NFL rumors: Carolina Panthers owner pushing for Deshaun Watson trade

Jan 12, 2020; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) reacts as he leaves the field following the game against the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Divisional Round playoff football game at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

NFL rumors have been fast and furious as it relates to a potential Deshaun Watson trade from the Houston Texans. That’s despite the fact that Houston continues to refuse trade offers from interested parties following Watson’s trade request.

One latest rumor includes the Carolina Panthers sending a whopping three first-round picks and star running back Christian McCaffrey to Houston for the NFL’s reigning passing champion.

We now have some more information on the Panthers’ reported interest in Deshaun Watson from NFL insider Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports.

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Carolina Panthers owner making push for Deshaun Watson trade

NFL rumors: Carolina Panthers to include Christian McCaffrey in Deshaun Watson trade package?
Sep 29, 2019; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) runs with the ball as Carolina Panthers linebacker Mario Addison (97) defends during the second quarter at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

“(David) Tepper, sources said, is over having to watch his team operate with Cam Newton navigating through injuries, or Kyle Allen trying to display he is more than a lower-tier backup, or Teddy Bridgewater dink-and-dunk and protect the football, with clear limitations as to how bold and adventurous a downfield attack would be,” La Canfora reported (h/t Bleacher Report).

This makes sense. Teddy Bridgewater threw just 15 touchdowns against 11 interceptions in his first season with the Panthers after signing a two-year, $41.91 million contract with the team. He obviously has some physical limitations.

As it relates to Panthers owner David Tepper, his interest in Deshaun Watson can be linked to the billionaire’s past as a Pittsburgh Steelers minority owner.

“Now, entering his fourth season at the helm, and having spent the majority of his time as a Steelers minority investor watching Ben Roethlisberger play the position with abandon and cunning on his way to a Hall of Fame career, Tepper is done with the caretaker, band-aid, we’ll see model of quarterback,” La Canfora continued. “He’s made it clear to those in the organization, and to his confidants around the NFL, that he wants desperately to upgrade into the penthouse of quarterbacks, believing it to be the most critical element to elevating the team to the heights – both in the standings and financially – that he seeks to soar.”

As a source noted in the above report, “Watson is far and away his guy.”

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NFL rumors: How would a Deshaun Watson trade to the Panthers look?

NFL rumors: Deshaun Watson trade to the Panthers for Christian McCaffrey?
Nov 8, 2020; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey (22) scores a touchdown during the game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Carolina was reportedly willing to give up the No. 8 pick and a third-round selection to the Detroit Lions for Matthew Stafford before he was traded to the Los Angeles Rams last month.

It goes without saying that Watson would cost a whole heck of a lot more. That includes at least two first-round picks and multiple players.

Whether Houston would be interested in McCaffrey as one of those players remains to be seen. The team whiffed by acquiring fellow running back David Johnson in the DeAndre Hopkins trade under then head coach and general manager Bill O’Brien last offseason. With that said, McCaffrey is seen as the best all-around running back in the game despite dealing with injuries last season.

Some NFL rumors indicate that the Texans are looking for a young quarterback as part of the package for Watson. Others note that Houston is looking for two young defensive players.

Carolina does not have a young quarterback to offer up. It could entice Houston with a stopgap option in Bridgewater while the Texans exhaust the eighth pick on long-term replacement for Watson. However, that would not necessarily move the needle in trade talks. Realistically, Bridgewater would be nothing more than a throw-in.

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Below, is how a realistic Deshaun Watson trade to the Panthers might look.

NFL rumors: Deshaun Watson trade for Teddy Bridgewater
Nov 15, 2020; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Carolina Panthers quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (5) talks to head coach Matt Rhule and offensive coordinator Joe Brady in the second quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
  • Panthers get: Deshaun Watson
  • Texans get: Eighth pick in 2021, second-round pick in 2021, two future first-round picks, Jeremy Chinn, Teddy Bridgewater and Brian Burns

If Tepper is serious about wanting to add Bridgewater to the mix, he would have to allow new general manager Scott Fitterer to exhaust some capital on defense. That includes two young defenders under team control, both of him boast Pro Bowl upside.

Chinn was tremendous as a rookie and could anchor the Texans’ secondary moving forward. Meanwhile, Burns would be an immediate replacement for the recently-released J.J. Watt.