4 Panthers players who could be sacrificed to land Deshaun Watson

(Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images) Deshaun Watson
(Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images) Deshaun Watson /
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Carolina Panthers
(Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports) Deshaun Watson /

Which Carolina Panthers players could be sacrificed to land Deshaun Watson?

There promises to be many more twists and turns regarding the speculation surrounding Deshaun Watson‘s future with the Houston Texans. The quarterback is reportedly growing more disenchanted with every passing day and the Carolina Panthers should be one of many teams keeping a close eye on the situation once the former first-round pick returns from vacation.

Trading Watson would be the last resort for the Texans, who are still searching for a new head coach following their decision to fire Bill O’Brien. The Clemson product is reportedly extremely unhappy that his voice isn’t being listened to and according to ESPN’s NFL insider Chris Mortensen, the signal-caller is ready to play “hard-ball” in a bid to seal a trade away from the franchise.

While the chances of Carolina being able to generate enough in the way of assets to land Watson appears unlikely, it is an avenue they should consider in no uncertain terms. The opportunity to bring in elite players who are at the top of their game is rare – especially at the quarterback position – so moving heaven and earth to bring him to Carolina could be a game-changer.

Let’s examine which Panthers players could be used as possible bait for a potential trade for Watson.

Player No. 1

Carolina Panthers
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Shaq Thompson /

Shaq Thompson – Carolina Panthers OLB

It would take a lot more than this, obviously. But the Panthers should be willing to include Shaq Thompson in any potential trade package for Deshaun Watson.

The outside linebacker is due for a huge pay increase next season, with his base salary going up from $4.4 million to just over $10 million. Thompson’s play did improve somewhat over the second half of the campaign, but whether his influence is enough to justify this sort of financial outlay is up for debate.

Houston already has a ton of money locked into their linebacking corps, with Zach Cunningham signing a bumper deal during the campaign. However, it’s hard to look at their remaining options with any sort of confidence and Thompson would be an upgrade to what they currently possess.