The Houston Texans are officially listening to offers for star quarterback Deshaun Watson. Earlier this offseason, lawsuits were filed against Watson for sexual harassment. To this day, all 22 lawsuits are still pending and it does not appear that he will be appearing in a courtroom anytime soon.
Despite the ongoing legal issues, Watson plans to play this season as he will be participating in Houston's training camp.
According to Chris Mortensen of ESPN, the price tag still remains high for teams that may show interest in trading for the 25-year-old quarterback. Some also believe that three 1st round picks must be included in any deal involving Watson.
When the Watson rumors first began months ago, the Panthers were one of the several teams that showed interest. That, however, began to slowly fade away as more and more allegations came out surrounding Watson's name. Although nothing has changed on the legal side, what has changed is the Texans' stance on keeping/trading Watson. Now that they are open to listening to offers, should the Panthers re-enter the conversation?
If we are solely basing it off of pure talent alone, Watson would be a massive upgrade at quarterback over Sam Darnold. Heck, Watson would be a massive upgrade for a lot of teams but it's deeper than football. Not only does the team that trades for Watson have to be willing to give up a heavy draft haul but also cognizant of where the off-the-field issues stand and the potential consequences he could face if proven guilty.
It's hard to not have interest in a player like Watson but there is just too much baggage and too many unknowns surrounding his situation. Matt Rhule is trying to build a winning culture both on and off the field at Carolina. Bringing in Watson could create unwanted drama surrounding both him and the organization. To me, the moment when GM Scott Fitterer exercised the 5th-year option on Sam Darnold's contract, signified to me that they are willing to ride with Darnold over the next two years and let him run the offense. Of course, he is not as talented as Watson but he is still very young. Darnold is 23 and has never had a chance to be successful in the NFL. With guys like Christian McCaffrey, DJ Moore, Robby Anderson, Joe Brady, and Matt Rhule surrounding him on the field and on the sidelines, he finally has a strong supporting cast.
If I'm Scott Fitterer, I'm keeping my draft picks, I'm keeping my young stars, and I'm letting Sam Darnold have a chance to prove he can be the starting quarterback in Carolina for years to come. If he fails, so be it. At least you keep your future in tact by not trading an absurd amount of picks or special talents like Brian Burns, Christian McCaffrey, Jeremy Chinn, or others.
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