Carolina Panthers set for Deshaun Watson showdown in 2021

(Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images) Deshaun Watson
(Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images) Deshaun Watson /

The Carolina Panthers will take on Deshaun Watson and the Houston Texans with a 17-game season set to be confirmed in 2021.

It appears as if the Carolina Panthers will be playing a 17-game season in 2021. According to ESPN’s NFL insider Adam Schefter, the NFL will be announcing that an extra game will be added to the schedule this week, which is another big impact of the new incoming television deal that is set to see the salary-cap soar in the coming years.

This will see the Panthers square off against the Houston Texans and a player they have reportedly identified as their top target this offseason. Deshaun Watson‘s trade request has been met with stern resistance from those in power, who aren’t taking calls for the former first-round pick since his unhappiness was revealed.

Carolina has been “all-in” on Watson, according to multiple reports. Owner David Tepper is intent on getting a marquee name to the franchise to further boost things both on and off the field. But there is now a significant issue that needs to be resolved before any team can even contemplate making a move for the player.

Watson is in the midst of some civil disputes relating to sexual harassment that have not yet been reported to the authorities. The NFL is also investigating the matter and it might result in the Clemson product facing a suspension regardless of the conclusion.

Teams are moving on from Deshaun Watson, but are the Carolina Panthers?

Teams have already begun reacting to this and moving on accordingly. The San Francisco 49ers traded up to No. 3 in the NFL Draft and have a potential Jimmy Garroppolo replacement in mind. The New York Jets are now going to take Zach Wilson at No. 2 and others are also settling with free-agent signings rather than take the plunge where Watson is concerned.

Carolina has been noticeably silent throughout recent events and deals, which might indicate they’re willing to play the waiting game to get Watson on-board. Just how long that’s going to take remains to be seen and there is even a chance they are forced with coming up against the signal-caller in 2021 thanks to the additional game on their schedule.

Watson has dug in his heels regarding a fresh start. So there is a high likelihood of him refusing to suit up for the Texans next season once his civil matters come to a conclusion.

However, this is yet another intriguing element to what is sure to be a fascinating 2021 campaign for the Panthers.

They’ve made some shrewd moves in free agency so far and still have more than $20 million in cap space to work with. Providing they have a strong draft, the chances of a possible postseason berth would look pretty promising.

That is if production is better under center.

Whether it’s Teddy Bridgewater, an incoming college recruit, or even Watson, things must get better at the most critical position on the field.

There will be plenty of twists and turns to come during this offseason both for Watson and the Panthers. But as things stand right now, Carolina will be going up against a player they undoubtedly feel can propel them back to greatness.