The Carolina Panthers are reportedly positioning themselves to upgrade at quarterback -- perhaps even by acquiring Houston Texans star Deshaun Watson.
The Panthers made a flurry of moves this week with the aim of cleaning up a messy cap situation, according to David Newton of ESPN.
Gone are Pro Bowl defensive lineman Kawann Short, defensive end Stephen Short, safety Tre Boston, and punter Michael Palardy.
The series of cuts upped the team's cap space to $28M-plus, the report said -- more than doubling the previous mark of about $8.5M. Carolina leads the league in dead money, a distinction it held even before the transactions.
All of it points toward the Panthers freeing up space for a quarterback -- potentially including a "strong run" at Watson, should the Texans make him available, the report says -- after Carolina was reported to have shopped incumbent Teddy Bridgewater in trade talks with the Detroit Lions surrounding Matthew Stafford.
The Panthers are also seeking to upgrade their offensive, the report said, which presently has only one starter under contract, center Matt Paradis.
Carolina has the eighth overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, and was reported to have offered it to the Lions along with Bridgewater in a potential package deal for Stafford, who was later acquired by the Los Angeles Rams.
Watson has officially requested a trade, but the Texans have said they intend to keep him.
Watson, 25, is a Georgia native, and starred collegiately at Clemson.