Why the Panthers should be first in line to trade for Texans QB Deshaun Watson

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Mark Lane
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Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson isn’t going anywhere. He has a no-trade clause, and general manager Nick Caserio would be making a career-ending move right off the bat by getting rid of a franchise quarterback.

However, if the situation with Watson and the Texans becomes irreconcilable, the Carolina Panthers need to be the first team to get on the phone with the Texans and present an offer.

From Watson’s perspective, while he is a winner and can elevate the play of his teammates around him, are the Miami Dolphins really a great fit for him? Would he be able to fix the New York Jets or just blend in with the losing? Those teams may have the draft haul that would help the Texans, but they wouldn’t be helping Watson.

The Panthers have plenty to offer Watson.

Location is a big one as the three-time Pro Bowler would be two-and-a-half hours from Clemson and four hours from Atlanta — or an hour by flight. Watson would have all of his support networks from his journey into the NFL all nearby with Dabo Swinney in Clemson and his family in the Atlanta area.

Speaking of Clemson, the Tigers fans in that area would support the Panthers in a way they probably never have since the franchise’s 1995 inception.

While Watson would have two bright coaches to work with in coach Matt Rhule and offensive coordinator Joe Brady, he would have a familiar element from his time in Houston and an assistant key in his development in Sean Ryan, who will be the Panthers’ new quarterbacks coach in 2021.

In a Dec. 27, 2018, meeting with the Houston media, Ryan explained what his process with Watson is like on the sidelines.

“All we do between series, whether it’s me and him, OB (Bill O’Brien) and him, whoever is with him, it’s all about the football,” Ryan said. “It’s all about what we see how the game is going at that time, where our plan is taking us next and how we’re going to attack the opponent, what we feel like they’re doing to us and how we’re going to handle it. It’s all of that. It’s never time to panic, it’s always calm. Just talking about where we’re going from here.”

None of the other 31 teams can off that type of chemistry with Watson.

In order to get the former 2017 first-round pick, it would cost Carolina. The club would have to look at giving up a bevy of premium picks, including two first-rounders, or balancing out picks with players, possibly running back Christian McCaffrey.

The Texans still have a coaching hire to make, and that may be enough to get Watson happy again. However, if the Texans blow it, the Panthers need to strongly consider a huge upgrade at quarterback.