Rumors have been running wild that the Houston Texans are getting close to trading embattled quarterback Deshaun Watson. While the Miami Dolphins have been the presumed destination, there have been other teams thrown out there as potential landing spots as well.
Early in 2021, there were reports that Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper was “highly motivated” to trade for Watson. However, that didn’t materialize and the team instead traded for Sam Darnold to be their new signal-caller.
That deal looked it was working out early in the season as Darnold racked up rushing touchdowns. However, Darnold’s production has come back down to earth while the Panthers have fallen to 3-3 and there are concerns as to whether or not he’s going to be the answer long-term in Carolina. All of which has people wondering if the team will once again set its sights on acquiring Watson in spite of his legal issues.
However, according to New York Daily News reporter Pat Leonard, who spoke with Panthers’ head coach Matt Rhule, that doesn’t sound like it’ll be the case.
More Matt Rhule on Darnold: "I'm bought in on Sam. My biggest thing is making sure that me & Sean Ryan & Joe Brady do a better job of putting Sam in the best position. He's my focus & I expect him to play his best football moving forward. I'm not looking anywhere else." #Panthers
— Pat Leonard (@PLeonardNYDN) October 21, 2021
“I haven’t done any work on anyone else,” Rhule said. “I believe Sam [Darnold] will be a great quarterback for the Carolina Panthers. I’m bought in on Sam. My biggest thing is making sure that me & Sean Ryan & Joe Brady do a better job of putting Sam in the best position. He’s my focus & I expect him to play his best football moving forward. I’m not looking anywhere else.”
Watson’s future remains unknown, but even when he does get traded, it’s still unclear what will happen when he gets to his new team. Watson remains under NFL investigation for the many allegations of sexual assault and misconduct related to encounters with massage therapists. He is also facing over 20 civil suits and 10 criminal complaints. While he hasn’t been suspended by the league, it’s thought that the NFL could make a decision about his playing status if it became clear that he was active on a roster.