The Carolina Panthers are reportedly expected make an “aggressive” trade offer to the Houston Texans for quarterback Deshaun Watson, a source confirmed to ESPN.
The source confirmed that Watson — who had a decorated collegiate career in the Carolinas at Clemson University — is not expected to use his no-trade clause if a deal is reached.
The Panthers had previously attempted to acquire Watson via trade last offseason before he was linked to 22 lawsuits and 10 criminal complaints of sexual misconduct.
On Friday (March 11), the Harris County District Attorney’s Office ruled that Watson would not face criminal charges in relation to the accusations.
A source with knowledge told Pro Football Network that no team has done more due diligence in investigating Watson’s legal situation than the Panthers.
Carolina picked up the fifth-year option on quarterback Sam Darnold, who was acquired in a trade with the New York Jets last offseason, and faces a $18.9 million cap number in 2022 as part of the deal.
The 26-year-old is now reportedly being targeted by Carolina and several other teams including the Seattle Seahawks — who traded away franchise quarterback Russell Wilson earlier this week — as well as the New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Pittsburgh Steelers, Philadelphia Eagles, Indianapolis Colts, and Cleveland Browns, ESPN reports.
All the teams reported to be interested in Watson are aware that the NFL could hand down its own suspension of the quarterback if he is found to have violated the league’s personal code of conduct.