Deshaun Watson Trade Rumors: Panthers Intrigue Texans QB

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistMarch 14, 2021

Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson walks off the field before an NFL football game against the Tennessee Titans Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021, in Houston. Star quarterback Deshaun Watson has requested a trade from the Houston Texans, a person familiar with the move told The Associated Press. The person spoke to the AP on the condition of anonymity Thursday, Jan. 28, 2021, because they weren’t authorized to discuss the request publicly. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)
Eric Christian Smith/Associated Press

There have been long-simmering rumors Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper is determined to acquire Deshaun Watson.

Apparently, the interest is mutual.

ESPN's Jeremy Fowler said Sunday on SportsCenter that the idea of playing in Carolina is "intriguing" for Watson:

"The Carolina Panthers are inclined to big-game hunt for Deshaun Watson, if he's available. Nothing yet, but I'm told Watson himself would at least be intrigued by the option of Carolina. A nice, good, young team. Aggressive owner. Close to his hometown of Gainesville, Georgia. So they would certainly look at that, but they have Teddy Bridgewater as their fallback. I'm told they still like Bridgewater better than say most free agents available. So they'll look hard at the draft; No. 8 overall potentially drafting a guy. Monitor the Watson situation and see if he becomes available. And they'll hold onto Bridgewater at least for the short term and just see what their options are."

Watson requested a trade from the Texans earlier this offseason and has been steadfast in his desire to leave the franchise. He met with new coach David Culley last month and informed the team he has "no intention" of playing for them again, per Dan Graziano of ESPN.

While the Texans have been equally strident in saying they're not moving their star quarterback, Culley hinted that the team may be softening its stance.

“He is our starting quarterback right now,” Culley said on the Huddle and Flow podcast with Steve Wyche and Jim Trotter. “He is our starting quarterback.”

Trotter tweeted that his conversation with Cullely made him "firmly believe" Watson will be traded this offseason.

If the Texans ultimately do wind up trading Watson, it'll likely be a return of historic proportions. A 25-year-old MVP-level quarterback isn't just someone who is traded in the NFL. His departure would likely be among the single greatest hauls of draft picks in league history and also represent a historic failure from the Texans, who drove their star quarterback away with years of mismangement.

The Panthers would instantly provide a star running back in Christian McCaffrey along with two solid wideouts in David Moore and Robby Anderson.