ESPN predicts QB Deshaun Watson to Panthers, QB Marcus Mariota to Patriots

So far we’ve seen two big trades that have sent three starting quarterbacks to new teams. That of course is the Lions and Rams swapping starters Matt Stafford and Jared Goff and the Colts acquiring Carson Wentz in a trade with the Eagles. But that doesn’t figure to the be the end of the trades which will alter the landscape of starting quarterbacks across the league.

This morning, soon after the Wentz trade, ESPN’s Field Yates set about making his predictions as to who the starting quarterbacks will be for each NFL team next season. Among them were the Panthers and Patriots getting new signals callers in trades with the Texans and Raiders respectively.

Yates has the Panthers making the biggest trade of the offseason, acquiring Deshaun Watson from the Texans.

“I’ve been on record forecasting Watson to Miami, but recently my tenor has changed with more support from the Dolphins for Tua Tagovailoa and the Panthers’ previous aggressive pursuit of Matthew Stafford. Carolina’s roster on defense took shape relatively quickly in 2020, opening its window to be aggressive sooner. New GM Scott Fitterer has the eighth pick as one of his chips to play in a deal to acquire Watson.

Houston has no interest in trading him away right now, but we know this has already been ugly. If you ultimately trade away a franchise quarterback, moving him to a team you play once every four years is preferred to an in-conference foe (assuming the offers are comparable)”

Likewise, he has the Patriots with a new starter this season, acquiring Marcus Mariota in a trade with the Raiders.

“The Patriots are among a group of teams that are too far from the top of the draft order to be a likely landing spot for the top-draft-prospect quarterbacks, meaning we’re examining other veteran options who could be logical fits. While a Cam Newton return isn’t totally ruled out, it’s an unlikely option. The 27-year-old Mariota is under contract for one more year with the Raiders but carries a cap charge of $10.725M, an unlikely tab for them to pay for a backup in a cap-tightened year.

Be it via a trade or cut, Mariota could find a new home this offseason … and the Patriots are a logical fit.”

Yates isn’t the first ESPN voice to suggest Mariota is a fit for the Patriots.

Mike Reiss suggested Mariota would be a great option for the Patriots should they be unable to get Jimmy Garroppolo back from the 49ers. Reiss seems to think Mariota would only cost a late-round pick. Though, it seems more likely to me that Mariota could land a conditional day two pick, especially with his friendly salary ($10.6 million).

For what it’s worth, Yates has Derek Carr as the Raiders’ starter next season. And the Texans drafting Ohio State QB Justin Fields to replace Watson.

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