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Deshaun Watson Trade Rumors: Panthers Not in the Mix for Texans QB amid Dolphins Buzz

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVOctober 21, 2021

AP Photo/Justin Rex_file

The Carolina Panthers reportedly are "not in the mix" for Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson, according to Joseph Person of The Athletic.

Watson has been on the trade block since early in the offseason and the Miami Dolphins could reportedly get a deal done this week, per John McClain of the Houston Chronicle. Jeff Howe and Aaron Reiss of The Athletic later reported the Panthers and Philadelphia Eagles were among other teams to discuss a potential trade.

Panthers coach Matt Rhule shut down those rumors Thursday while defending current starter Sam Darnold.

"I believe Sam is going to be a great quarterback for the Carolina Panthers," Rhule told reporters. "I haven't done any work on anybody else. I'm bought in on Sam."

Person reported the Panthers did have talks with the Texans about Watson, although the discussions were "not considered substantial."

Carolina acquired Darnold in an offseason trade with the New York Jets, but the 2018 No. 3 overall draft pick has been up-and-down so far in 2021. The quarterback had three passing touchdowns, three rushing touchdowns and just one interception during the team's 3-0 start, but he has thrown six interceptions to four passing touchdowns over the current 0-3 slide.

The Panthers have one of the top defenses in the NFL this season, currently ranked sixth in points allowed and third in yards allowed, but the quarterback play has held the team back.

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Watson could be an upgrade as a three-time Pro Bowler through four NFL seasons. The 26-year-old led the NFL with 4,823 passing yards in 2020, adding 33 touchdowns with only seven interceptions.

However, the Texans star has been inactive to start the 2021 season following 22 lawsuits and 10 criminal complaints from women accusing him of sexual assault or misconduct. The NFL is also investigating the allegations, and Watson could be placed on the commissioner's exempt list if a team that trades for him wants to play him. He could also be suspended under the league's personal conduct policy when the NFL completes its investigation. 

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