Can the Carolina Panthers afford to wait for Deshaun Watson?

(Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images) Deshaun Watson
(Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images) Deshaun Watson /
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Deshaun Watson
(Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports) Deshaun Watson /

Deshaun Watson’s ongoing trade saga could go on a while yet, but can the Carolina Panthers afford to wait around in their pursuit of a new quarterback?

It’s funny how one comment can set the NFL world alight in the frenzied offseason period. ESPN’s beat writer David Newton merely gave a bold prediction regarding the Carolina Panthers giving up three first-round picks and star running back Christian McCaffrey in pursuit of securing a trade for Deshaun Watson this offseason, which was then misconstrued into a story claiming the organization was ready to launch this offer to the Houston Texans in the not-too-distant future.

Now the Panthers might end up making this sort of move for all we know.

But a situation that Newton clarified himself before it was discussed as a possibility on ESPN’s Get Up! this morning is proof positive of what a powder keg situation this is rapidly becoming.

The opinion is divided among Carolina’s loyal fanbase as to whether the All-Pro running back should be included in any trade deal for Watson, a generational signal-caller who was the NFL’s passing leader in 2020 and is only just entering his prime.

Houston remains steadfast in their belief that Watson will be under center for them when competitive action rolls around in 2021. The player hasn’t exactly been accommodating to any calls from the front office or new Texans head coach David Culley in recent weeks, which stems from a lack of satisfaction regarding how team owner Cal McNair is handling matters.

There appears to be plenty of mileage in this saga yet. A holdout is entirely possible from Watson’s perspective if he doesn’t get his way. But the fact the former first-round pick only signed a new deal last year complicates matters in no uncertain terms.

The Panthers would be interested in Watson along with most of the league if he eventually became available. But considering how aggressive they’ve been trying to get an upgrade on Teddy Bridgewater, can they afford to wait around?