Deshaun Watson probably won’t be heading to Carolina any time soon, but that’s not for the Panthers’ lack of trying.
That’s how Mike Florio reads the situation, at least.
Recent reports made it seem like the Panthers haven’t kicked the tires on Watson in quite a while. Florio, however, believes Carolina went out of its way to cover its bases after the franchise realized it probably wasn’t going to win the Watson sweepstakes.
“…A lot of work was being done at those league meetings to get the word out to reporters there that the Panthers — ‘Oh, we don’t want Watson. We weren’t involved.’ They were involved and as of Sunday, it was Dolphins then Panthers,” Florio said Wednesday on NBC Sports. “The Panthers must be getting very strong vibes that the Dolphins are going to get this deal done, that Deshaun Watson is going to choose Miami over Carolina and so now Carolina is backing off because they have to love the one they’re with. They can’t afford to face their fans, their players by saying, ‘We went and tried to get Deshaun Watson and it just didn’t work out.’ You have to act like you never tried to get Deshaun Watson. They may want to hire Mike Tomlin to come in and provide the press conference soundbite to make it sound convincing because otherwise, it won’t be.”
Florio continued: “I still don’t completely rule out the Panthers. But they must have caught wind of something yesterday (Tuesday) or today (Wednesday) that leads them to believe this is happening with the Miami Dolphins and not the Carolina Panthers or they wouldn’t be working so hard to spread the word to reporters who will willingly pass it along without scrutiny, without doubt, without context that they were never in it when the truth is they were. As of Sunday it was, in my estimation, 75% Miami, 25% Carolina. Now it looks like Miami or no one. I’ll still be stunned if it’s no one.”
The Dolphins do appear to be the clear frontrunner to land Watson by the Nov. 2 deadline. In fact, Miami and Houston might already have a deal verbally agreed upon.