For the past few weeks it looked like the Deshaun Watson Sweepstakes were fairly cut and dry. There were two favorites for the 25-year-old’s services that made a whole lot of sense and one longshot that was demanding way too much for what they were offering in return.
Those three squads, coupled with the one team Watson reportedly refused to go to, painted a fairly decent picture of what lay ahead.
This week, all that changed.
According to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports, a new squad has entered the fray.
The Carolina Panthers.
“Carolina is beyond smitten with Watson and owner David Tepper is fairly consumed by the prospect of landing him and no matter what happens with this transcendent young quarterback (and I still believe he is dealt at some point), the Panthers are going to play some role in the process,” he wrote.
“They might not be able to secure him, ultimately, and others clearly possess higher draft capital, but when it comes to Watson, Tepper’s aim is true and their desire is real.”
During an appearance on ESPN’s Get Up! this morning, Torrey Smith went into great detail about why a Watson-to-Carolina deal would make sense for all parties involved.
“David Tepper is a guy who made his billions by being willing to take bold risks,” Smith said.
“You think about being able to trade for Deshaun Watson, why does it make sense? Obviously he’s a top-five quarterback and they don’t just grow on trees. On the other side of that, he went to Clemson. He’s as local as he gets.”
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Despite the Houston Texans posting a 4-12 record for the year, Watson is coming off the best season of his professional career. In 2020 he led the league in total passing yards with 4,823, ranked second in passer rating with 112.4 and yards per game with 301.4, and tied for seventh in touchdowns with 33.
Any team Watson ultimately goes to, he’ll improve dramatically.
Will that squad end up being the Panthers? It is increasingly beginning to look like they have about as good a shot at landing him as any of the other favorites.