Five days is an eternity in the NFL. Five days back, the Falcons reportedly restructured Matt Ryan’s contract to free up 2022 cap space and keep the long-time franchise quarterback in Atlanta until at least prior to the 2023 season. Deshaun Watson was facing both a criminal investigation and a slew of civil suits.
Five days later and the Falcons met with Watson. Multiple national writers from across the spectrum reported Atlanta would meet with Watson before it happend, then some follow-up reports indicated the Texans required a trade offer prior to teams meeting with Watson — and that the Falcons had not made an offer.
Things moved quickly from there, with the Falcons submitting an offer and entering a day-long meeting with the quarterback in Atlanta that included Arthur Blank, Terry Fontenot and Arthur Smith, among others. That meeting wrapped up tonight, and now Watson is reportedly “torn” between the Falcons, Saints, Browns, and Panthers. This could drag out a bit, and meanwhile all four of those teams are putting free agent plans on hold.
The Atlanta Falcons have completed a meeting with Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson on Wednesday in Atlanta after previously submitting a trade proposal for the three-time Pro Bowl selection, according to league sources: @PFN365 https://t.co/AB6fPrIYcZ— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) March 16, 2022
The #Falcons will meet with #Texans QB Deshaun Watson today, per me and @TomPelissero, the fourth such meeting for a team that has extended a trade offer for Watson. The #Saints, #Panthers, and #Browns are the others.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 16, 2022
Original story follows.
Watson has been the top topic across the NFL early this week. Earlier this week, Watson was reportedly going to take his time with team meetings and determine if and where to waive his no-trade clause. Now the expectation is things will wrap up on Wednesday. The Falcons may be interested, in part due to Watson’s relationship with Arthur Blank, but no offer has been made and no meeting is scheduled.
For the Falcons, the interest doesn’t make as much sense as other locations. Other teams have an immediate need at quarterback, gobs of cap space, and an established team outside of quarterback. The Falcons are not a quarterback away from the playoffs, let alone the Super Bowl. Assuming you can get Matt Ryan to waive his no-trade clause, move him, and deal with the cap ramifications, you then have to figure out how to build the rest of the team. Adding an expensive quarterback to a bad, rebuilding roster is not how any successful team has been built.
It turns out the Falcons have been keeping Ryan informed on what’s happening here:
As @mortreport reported, the Falcons informed QB Matt Ryan last weekend that they were pursuing Deshaun Watson. The lines of communication have been kept open between Ryan and the Falcons.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 16, 2022
Flirting with a quarterback with nearly two dozen lawsuits alleging sexual misconduct and likely facing a lengthy suspension from the NFL, may be the worst look possible. If ownership or the new brain trust thinks this is the team’s best chance to compete again, we are entering another bad period of incompetence.
The team is burning up a lot of goodwill with this interest in Watson. Fans have put up with a whole lot with this bad team dating back decades. Bumbling through the end of Ryan’s career in order to trade the farm for a quarterback with 22 open civil suits — forcing the team to ignore the actual problems with the roster — would just be another low for a franchise full of lows.