NFL Trade Rumors: Panthers 'Keeping An Eye' On Texans QB Deshaun Watson

Deshaun Watson on his way to the bench during a timeout
Gettyimages | Jamie Sabau
Football

Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson is one of the NFL players who are frequently mentioned in various trade speculations. When he first demanded a trade in January, the Texans refused to immediately find Watson a new home, saying that they still viewed him as part of their long-term future. However, after multiple lawsuits with allegations of sexual assault and inappropriate behavior were recently filed against him, the Texans have a change of heart about keeping Watson.

Weeks before the 2021 NFL season officially starts, the Texans have begun listening to offers for Watson on the trade market.

Deshaun Watson To Carolina Panthers

Deshaun Watson holding the football
Gettyimages | Carmen Mandato

In the past months, Watson has already been linked to several NFL teams that are in dire need of a major boost at the starting quarterback position. These include the Carolina Panthers. According to Mike Florio of NBC Sports, the Panthers are "quietly" monitoring Watson's situation in Space City.

"Per a league source, the Panthers quietly are keeping an eye on Watson," Florio wrote. "Yes, they traded for Sam Darnold and picked up his 2022 option. Owner David Tepper nevertheless is committed to finding a long-term franchise quarterback. Watson has the skill to become that guy, and Tepper — who made his money buying low and selling high — could be inclined to make a move if Watson’s contract can be secured at a reasonable amount."

Panthers Still Not Sold On Sam Darnold

Sam Darnold passing the ball
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When they acquired him from the New York Jets in exchange for a 2021 sixth-round pick and second- and fourth-round picks in 2022, most people considered Darnold part of the Panthers' long-term plan. However, with their rumored interest in Watson, it seems like the Panthers are still not sold on Darnold as the long-term answer to their starting quarterback position.

Since entering the league in 2018, Darnold is yet to live up to expectations as a third overall pick. If he fails to impress in his first season in Carolina, the Panthers are expected to let him walk away in the 2021 free agency and find a new starting QB on the trade market.

Texans' Asking Price For Deshaun Watson

Deshaun Watson kneeling on the ground
Gettyimages | Carmen Mandato

As of now, the Panthers are yet to address the rumors linking them to Watson, but it wouldn't be a surprise if their trade interest in the Texans' QB is true. Compared to Darnold, Watson is more capable of turning the Panthers from being one of the worst teams into a legitimate playoff contender.

However, it remains unknown how far the Panthers are willing to go to add Watson to their roster. Despite the controversies that he's currently involved in, the Texans' asking price for Watson remains extremely high. In the potential deal involving Watson, Sarah Barshop of ESPN revealed that the Texans are demanding a combination of five high draft picks and starting-caliber players.

Panthers Linked To Another QB On The Trade Market

If the Texans won't lower their asking price for Watson or ends up trading him to another quarterback-needy NFL team, the Panthers would be forced to stick with Darnold or find another answer on the trade market. Luckily, Watson isn't the only player who is rumored to be on Carolina's radar. In his latest Football Morning in America column, NFL insider Peter King of NBC Sports included the Panthers on the list of teams that are expected to express interest in veteran quarterback Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers.

Like Watson in Houston, Rodgers' departure from the Packers seems inevitable. However, the earliest that Rodgers is expected to be available on the trade market is after the 2021 NFL season.