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Panthers clearing cap space, want to make a run at Deshaun Watson

Mike Florio and Myles Simmons run through some hypothetical trade proposals for star QBs such as Deshaun Watson and Russell Wilson and debate who would say no to the deal.

The Panthers have cut several players this month, creating some cap space that they’d love to spend on Deshaun Watson.

Carolina’s moves in the last week have cleared nearly $20 million in cap space, which would be enough to absorb Watson’s 2021 cap hit, and the Panthers plan to make a run at Watson if the Texans make him available in a trade, David Newton of ESPN reports. (That is an actual report, although ESPN has given it less attention than the “bold prediction” that the Panthers’ offer would be Christian McCaffrey and three first-round draft picks.)

The phrasing of the report -- the Panthers will make a run at Watson if the Texans make him available -- is almost identical to a previous report that the Broncos will make an offer for Watson if the Texans make him available. That suggests that multiple teams are waiting around for the Texans to say Watson is on the trading block, and then they’ll pull the trigger on a big offer when and if the Texans give them the go-ahead.

But if you want Watson and think you can make a credible offer for him, why wait? Why not call the Texans now and let them know you’re willing to part with a significant number of draft picks and/or players to get Watson? The worst the Texans can tell you is no. In a best-case scenario, it may begin the process of your team acquiring one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL.

Watson wants to be traded, and the Texans are saying publicly that they won’t trade him. But there’s likely some trade package good enough that the Texans would make the move. Teams like the Broncos and Panthers appear ready to make those offers.