He also reported Watson requested a trade out of Houston, months after signing a four-year, $156 million contract extension.
The Panthers looked to sixth-year quarterback Teddy Bridgewater under center this season. Bridgewater, who hadn't been a full-time starter since a Pro Bowl season in 2015, finished the year with 3,733 yards and 15 touchdowns, with 11 interceptions and a 69.1 completion percentage.
Watson collected a league-leading 4,823 yards with 33 touchdowns and seven interceptions, completing a career-high 70.2 percent of his passes amid Houston's 4-12 campaign.
Rapoport noted the New York Jets, Miami Dolphins and Chicago Bears are interested in Watson, according to NFL.com's Kevin Patra. But the 25-year-old has a no-trade clause in his contract, so he would have to agree on his destination.
Carolina is seemingly a good fit. Watson played collegiately at Clemson, so the Georgia native is familiar with the region. As for the Texans being willing to work with the Panthers, they'd be shipping him to the NFC and wouldn't have to face regular matchups with an AFC South opponent.
With the Panthers, he'd link up with star running back Christian McCaffrey as well as D.J. Moore and Robby Anderson, who both tallied 1,000-yard seasons in 2020.
Panthers general manager Scott Fitterer told reporters that the team "will be in on every deal" regarding Watson.
It would be a huge get for the Panthers, who would be a tough opponent in 2021 with a healthy McCaffrey and Watson under center.