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Report: Panthers Sent Clear Message To Christian McCaffrey

Christian McCaffrey evading a tackle.

CLEVELAND, OH - DECEMBER 09: Christian McCaffrey #22 of the Carolina Panthers carries the ball in front of the defense of Emmanuel Ogbah #90 of the Cleveland Browns during the first quarter at FirstEnergy Stadium on December 9, 2018 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey was the subject of recent rumors suggesting he could be sent to Houston as part of a Deshaun Watson trade.

According to CBS' Jason La Canfora, the Panthers were at one point "willing" to trade McCaffrey and "three high draft picks" for Watson, who has not played all season due to his ongoing lawsuits regarding alleged sexual misconduct. The Panthers have since denied they included McCaffrey in any trade talks, as La Canfora noted.

On Sunday morning, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that Panthers general manager Scott Fitterer and head coach Matt Rhule each called McCaffrey on Friday to assure him that the franchise did not and will not discuss trading him for Watson.

McCaffrey has been sidelined since Week 3 with a hamstring injury.

For what it's worth, Watson would have to waive his no-trade clause in order to be traded to the Panthers anyway. After reports of Watson being traded to the Miami Dolphins reached a fever pitch last week, it now appears the Texans could hold on to the Pro Bowl quarterback.

“Houston Texans are prepared to keep Deshaun Watson past Tuesday’s NFL trade deadline, even as many in the organization would like to deal him and turn the page, per league sources,” Schefter reported on Sunday morning.