4 hidden benefits to the Panthers landing Deshaun Watson

(Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports) Deshaun Watson
(Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports) Deshaun Watson /
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Carolina Panthers
(Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports) Deshaun Watson /

Fans back onside

It was a problematic offseason last year from a relationship standpoint between the Carolina Panthers and their loyal fanbase. The organization took the bold move to rid itself of almost every established veteran on their roster during the first year of Matt Rhule’s rebuild, which saw two of the most popular players in franchise history removed from the roster.

Prolific tight end Greg Olsen was shown the door as Carolina opted to give a chance to Ian Thomas. This is a decision that backfired given the former Indiana standout’s lack of production in 2020 and it is a position that the Panthers need to address during free agency or the 2021 NFL Draft.

And then there was Cam Newton.

The iconic quarterback was also released at a time when there were few opportunities to start elsewhere. Newton eventually signed with the New England Patriots on a one-year deal that included just $500,000 guaranteed, but the 2015 NFL MVP could find himself on the free-agent scrapheap once again this offseason if Bill Belichick opts not to give him an extension.

Newton should have been treated better and how the situation was handled remains a key – and bitter – talking point among supporters.

If the Panthers want to get their fanbase back onside, then getting Deshaun Watson would be a great start. His time at Clemson was littered with accomplishments and given how little confidence there is in Teddy Bridgewater moving forward, something bold needs to be considered to reignite an organization that has become stagnant in recent years before Rhule’s arrival.

The cost would be great. But the benefits are there for all to see and even if the Panthers don’t end up doing enough, they have to try.