The Carolina Panthers have been mentioned in the rumor mill as a team that could be in the mix for disgruntled Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson.
Over the last week or so, we have spent time looking over the possibility of the Panthers acquiring Watson, what it would take to get him, and so on. Today, I'm just going to lay it all out there and say if the Panthers are serious about wanting to become a Super Bowl contender within the next four-five years, this deal has to be made.
The crowd that doesn't want to trade RB Christian McCaffrey or several first-round picks doesn't quite understand the logic behind a proposed trade of such matter.
Why give up McCaffrey you may ask?
Well, as good of a player as he is, he can not take you to the promised land by himself, he needs to have a legit quarterback as most teams do. Since entering the league, McCaffrey has been on one playoff team. If I'm Scott Fitterer, I'd rather have my franchise QB of the next ten or so years and Mike Davis at running back than Christian McCaffrey with average quarterback play.
Why be willing to give up multiple first-rounders?
Does it really matter? I mean, let's be honest. The moment those picks are traded for a player like Deshaun Watson, the value of those picks drops significantly. Right now, those picks could be viewed as top 10-top 15 picks but with Watson at the helm, you're going to win more games meaning those picks are not worth as much as they seem. The following quote from Fitterer's introductory press conference further proves my point.
"When you look at the draft when you build the board, there's a certain level of player that stops at about 16, 17, or 18. So, once we're picking at 25, we know we're not going to get those guys that are going to come in and be impact players. We don't see a big difference between 25 and 40 at that point, so we can move back, acquire picks and still get the same caliber of player that fits our team."
Is there going to be a quarterback in the next four drafts that can match the level of production that Deshaun Watson can give you? Maybe, but it seems very unlikely. By acquiring Watson, you know what you have and what you're going to get from him. Drafting a young quarterback will likely mean a couple of more losing seasons ahead in which the Panthers are still in full rebuild mode.
There's no question about it, if they want to pull this trade off, they're going to have to give up the No. 8 pick. If the Texans want two additional first-round picks, you do it. Two of three first-round picks aren't going to hold as much value as this year's No. 8.
Are three first-round picks plus Christian McCaffrey too much? No, it's not. Again, look at the projected value of the picks and the average longevity of a running back in the NFL. Getting the quarterback position right has to be the number one goal for this coaching staff and front office. Once you have that, you can build everything else around him.
The only roadblock that could pop up is Watson has a no-trade clause in his contract, which basically allows him to choose where he can and can't be traded to. If the Panthers and Texans are willing to make a deal, Watson has to give the approval.
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