Deshaun Watson Trade Rumors: Panthers Researched QB Extensively Before Darnold Deal

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVApril 6, 2021

HOUSTON, TEXAS - JANUARY 03: Deshaun Watson #4 of the Houston Texans participates in warmups prior to a game against the Tennessee Titans at NRG Stadium on January 03, 2021 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)
Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

Before making a trade for Sam Darnold on Monday, the Carolina Panthers were reportedly considering a deal with the Houston Texans for quarterback Deshaun Watson, according to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle.

"Panthers owner David Tepper and other high-ranking team officials were actively conducting their due diligence on Watson" before the organization decided to go in a new direction, per Wilson.

Watson is currently facing 22 civil lawsuits from women who accused the quarterback of sexual assault and sexual misconduct, per Sarah Barshop of ESPN.

Another woman told Jenny Vrentas of Sports Illustrated about her experience working with Watson as a massage therapist and said the quarterback subjected her to inappropriate behavior.

The Panthers were considered a potential trade destination for Watson before this information came to light, with Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reporting in January they were "in the mix" for the three-time Pro Bowler.

Carolina was clearly looking to upgrade from Teddy Bridgewater, who had just 15 touchdowns and 11 interceptions in 15 starts last season.

The team instead decided to trade for Darnold, giving up a sixth-round pick in the 2021 NFL draft and two picks in the 2022 NFL draft.

Darnold isn't nearly as proven as Watson and is coming off a poor 2020 campaign where he had just a 72.7 quarterback rating for the New York Jets. The 23-year-old still provides the team with a high-upside option under center, trying to turn things around for Carolina after three straight losing seasons.