2021 NFL Mock Draft: Free agency flips first round projections
The Texans may not want to trade Deshuan Watson, but expect the Carolina Panthers to do everything possible to test Houston’s resolve.
The Panthers haven’t made any secret of their desire to make a headline-grabbing move this offseason. It’s safe to say trading for Deshaun Watson would qualify as just the sort of transaction Carolina owner David Tepper has been looking for.
Of course, the Panthers need to convince the Texans it’s in their best interest to move on from the superstar quarterback. Houston isn’t going to move Watson unless they receive a massive haul in exchange for his services. That begs the obvious question of what Carolina should give up to bring Watson to Charlotte.
The short answer to that question is “whatever is required.” A more nuanced answer means the Panthers will need to part with a mountain of draft capital as the foundation of any Watson deal. Three first rounders seem like an absolute requirement for Carolina. That might strike some fans as a heavy price to pay, but there’s nothing more important in the modern NFL than getting things right at the quarterback position.
The Texans will understandably demand more than that trio of Round 1 selections to finish off any deal. The Panthers must also be prepared to offer a couple of second rounders to sweeten the pot. The same can be said about including a pair of third round picks to push the package over the edge.
The key for Carolina will be to avoid meeting the Texans’ demands to make talented young players a part of the deal. Young defensive stars like Brian Burns and Jeremy Chinn should remain off the table unless Houston is willing to drastically back off the amount of draft capital they need to make the trade work.
It’s fair to point out that this sort of deal would effectively mortgage the Panthers’ future, but the acquisition of Watson would instantly make Carolina a perennial playoff contender for the foreseeable future. Watching Watson play for the next three seasons will more than make up for any decrease in future draft excitement for Panthers fans.