When Texans Pro Bowl QB Deshaun Watson requested a trade out of Houston, many teams thirsty for a signal caller have been rumored to pursue scenarios and possibilities. One of those teams is the Carolina Panthers and rightly so. Teddy Bridgewater may be the starter by default but he is not the Panthers’ long term solution under center. With that being said, Carolina is expected to enter and compete in the Watson sweepstakes. But what will bring the 25-year-old to the Queen City? Here are a few reasons why Watson should want to play for the Panthers.
Sean Ryan, the Panthers’ new quarterback coach, knows Watson very well. He coached Watson in Houston. Ryan also served as the Texans’ wide receivers coach. Under Ryan, Watson has had a great deal of success statistically. During the season, Watson threw for 4,823 passing yards and 36 total touchdowns, and he did so without his favorite target, DeAndre Hopkins who was dealt to the Arizona Cardinals at the beginning of the season. If Watson winds up in Carolina, he’d have a coach who he already have a rapport with and continuity.
For the sake of hypotheticals, let’s just say the Panthers get Watson by giving up the 8th pick in this year’s draft, future picks, and a couple of players. Watson will have deep threat weapons in DJ Moore and Robby Anderson. He will also have a receiving running back in Christian McCaffrey. In free agency, the Panthers could also land an athletic, tight end like the Chargers’ Hunter Henry and the Titans’ Jonnu Smith. After losing Hopkins, a potential lineup of Moore, McCaffrey, Anderson and Smith or Henry, Watson would have more options in Charlotte than he would with most of the teams inquiring.
As shallow as location being a factor is, it doesn’t mean that it’s not a relative reason. As a Panther, Watson would only be a two hour drive on 85 south from his Gainesville, Ga hometown. Not to mention being also close to Clemson, where he won a National Championship five years ago, can help Watson mentally. After a disappointing tenure in Houston, returning where he had success and remember winning could help ease some painful memories of some trying seasons.