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Carolina still eyeing Deshaun Watson trade despite Sam Darnold acquisition

Carolina Panthers, Deshaun Watson, Sam Darnold

Well folks, it looks like the Carolina Panthers are taking this idiom very seriously: the NFL is a quarterback’s league.

Just a year after getting rid of franchise cornerstone Cam Newton and replacing him with arguably the best placeholder in the league in Teddy Bridgewater, Carolina recently managed to leapfrog both the San Fransisco 49ers and Washington Football Team to snag who is set to be their presumptive starter and franchise signal caller, Sam Darnold.  All well and good, yes?

Apparently not quite.

Despite having their hands on a young franchise piece, Carolina might still be in the running for disgruntled Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson. According to longtime NFL writer Peter King, having Darnold might not have cooled the Panthers’ interest in Watson, though odds are low that a deal actually gets done, given Houston’s lofty (some would say rightfully so) demand of future draft picks.

It should also be noted that the Panthers might just be trying to have as much insurance at the position as possible, given Darnold’s expensive contract for such a muddy professional resume thus far. Many agree that his performance on the Jets was largely due to the mismanagement of then head coach Adam Gase and the team’s lack of talent, but Darnold’s decision making has also been largely called into question. This is where the Deshaun Watson rumors come in, as well as speculation that the Panthers might take Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields in this year’s draft if he falls to them.

This is, of course, pending the end of Watson’s ongoing legal issues, which have grinded all trade talk to a halt. Even if he were exonerated of all charges, many teams might be too leery of the proceedings’ weight to deal for him. Ditto for the NFL, who will more likely than not still go through with some internal action on the matter.

But once talks resume, there is a very real chance that Carolina will at least make a call for the superstar quarterback, even if it’s closer to next season.