Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson has made it known that he's looking for a change of scenery this offseason, and more than half the teams in the NFL have reportedly called the Texans about potentially striking a deal for the Pro Bowl quarterback. A couple of teams who are expected to be favorites in the bidding war for Watson are the New York Jets and Miami Dolphins, but is there another team you should keep an eye on? CBS NFL Insider Jonathan Jones says it's the Carolina Panthers.
"The Panthers have been/are/will be very interested in Deshaun Watson," Jones tweeted on Thursday night. "It's not just bluster or sports radio imagination. It's real."
Last offseason, the Panthers inked former New Orleans Saints quarterback Teddy Bridgewater to a three-year deal. His play in 2020 left much to be desired, however, as he threw for 3,733 yards, 15 touchdowns and 11 interceptions while going 4-11 as the starter. With playmakers like Christian McCaffrey, D.J. Moore, Robby Anderson and then Curtis Samuel -- who is looking for a new deal this offseason -- the Panthers could be just a quarterback away from having an elite offense that could contend in what is a very tough division.
Panthers owner David Tepper has been less-than-enthusiastic when asked about his quarterback's play in 2020, and it's possible his new general manager was hired to find Carolina's next starting quarterback. When Scott Fitterer was introduced to reporters last week, he said that Carolina will be looking to add competition under center this offseason, and added that the Panthers "will be in on every deal" after mention of Watson's availability.
The connections between Watson and Carolina are obvious. His hometown of Gainesville, Ga. is a little over three hours away by car and then Clemson, where Watson played his college ball, is just two hours away. As a Tiger, Watson helped Clemson win the College Football National Championship in 2016, and he was a two-time Heisman Trophy finalist. Since Watson does have some say in his next team, you have to think that playing closer to home would be a huge plus, and it doesn't get much closer than Carolina.
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