How often does a franchise quarterback come within your grasp? Unless a late-round draft diamond like Lamar Jackson or Russel Wilson falls into your lap, you pretty much have to either be really really bad and get a top pick, or trade away a stash of picks or players.
With news of Deshaun Watson possibly being on the move, Carolina is a team that has been rumored to be interested.
The Panthers should absolutely listen to the Texans if the rumors are true. Coming off a 5-11 season with inconsistent play from quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and bringing in free-agent quarterback Dewayne Haskins, Coach Matt Rhule is letting it be known that the Panthers are not satisfied in the area.
Carolina showed promise last year – losing multiple games by single digits, most of those with the ball in Bridgewater’s hands to take a lead or tie. But at what cost would Watson be enough or too much for a Panthers team that isn’t far away from being competitive in the NFC?
Here are a few scenarios of what the Panthers might have to give up in the Watson sweepstakes:
A few articles and polls floating around are mentioning the possibility of sending three first-round picks for Watson. Again, not often are franchise signal callers available, but would you really send away your future for the now? Some say yes…whatever it takes to get him to South Mint Street.
Watson could turn those into late first-round picks and return the Panthers to their winning ways, but with the needs at several positions, giving up that much might not be the smartest thing to do for the new front office. New GM Scott Fitterer comes from Seattle. He knows a franchise quarterback can get you to the promise land and keep you in the playoffs year in and year out.
Many think that Carolina will have to also go to the roster to land Watson. Some names that are floating around are Shaq Thompson, Derrick Brown, and even Christian McCaffery. Now….would you trade your franchise running back for a franchise quarterback? Some say whatever it takes.
Fellow running back Mike Davis was able to produce over 1,000 yards this past season in place of McCaffery, who missed most of the season due to injuries. Also, the Panthers have not been successful recently with CMC in the lineup. Is that his fault? No. But the numbers are something to keep in mind.
What Would I Do?
Thankfully I’m not the GM, but I have been a fan from day one and hate seeing the franchise in this situation again. With that being said, we see what an elite playmaker can do for a team with Carolina’s previous success with a healthy Cam Newton. I think if it’s possible to mix both options it should be done, but I’m not willing to give up CMC.
A Watson-McCaffery backfield would put the Panthers’ offense towards the top in the league, with a young defense that showed promise as the season progressed. Those draft picks could be the final pieces needed to complete this roster (LT, G, CB). So while keying in on one area, you can’t neglect the others. I’d give up two first rounders, a future second rounder and add Teddy Bridgewater in for good measure.
But if Waston is available, Fitterer and company should be all ears.