Panthers to make ‘strong run’ at Deshaun Watson if he becomes available

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Tim Weaver
·2 min read
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Sometimes where there’s smoke there’s a fire and the idea of the Carolina Panthers trading for Houston Texans star quarterback Deshaun Watson is starting to get warmer every day. According to a report by David Newton at ESPN, Carolina plans to make a “strong run” at Watson if Houston grants his request for a trade.

This isn’t exactly breaking news. Ian Rapoport at NFL Network reported weeks ago that the Panthers would be “aggressive” trying to acquire Watson.

That said, it does reaffirm the team’s sincere desire to land this one specific player. While Carolina has been in discussions to trade for Matt Stafford and Sam Darnold, everything else we have heard recently indicates that they’re ready to go all in to get Watson.

The engine driving this train is the team’s billionaire owner David Tepper. CBS Sports has been reporting that he is determined to make a splash after three losing seasons in a row and is practically obsessed with Watson.

If that’s true it’s going to make things very interesting in the coming weeks. While there are still other teams who can offer the Texans more (the Dolphins first among them), Tepper’s willingness to sell the farm could change the dynamic enough to make the Panthers the front-runners if Watson does become available.

The pieces may already be moving. This week, the team has made several cost-cutting moves, bringing their salary cap space up to $35 million.

Teddy Bridgewater has also unfollowed the Panthers and many of his teammates on Instagram, which could indicate the front office has already informed him they’re moving in a different direction.

Watson isn’t the only QB Carolina is interested in, of course. Among the top 2021 NFL draft prospects, the team is reported to “love” Ohio State’s Justin Fields and “like” Alabama’s Mac Jones.

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