Now, most of the league should at least call the Houston Texans about their quarterback, even if the team insists it won't be trading the disgruntled star. However, the Panthers seemingly have more desire than most to make a blockbuster trade happen.
On Wednesday, CBS NFL insider Jason La Canfora wrote that Carolina is "beyond smitten" with the 25-year-old Pro Bowler.
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. 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.
Earlier today, former Panthers wide receiver Torrey Smith discussed on ESPN his reasoning for why a Watson/Panthers pairing makes sense.
“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.”
Several other teams, like the Dolphins and the Jets, have consistently been mentioned as likely suitors for Watson given their significant draft capital and cap space.
However, it is becoming clear that if Watson gets dealt, the Panthers won't let him go somewhere without a fight.