After seeing Watson’s performance in his first three games, the Panthers were convinced they had to get him. They announced earlier this week that he would be joining Carolina and there was a celebratory parade planned for Thursday night. On Wednesday morning, though (the day before) head coach Ron Rivera came out and said that wouldn’t happen after all because of an injury suffered by Cam Newton during practice on Tuesday afternoon.
The “what team is deshaun watson on” is a question that has been asked a lot recently. The Carolina Panthers have changed their minds about bringing in Deshaun Watson to the team, after it was revealed that he might not be able to play due to his contract with the Houston Texans.
The Carolina Panthers evidently thought they could do better at quarterback than Teddy Bridgewater. However, it’s reasonable to criticize their choice to replace the solid but unspectacular veteran with a rookie signal-caller who failed to meet expectations with the team that selected him third overall in the 2018 NFL Draft.
After all, after a strong start to the season, Sam Darnold has rapidly regressed to the form that led the New York Jets to drop him.
And, as a nightmarish situation unfolds in front of their eyes, the Panthers have changed their minds about acquiring Deshaun Watson, a guy who would bring both star power and controversy to Carolina.
In Carolina, the Sam Darnold experiment has swiftly gone south.
For a Panthers team that hasn’t made the playoffs since 2017, pairing Sam Darnold and Joe Brady felt like a winning formula. However, under Carolina’s second-year offensive coordinator, the notion of the physically talented quarterback becoming a star is no longer a possibility.
Darnold’s chances of becoming even an above-average quarterback look to be worse than they’ve ever been.
After displaying fascinating promise in his first three games as the new offensive leader, the 24-year-old has seen his numbers plummet in October. Darnold’s future in Carolina has been put into question after he threw seven interceptions in his past four appearances (all defeats).
The Panthers put their confidence in someone who hasn’t showed much growth since entering the league, despite the fact that trading for the ex-Jet had promise. However, as a club with serious Super Bowl ambitions, continuing with Darnold may jeopardize any postseason prospects.
The Panthers have had to do a 180 on getting Deshaun Watson due to a terrible circumstance.
Could Deshaun Watson be on his way to Carolina soon, with Sam Darnold struggling? | Getty Images/Al Bello | Getty Images/Rey Del Rio
Any early enthusiasm for a Darnold-centered offense should have evaporated by now. Carolina has greater motivation to investigate alternatives as the sample size grows.
Despite their offseason gambit immediately backfiring, the Panthers have mostly removed themselves from the Deshaun Watson sweepstakes.
Until now, that is.
The Panthers are anticipated to be interested in trade discussions for struggling Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson, according to The Athletic’s Joseph Person.
What compelled them to reconsider?
Darnold’s most recent underwhelming performance, which includes 111 passing yards, one interception, and being benched in favor of former XFL great P.J. Walker, persuaded the front staff that bringing the Houston Texans quarterback to Carolina is a good idea.
Watson has yet to play this season because he is embroiled in 22 civil lawsuits alleging sexual misconduct and assault. However, as the Nov. 2 trade deadline approaches, rumors of a possible move involving one of the NFL’s most gifted quarterbacks continue to circulate.
If the Panthers want to create a team around Watson, they’ll have to pay up.
Could a good trade offer from another club influence the Texans?
Will the Panthers be able to replace Darnold with a three-time Pro Bowler who understands how to play quarterback in the NFL?
It’s easier said than done, however.
With the Texans apparently seeking three first-round selections and two or three other assets, it’s clear that first-year general manager Nick Caserio has his eyes set on securing a large return for a player who has no desire to return to Houston. The Panthers, on the other hand, don’t compare to some of the other clubs who could be interested in dealing for Watson in terms of assets.
The Miami Dolphins have a far superior group of draft selections and players. Tua Tagovailoa and a slew of early-round picks would provide Houston with a young quarterback with promise as well as the funds to improve the squad.
Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Eagles are expected to have three top-10 choices in 2022, making them a strong chance to get Watson.
It will be interesting to watch if Miami, Philadelphia, or Carolina make a deal in the following days. The Panthers have a chance to alter the destiny of their franchise after losing out on Sam Darnold if they are ready to pay the requisite asking price.
That is, assuming another club does not first negotiate a trade for Deshaun Watson.
Pro Football Reference provided all statistics.
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