extra reading

OK, it’s not a Panthers story exactly, but did you know that Charlotte FC — owned by Carolina Panthers team owner David Tepper — will have the most expensive entry-level season ticket seat when the team begins play in 2022? Fans are not happy, especially when you compare what it costs to go to a game in Atlanta, so we did a deep dive into the matter, gathering ticket data from 26 other MLS teams to put Charlotte’s situation into context.