The Carolina Panthers are on the verge of having one of their most disappointing seasons in recent memory, and now they will have to start from scratch after losing Christian McCaffrey for the season. The questions about whether trading Deshaun Watson at this point was a smart move may never be answered, but that trade is looking more and more like it could end up being an albatross around Carolina’s neck
The “nfl news watson” is a story that has been making headlines for the last few days. The Panthers are going to be forced to revisit the trade talks they made with the Texans before drafting Deshaun Watson.
The Carolina Panthers‘ 2021 season has been a total catastrophe, and that’s putting things kindly. Despite having one of the league’s best defenses (due to some excellent drafting in recent seasons), its offense has resembled that of a college football school. They are presently ranked 31st in projected offensive points and 24th in scoring %.
The quarterback position is at the heart of their issues. They sacrificed several draft selections to get Sam Darnold, only to have him perform as he did with the New York Jets. Then they brought back Cam Newton, only to bench him after only two starts.
Now that top running back Christian McCaffrey is gone for the season due to a season-ending injury, the team’s future must be discussed.
Christian McCaffrey’s season was cut short for the second time in two years.
Christian McCaffrey, the NFL’s most skilled and explosive running back, has been plagued by injuries. Last year, he only appeared in three games and only lasted seven this year. CMC is clearly feeling the impact of the running back position in his sixth season.
CMC has been a key part of the Panthers’ offense since being selected. He’s been the team’s No. 1 target on the ground and in the air. Even if you don’t think giving RBs a lot of money is a good idea, the $64 million deal he got in March was well-deserved. He was putting up historically significant figures.
The issue with basing your whole offense on a running back is the potential for disaster if/when they go hurt. For recent seasons, the Panthers had been short on quarterbacks, betting that CMC’s outstanding running and receiving powers would sustain whomever was in the starting lineup. Cam Newton regressed first, then Teddy Bridgewater, then Sam Darnold, and now they’re back at square one with a regressing Newton.
Carolina’s front office has to adjust as a result of CMC’s newest injury.
The Panthers must purchase a legitimate franchise. QB
Regardless of how confident the Panthers are in CMC’s ability to recover from a second season-ending injury, they must go out and get a real franchise quarterback this summer. Putting Darnold or Newton on the field in 2022, whether via the draft, free agency, or trade, is a formula for catastrophe.
During the 2021 NFL Draft, Carolina notoriously passed on both Mac Jones and Justin Fields, a decision they’ve since come to regret. Darnold and Newton have lower ceilings than both of these guys.
At this year’s trade deadline, the Panthers considered moving for Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson, and it’s a possibility they’ll explore in the spring. Watson, who went to Clemson University, a two-hour drive from Charlotte, is still pleading for a new start away from Houston.
The Panthers should put Deshaun Watson at the top of their wish list.
Deshaun Watson | Getty Images/Carmen Mandato
A trade for a veteran quarterback like Russell Wilson or Aaron Rodgers is always an option for the Panthers. They might potentially choose a talented youngster in the draft. On paper, though, pushing for Watson again makes the most sense.
Watson would not only assist in getting the ball to the team’s above-average WR room, but he also has the ability to lead an offense for a few weeks at a period if CMC suffers more ailments. Obviously, the aim is to combine Watson with CMC to form a formidable one-two punch. Watson, on the other hand, would not be fully dependant on CMC every week (like Darnold and Newton were).
Watson’s legal problems have yet to be resolved. The Panthers will also need to raise enough draft money to complete the task. On paper, though, this is a move the Panthers should pursue vigorously in the summer.
Pro Football Reference provided all stats.
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