NFL insider notes: Do not underestimate David Tepper and the Panthers within the Deshaun Watson sweepstakes


There stays some confusion as to what was really reported, or speculated, or simply plain made up concerning the Carolina Panthers and a few commerce provide for Deshaun Watson earlier this week.

However I can guarantee you of this a lot: Carolina is past smitten with Watson and proprietor David Tepper is pretty consumed the prospect of touchdown him and it doesn’t matter what occurs with this transcendent younger quarterback (and I nonetheless consider he’s dealt sooner or later), the Panthers are going to play some position within the course of. They won’t be capable of safe him, in the end, and others clearly possess larger draft capital, however on the subject of Watson, Tepper’s goal is true and their need is actual.

Tepper, a billionaire’s billionaire, has been extra affected person with this franchise up to now than many had anticipated. However that on no account ought to idiot one into pondering he’s a very affected person man nature, and the workforce’s entrance workplace shake-up final yr is definitely indicative of that. The Panthers are coming into their second yr below coach Matt Rhule, and Tepper is prepared and desirous to spend to attempt to have his bottom-10 membership (5-11) make important positive aspects after principally simply tinkering and tweaking and making an attempt to rebuild the draft up to now.

Most to the purpose, I am advised that Tepper is over the thought of a “game-manager” on the quarterback place, and able to pounce on the most effective confirmed, younger, elite passer that doubtlessly may very well be obtainable, and that has him fastened on Watson for a large number of causes. Tepper, sources stated, is over having to look at his workforce function with Cam Newton navigating accidents, or Kyle Allen making an attempt to show he’s greater than a lower-tier backup, or Teddy Bridgewater dink-and-dunk and defend the soccer, with clear limitations as to how daring and adventurous a downfield assault could be.

Now, coming into his fourth season on the helm, and having spent the vast majority of his time as a Steelers‘ minority investor watching Ben Roethlisberger play the place with abandon and crafty on his option to a Corridor of Fame profession, Tepper is completed with the caretaker, band-aid, we’ll see mannequin of quarterback. He is made it clear to these within the group, and to his confidants across the NFL, that he needs desperately to improve into the penthouse of quarterbacks, believing it to be essentially the most vital aspect to elevating the workforce to the heights – each within the standings and financially – that he seeks to soar.

And Watson, sources stated, is much and away his man.

By no means underestimate the nexus of enterprise and sport, and Tepper bought this membership – principally in money – due in no small diploma to his imaginative and prescient of the Panthers as a real regional anchor. He noticed them as a workforce that, if managed correctly, may draw followers from a number of states and their identify “Carolina,” and never “Charlotte,” or “North Carolina,” already spoke to that mannequin. This needs to be the workforce for all the Carolinas and past, filling a void between Atlanta and Washington, and Tepper rapidly started making quick infrastructure allowances to that finish.

Saying he could be transferring the workforce’s observe facility throughout the border, into South Carolina, the place it already had been holding coaching camp, was a powerful nod in that course. Giving Rhule the form of cash and time period on his contract not like what most first-time NFL coaches garner (even completed school coaches), was one other (that is SEC nation, in any case, and school fandom runs deeper than the professional ties and enormous in that area). Securing face-of-the-franchise Christian McCaffrey to a document deal for a working again was one other, and touchdown Watson could be the crown jewel.

One want solely recall the place Watson performed his school ball – simply down the street in South Carolina at Clemson – to see why he would have a selected attraction for this franchise. How higher for Tepper to additional construct his model because the workforce for all the Carolinas and past, than luring essentially the most completed NFL quarterback in franchise historical past, nonetheless not but even in his prime, already secured to a long-term contract which the Texans did the work of negotiating for you?

Is smart, proper?

Wanting having the first-overall decide and with the ability to choose Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence with it, this commerce could be the very best transfer Tepper may execute to that finish. And after sitting the laborious strategy of draft-and-develop, those that know Tepper nicely consider future first-round picks are merely burning a gap in his pocket on the subject of the chance to pry Watson out of Texas. That will not maintain the Panthers again within the least, with the eighth-overall choice this spring merely an appetizer.

And whereas I do not consider the Panthers have in reality supplied three first-round picks, plus McCaffrey, for Watson … I completely consider they might make that transaction instantly. Do not anticipate the Texans to noticeably entertain transferring Watson till a lot nearer to the draft – all the higher to maintain making an attempt to drive the worth up – but when/once they do, the Panthers shall be motivated to make it occur. Sure, the Jets and Dolphins, for starters, might have extra further draft capital, however I think the Panthers shall be keen to get fairly inventive (together with rising cross speeding pressure Brian Burns in any bundle could also be much more engaging than McCaffrey, although that dual-threat working again may definitely kick begin an offensive resurgence for any younger QB ought to the Texans choose to draft a passer within the occasion Watson is in reality dealt).

Tepper is over being middling at greatest (7-9 is his greatest outcome with a workforce and employees he inherited), and the truth that the workforce’s document is 17-31 below his possession is misplaced on nobody in that group. One other yr of Bridgewater on the helm is past unlikely at this level, even with $10M of his $17M in wage already assured, and if he’s there will probably be as a result of the Panthers are unable to land Watson, and the quarterback they choose eighth general just isn’t able to debut (this can one other pandemic-compromised offseason, keep in mind, with gamers unlikely to be in camp till the beginning of coaching camps, which may very well be truncated and/or delayed as nicely).

The proprietor is consumed with touchdown a real franchise quarterback, who may rework the fortunes of the workforce on subject and off, and make Panthers video games extra alluring to followers and sponsors alike. Making a surge within the standings may solely support his hopes of someday securing a real state-of-the-art sports activities and leisure advanced – ideally with a retractable roof – worthy of internet hosting Tremendous Bowls and NCAA championships, one thing Tepper covets.

He is already nicely right into a $1B undertaking for the brand new workforce headquarters, set to open in 2023, and the difficulty of funding for important enhancements to Financial institution of America Stadium has been lingering since nicely earlier than Jerry Richardson was shamed into promoting the franchise within the first place. A $50M undertaking is already underway to gussy up the stadium in preparation for the arrival of an MLS franchise in 2022, and it’s no secret that Tepper is eyeing an enormous parcel of land close to Financial institution of America Stadium to finally assemble the stadium of his desires.

This isn’t somebody accustomed to being advised no, or not getting what he needs. Tepper would be the wealthiest of all NFL homeowners – with a internet price nicely round $12B, business publications undertaking – and when he turns into fixated on one thing these round him have a tendency to note. These building tasks take time, and public assist, touchdown a prime quarterback doesn’t, and is much extra quick. One other obligatory step within the course of, one which the proprietor needs to start bearing extra victorious fruit.

It has been a very long time since Newton was enjoying at an MVP stage in Carolina; nicely earlier than Tepper took over the franchise. Tepper needs his man. He needs him now. Or not less than, ASAP. Watson matches the outline in each means potential.

So put together to listen to rather more concerning the Panthers and the Texans quarterback because the weeks go . A few of it may appear outlandish. A few of it not. However I might anticipate Carolina being keen to satisfy fairly a steep value to land Watson, and Watson’s resolve to no means play once more for Houston can’t be discounted.





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