Panthers quit NFL trade deadline interest in Deshaun Watson, sources say

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Panthers owner David Tepper remained interested in Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson until the NFL trade deadline, according to several sources who have been in close contact with him, but talks are on point. dead and now appear to have ended for a seasonal movie.

A source close to the team’s thought said on Saturday, after CBS Sports first reported the Panthers’ continued negotiations with Houston, that Tepper and the Panthers had no plans to sue Watson until the trade deadline and that they had not included Christian McCaffrey in any business conversation. .

League sources told CBS Sports this week that the teams resumed talks early last week, but were unable to agree on the parameters of a deal. Houston’s asking price for the quarterback, who is being paid by the Texans not to play this season as he faces 22 sexual assault or sexual misconduct lawsuits, remains too high for the Panthers (as well as the Dolphins), although there is an expectation within the industry that could change by Tuesday, which would be Houston’s last chance to offload the player before the 2022 league year begins in March. .

The Texans held off five or six key plays for Watson, including at least three first-round picks. No one has encountered this so far. League sources said the Panthers at the time were ready to part ways with three high picks and All-Pro running back McCaffrey in a package for Watson; the Texans are very high on several of the Panthers’ young defensive stars (still on their rookie contracts and younger and cheaper than McCaffrey), and the teams haven’t been able to find a compromise.

The Panthers have more proven young talent than the Dolphins, another factor that could lead them, and not Miami, to land Watson. Panthers executive Steven Drummond is very close to Texans chief executive Jack Easterby, the Texans would rather ship Watson to the NFC, all other things being equal, and Tepper’s motivation to land Watson should not be overlooked . He has made it clear throughout his organization for some time that he covets the Texans QB franchise, he seeks to expand the Panthers as a regional brand deeper into South Carolina and believes the addition of star players from Clemson could help with this cause.

The decision to acquire former Jets top pick Sam Darnold has already died down – Darnold quickly returned to his slow start and happy turnover and was benched in Week 7 –And Tepper’s frustration with the inability to find stability at the quarterback, let alone high-end production, is high after four straight losses this weekend.

“The only reason he hasn’t got Watson yet is because the price is too high,” said a source with direct knowledge of the situation. “That’s it. He wanted it for a long time.”

Another source familiar with the situation said: “It’s a type of hedge fund. It reads the markets and looks for value. All you heard last week is that the Panthers are out of the question. . Of course they are. He will be back on Tuesday. Nothing is over until the deadline has passed. “

Suffice it to say, NFL circles have a strong expectation that the Panthers will be among those who will talk to the Texans until the deadline. Given Watson’s legal issues, the complexity of such a trade, as well as Watson’s uncertain status as a player this season and beyond, many general managers have long assumed that Watson would not be dealt with until 2022. And that could very well be the case. But there are still parties interested with the issue which reached its climax earlier this week.


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