The Carolina Panthers’ chances of securing success in Week 1 against the Cleveland Browns improved dramatically after Deshaun Watson’s suspension.
After almost two years of waiting and wondering, the NFL world finally found out Deshaun Watson‘s fate relating to a large number of sexual misconduct allegations. The Carolina Panthers controversially coveted the quarterback heavily despite this cloud hanging over him, but they finally took themselves out of the running after refusing to match his mammoth contract demands.
The Cleveland Browns were more than happy to do this to acquire Watson. They also structured the deal to such a degree that the Clemson product isn’t losing too much financially in the wake of his six-game suspension.
A seedy saga from start to finish. But in a weird way, it stands to benefit the Panthers more than most.
Not only did the Browns’ successful pursuit of Watson enable Carolina to land Baker Mayfield on the cheap. But it also means that they won’t have to come up against the player when the two sides square off in Week 1 of the 2022 season.
This makes Mayfield the primary focus. Although when asked about Watson’s suspension following Monday’s practice, the Oklahoma product was keen to point out that’s none of his business and getting better with his new team is all that matters right now.
"“Honestly, it’s none of my business. I don’t play against the other quarterback. I know it’s the most cliché thing to say, but that’s just the truth. If I’m playing or not, I’m trying to help this team win. That’s my mindset going into it. I’m not focused about Week 1 right now. I’m working on each day’s install and trying to get better.”"
Watson’s clearly gotten off lightly and the fact this suspension was negotiated is bizarre beyond belief. With that being said, the Panthers now turn their attention to preventing Jacoby Brissett and an exceptional running attack from influencing proceedings in the regular season opener, which seems a much easier proposition.
Carolina Panthers received Week 1 odds boost after Deshaun Watson suspension
According to the latest odds from WynnBET, the Panthers and Browns is now a scratch game (0.0) that can be bet at -110 in both directions (bet $110 to win $100). This has come down from Carolina’s opening line of +2.5 earlier this offseason.
Oddsmakers at WynnBET are not expecting a particularly high-scoring affair, with the over/under set at 41.5.
There is no doubting the fact Carolina has a wonderful chance to get their 2022 campaign off on the right foot. However, underestimating the Browns because Watson isn’t available would be foolish.
They still possess a dynamic running back tandem in Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt. Cleveland also has a prolific defensive line featuring Myles Garrett and Jadeveon Clowney, who’ll be fighting with all their might to get one over on Mayfield.
Playing the game and not the occasion will be key for Mayfield. The Heisman Trophy winner was clearly hurt by the treatment received by the Browns this offseason and although emotions will be running high, remaining composed under pressure will ultimately determine the outcome.
It won’t be easy. Not by any stretch of the imagination.
But with Watson’s suspension now confirmed, the Panthers might just have a chance if everything clicks into place right away.