Deshaun Watson rumors: Guessing the Panthers ‘aggressive’ trade offer

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The Panthers are reportedly ready to make a big offer for Deshaun Watson. Here’s what Carolina’s trade package could look like. 

The recent news that Deshaun Watson will not be facing criminal charges after a series of sexual assault accusations has immediately heated his trade market up to a boil. The Carolina Panthers are one franchise that is ready to make a big offer to the Texans.

Sources have already told ESPN that the Panthers are prepared to make an “aggressive” offer for the talented quarterback. There’s still uncertainty over whether or not Watson will face league discipline ahead of next year, but Carolina’s done a lot of due diligence regarding the player’s off-the-field issues and are reportedly comfortable with what lies ahead.

The challenge the Panthers face is trying to meet the Texans’ asking price after already giving up valuable draft capital in last year’s disastrous trade to land Sam Darnold. If Carolina is going to bring in Watson to replace Darnold, they’ll need to get creative.

That creativity will largely lie in the inclusion of players to augment the picks required to win the race to land Watson. Carolina has some big-name stars they might be willing to part with to solve their quarterback quandary.

One clever gambit available to the Panthers would be to offer up Christian McCaffrey as the “headline” to any potential Watson trade package. Some officials in Carolina have grown weary of the uber-talented running back’s recent injury issues. Sending him to Houston would allow the Panthers to shed some salary. The Texans could also sell the addition of McCaffrey to their fans as a clear signal that they’re trying to build around Davis Mills right away.

Panthers Get

Deshaun Watson

Texans Get

Christian McCaffrey

Robby Anderson

2022 first-round pick (No. 6)

2023 first-round pick

Another player who could head to Houston is wide receiver Robby Anderson. The Panthers signed him to a nice deal in free agency last offseason, but he was largely anonymous on the field in 2021. He won’t be viewed as a big positive by the Texans but acquiring him would be more proof to the team’s fan base that this deal isn’t all about the future.

Of course, the main thrust of any package has to be big-time draft capital. The Panthers would need to sacrifice their first-round selection this year. Even if McCaffrey is included in the package it’s arguable that the No. 6 overall pick would be the crown jewel heading Houston’s way.

Carolina would also need to offer their 2023 first-round pick to finish off the deal. The general idea here is that the Panthers would give up two actual first-rounders with McCaffrey serving in place of the third first-round pick the Texans would be asking of other teams. Anderson’s inclusion in the deal would be icing on the cake. Time will tell if Houston feels like it can do better than this theoretical offer from the Panthers.

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