It was reported recently by NFL insider Albert Breer that the Carolina Panthers offered No. 8 and a late-round pick for former Lions QB Matthew Stafford. Tepper wants his franchise guy, and Fitterer has shown to be aggressive enough to go after high-end talent.
NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport reported that Carolina was a sleeper for the Watson sweepstakes, telling viewers to not count Carolina out. There were further reports linking the Panthers and the 25-year-old superstar when Rhule hired Watson's former QB coach in Sean Ryan. Yet more reports surfacing that the Panthers would be "aggressive" and make a big push for Watson on the trade market. We have the gutsy GM, owner, and coach; the question is, will they have the resources and reasoning for him to waive his no-trade clause? We shall see.
Why would Deshaun want to come to Carolina?
When you look at all the rising stars/superstars at QB, the majority of them come from the AFC. This would include Patrick Mahomes, Lamar Jackson, Justin Herbert, Josh Allen, Baker Mayfield.
The NFC only has Kyler Murray really, plus a few grizzled vets in Rodgers, Brady, and Wilson. With a couple of them expected to retire in the next 2-3 years, Watson could find himself as the most talented QB in the NFC, competing with Mahomes in the Superbowl. There is much more opportunity to win in the NFC at this time than the AFC.
While rumors have spread recently that Watson loves the Jets' new head coach Robert Saleh, and the culture he's bringing, we don't know whether he will succeed in the NFL. Miami has also been a popular team mentioned, whose coach, Brian Flores, has received lots of praise for the team-building he's done to the former bottom-feeders of the AFC East. Matt Rhule and the Panthers have shown the patience to build a championship-caliber team in the next few years.
While the other teams contending for Watson could certainly improve their weaknesses during the draft, the deal to get him would likely include lots of draft picks.
In New York, they do have their franchise left tackle in Mekhi Becton, but haven't really provided weapons for their signal caller. Jamison Crowder is a solid slot option, and Mims showed flashes of promise, but their receiving core would definitely be a downgrade from Houston.
Meanwhile Miami isn't that talented in that area either. They have Devante Parker, who is above average, but nothing special left after that. They're still looking for their long-term answer at running back, and already drafted their QB. I know Tua didn't play up to fan's expectations for him, but they need to take their time to develop him. Not all rookie QBs will be superstars out the gate.
In Carolina, while we have almost no offensive line, we definitely have the weapons around for him to succeed. We have the best running back in the league who also doubles as a slot receiver at times, a rising star in DJ Moore, and another great receiver in Robby Anderson, both of whom surpassed 1,000 yards with Teddy at the helm. While I'm understand that Watson would rather pass from the pocket, we know he is a dynamic playmaker who can operate spectacularly on the run.
We've covered why he'd like to come here, but what would it take? Keep in mind that these are not my suggestions but from other sites and high ranking officials.
Trade Offer #1:
Panthers get: Deshaun Watson
Texans get: No. 8 overall, 2021 2nd round pick, 2022 1st round pick, 2022 4th rounder, Troy Pride Jr
Out of all the scenarios that will list, I think this one will be the most favorable for the Panthers. They only have to give up 2 1st round picks, a 2nd, a 4th, and Troy Pride, who may or may not have a significant role on this team in the future. I think this would be a good test for new GM Scott Fitterer, and would force him to find gems in the later rounds. Though he would be universally liked (probably) if he secured a franchise QB in Watson, it's important that he succeed with the picks he has left.
Trade Offer #2:
Panthers get: Deshaun Watson, 2022 3rd round pick, 2023 4th round pick
Texans get: 8th overall pick, 39th overall pick, 2022 1st round pick, 2023 1st round pick, Teddy Bridgewater
This trade includes picks back for the Panthers along with Deshaun Watson, which is a plus. Fans would be delighted to ship Teddy Bridgewater out of town, where he might serve for a bridge quarterback for Houston. However, Fitterer would have to give up 3 1st round picks plus a 2nd rounder. This trade scenario would have to be based on the assessed value of Watson coming from the Panthers' front office.
Trade Offer #3:
Panthers get: Deshaun Watson
Texans get: Teddy Bridgewater, Donte Jackson, Shaq Thompson, 2021 1st & 2nd, 2022 1st & 2nd
Houston Chronicle writer John McClain said in his recent article that the Texans likely want 2 1st rounders, 2 2nd rounders, and 2 defensive starters. This would be a hard pill to swallow, given the Panthers young but improving defense with stars such as Brian Burns, Derrick Brown, and Jeremy Chinn, just to name a few. I would not be opposed to trading Shaq Thompson, mostly because of his large contract that former-GM Marty Hurney dished out as he was leaving, but Matt Rhule has spoken highly of Shaq and the leadership he displayed this season. Donte Jackson is a no-go for me because of the elite status he showed down the stretch after returning from his nagging turf toe injury. Besides, if we send him out, we won't have anyone left worth starting. Troy Pride has had his moments but not good enough to start yet, and Douglas is set to hit free agency. Again, we'd have to trust the front office to find studs after the 1st two rounds for this trade to go through. I, personally, would not approve of this trade.
There are plenty more trades to be offered, or to ponder, but those are just a few. Do you want Deshaun Watson? What trade offers would you make? Leave comments down below.