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New Team Emerging as a 'Sleeper' to Land Deshaun Watson: Report

The Atlanta Falcons have emerged as a "sleeper" team among the potential trade destinations for Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen's report.

"The Falcons have emerged as a sleeper team to acquire Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson, league sources tell @mortreport and me," Schefter tweeted on Tuesday. "The Falcons join the Panthers, Saints, and Browns as teams that have met with, or are interested in, trading for Watson."

Watson is a native of Gainesville, which is 50 miles northeast of Atlanta, and was a ball boy for the Falcons during his younger years, as well as the No. 4 prospect from the Peach State for the 2014 national recruiting cycle, according to the 247Sports Composite.

On Friday, the Harris County District Attorney's Office ruled that Watson would not face criminal charges in relation to the accusations.

Hours later, a source told ESPN that the Carolina Panthers were exported to make an "aggressive" trade offer for Watson.

The source confirmed that Watson -- who had a decorated collegiate career in the Carolinas at Clemson University -- is not expected to use his no-trade clause if a deal is reached.

The Panthers had previously attempted to acquire Watson via trade last offseason before he was linked to 22 lawsuits and 10 criminal complaints of sexual misconduct.

A source with knowledge told Pro Football Network that no team has done more due diligence in investigating Watson's legal situation than the Panthers.

Carolina picked up the fifth-year option on quarterback Sam Darnold, who was acquired in a trade with the New York Jets last offseason and faces an $18.9 million cap number in 2022 as part of the deal.

The 26-year-old is now reportedly being targeted by Carolina and several other teams including the Seattle Seahawks -- who traded away franchise quarterback Russell Wilson earlier this week -- as well as the New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Pittsburgh Steelers, Philadelphia Eagles, Indianapolis Colts, and Cleveland Browns, ESPN reports.

All the teams reported to be interested in Watson are aware that the NFL could hand down its own suspension of the quarterback if he is found to have violated the league's personal code of conduct.

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