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Deshaun Watson not coming to Carolina Panthers, NFL Network insider reports

Deshaun Watson has been linked to several teams since the beginning of last season, including the Panthers.
Credit: AP
Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) works drills during NFL football practice Thursday, July 29, 2021, in Houston. (AP Photo/Justin Rex)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Carolina Panthers' pursuit of Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson has ended, according to NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport.

Rapoport previously reported that Watson met with the Panthers, as well as executives from the New Orleans Saints and Cleveland Browns, and was expected to meet with the Atlanta Falcons Wednesday. 

Watson has a no-trade clause in his contract, meaning he must give approval to any proposed trade by the Texans. According to Rapoport, the Panthers, Saints, Browns and Falcons were the four teams in the mix for Watson. 

Rapoport now says the Falcons and Saints are the final two teams in question. 

"Above all these teams, it seems like the Saints seem to have stood out as far as I can tell," Rapoport previously said on NFL Network. 

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Owner David Tepper had made it clear that he was interested in trading for Watson, and the Panthers have been linked to Watson rumors for months. Last week, it was announced that Watson won't face any criminal charges in connection with allegations of sexual misconduct from over 20 women. It's unclear if he will face any punishment from the NFL, and he sat out the entire 2021-22 season amid the uncertainty and his request for a trade from Houston.

Quarterback Sam Darnold is entering the final year of his contract with a guaranteed salary of $18.8 million. The Panthers traded for Darnold last April and immediately picked up his fifth-year option for 2022-23. 

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