2021 NFL Rumors: Could Deshaun Watson be traded to the Carolina Panthers?

Seemingly on a daily basis, fresh NFL news and rumors regarding Deshaun Watson and a potential trade emerge. Following the latest reports that Deshaun Watson would be open to a trade to the Carolina Panthers, Miami Dolphins, and New York Jets, Pro Football Network’s Chief Draft Analyst Tony Pauline discussed on the recent Draft Insiders live show the latest news he is hearing regarding the possible destination for Watson.

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2021 NFL Rumors | The Carolina Panthers appear committed to acquiring Deshaun Watson

Pauline began by expressing that Watson is not likely to be on the move immediately. “First thing is that nothing is imminent,” said Pauline. However, there is still plenty of rumors regarding Deshaun Watson, with the Carolina Panthers seemingly one of the frontrunners. Pauline discussed the latest that he is hearing on the show this week.

“Now, the big noise I have heard over the past 24 hours comes from the Carolina Panthers. I spoke with someone last night, and we spoke about Deshaun Watson. This is a person in the know, and they told me that the Panthers will do anything they can to acquire Watson, and they will pay any price to acquire Deshaun Watson.”

While it is no surprise that the Panthers’ coaches would love to add a player of Watson’s quality, it seems the whole organization is on board with potentially acquiring Watson.

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Pauline discussed what he is hearing surrounding the Panthers’ interest in Watson.

“I made a few more calls today and I found out two things. Their new GM Scott Fitterer, who came from the Seattle Seahawks, is on board with trading for Watson. More than anything else, and most importantly is, I was told the owner wants to make it happen. The owner, Tepper, wants to trade and bring Deshaun Watson in.”

David Tepper is someone who goes after what he wants

The potential that owner David Tepper wants the trade to happen somewhat shifts the narrative. Tepper proved last offseason that he is willing to make sure he gets the person he wants to lead his organization.

“Now, let’s remember where we were a little bit more than a year ago. What happened was, Matt Rhule, everyone expected him to be the head coach of the New York Giants. It was a job he coveted; it was a job that the Giants wanted to bring Matt Rhule in. What happens? His first trip was to Carolina. He meets with the owner David Tepper, who, as the famous quote from the Godfather, made him an offer he couldn’t refuse. So Rhule asked out of courtesy, can I make one call to the New York Giants. Rhule called the Giants, and the Giants heard what the package was that Tepper had offered Rhule to coach the Carolina Panthers, and the Giants said thanks but no thanks.”

Having the owner invested in making a trade happen can be extremely important. Getting a trade over the line usually involves getting the blessing from the owner. If the owner is invested in making a trade happen, it is likely much easier for a team to give up that extra pick or player. However, on the show, Pauline cautioned against expectations the Panthers will completely mortgage their future to acquire Watson.

“Two things. I was told that they will pay any price, that doesn’t mean they are going to give away the next six first-round picks. So, you can read into it what you want, but don’t go overly crazy with it.”

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The Houston Texans are not resigned to letting Deshaun Watson leave quite yet

However, all of the news regarding Watson could be for nothing. According to the latest Pauline is hearing, the Texans are not willing to give up having Watson in 2021 quite yet.

“As I have been reporting for a couple of weeks, I heard even earlier today that the Texans are going to do all they can to keep Deshaun Watson. At this point in time, it seems like it may be an uphill battle because the Texans have done a wonderful job of shooting themselves in the foot. But they are still kind of hell-bent, if you will, on keeping Deshaun Watson.”

The Texans are at risk of pricing themselves out of the Deshaun Watson market

The problem for the Texans becomes around whether they are asking too much. Pauline addressed this issue on the show.

“The other thing is, at what point in time do the Texans price themselves out of the market for Watson? Because you are saying that Deshaun Watson is going to cost a lot. But the fact is that there is going to become a point in time where Deshaun Watson is hell-bent on not playing in 2021 because he demands a trade. There is going to have to be some meeting point; that market value is going to come down somewhat.”

If Watson is steadfast that he will not play in 2021, the Texans could find themselves in trouble. Once they start going back to teams to discuss offers they previously declined, the balance of power will shift. Teams will realize that the Texans’ situation has changed and could start stepping back their offers somewhat.

Do not count out the New York Jets

While the latest news surrounding the Panthers’ interest and the desire of Carolina owner David Tepper to trade for Watson, the Jets and Dolphins have not gone away. In the show, Pauline highlighted how the Jets may be willing to make a big move for Watson if the Texans are ready to make a deal.

“The only thing I would say is don’t forget about the New York Jets. Woody Johnson is back in the picture with the New York Jets. He is back in charge. Remember, Woody Johnson’s two biggest moves, or two of his biggest moves as owner, was trading for Brett Favre, and trading for Tim Tebow. They both turned out to be busts. So, I could see Woody Johnson [trading again], with all the cap room the Jets have, if it comes to fruition where they have a chance to bring in Deshaun Watson.”

In other words, Pauline thinks Jets owner Woody Johnson, like Panthers owner David Tepper, could be a strong voice in the room pushing to trade for Watson.

Want more NFL news and analysis beyond Deshaun Watson rumors?

Be sure to follow us on Twitter (@PFN365) to stay up to date with all things around the NFL. Also, continue to visit Pro Football Network for NFL news and in-depth analysis concerning the 2021 season and beyond.

Ben Rolfe is a Senior Managing Editor at Pro Football Network and is also a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA). You can find him on Twitter @BenRolfePFN.

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