Another day, another apparent change of heart from the Panthers regarding Deshaun Watson. Fresh off a fourth straight loss in which starting quarterback Sam Darnold was benched, the team appeared primed to pursue the troubled Texans signal-caller via trade, confirming earlier reports from CBS Sports NFL insider Jason La Canfora of Panthers owner David Tepper's interest in Watson. Now, however, with the 2021 trade deadline less than a week away, Carolina is not expected to be in the mix, per CBS Sports NFL senior reporter Jonathan Jones, with Watson, to date, only waiving his no-trade clause for the Miami Dolphins.
It's possible the Panthers would still prefer to be in the Watson sweepstakes, despite the QB facing 22 civil lawsuits alleging sexual assault or misconduct. But as long as Watson refuses to waive his no-trade clause in their favor, any potential deal is off the table. This latest report regarding Carolina's ties to the former Pro Bowler comes a day after the Houston Chronicle indicated the Dolphins and Texans had agreed on the compensation of a deal for Watson, but that Miami would not finalize the deal until Watson's legal issues are resolved.
CBS Sports HQ's Josina Anderson reported Tuesday that Watson is mostly willing to go to any team interested in him -- contrary to indications he's already rejected inquiries from the Eagles, among others -- but "has not been interested in settlements" related to his legal issues. Up to this point, Anderson explained, requests for Watson to sign non-disclosure agreements in order to settle his cases have been "problematic" in resolving the lawsuits.
When asked about Watson at the NFL owners meetings Tuesday, commissioner Roger Goodell said the league does not have enough information or evidence from investigations into Watson to place the QB on the commissioner's exempt list, effectively clearing the way for the former first-round pick to take the field in the event he's traded.