Falcons shopped Ryan expecting to land Watson?

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Matt Ryan commerce buzz picked up within the days following Deshaun Watson‘s choice to waive his no-trade for the Browns, however the Falcons had begun discussing its 14-year quarterback with groups earlier than Watson dedicated.

Because the Falcons pursued Watson, they shopped Ryan, Zak Keefer of The Athletic reports. This got here as most among the many Falcons assumed the embattled Texans quarterback “was theirs.” Watson is from Georgia and frolicked as a Falcons ball boy as a toddler.

This gibes with what got here out in March, when a report indicated Watson was talking with free brokers — Jarvis Landry and Leonard Fournette amongst them — about joining him in Atlanta. Jadeveon Clowney later stated he would probably have signed with the Falcons had Watson chosen to waive his no-trade clause to be dealt to Atlanta. The Falcons have been additionally competing with the Panthers and Saints for Watson, however on the night time earlier than the commerce went down, the Falcons anticipated to land the Professional Bowl quarterback. The Browns’ absolutely assured $230M contract — a value level that pushed the Falcons and Panthers to stand down — modified every little thing.

Previous to Watson’s Cleveland alternative, Falcons assistant GM Ryan Smith contacted Colts assistant GM Ed Dodds concerning Ryan curiosity, Keefer provides, and the Colts then watched each Ryan sport from 2020-21 as they decided if he can be a match. The Colts agreed to commerce Carson Wentz to the Commanders on March 9, leaving them with no clear-cut possibility for a stretch. They’d additionally held discussions with
Jameis Winston, with Baker Mayfield displaying interest in Indianapolis. The Falcons and Colts agreed to phrases on a Ryan commerce — which despatched a third-round pick to Atlanta for the former MVP — March 21.

Ryan, now 37, did his personal homework on the Colts, calling Peyton Manning and Philip Rivers to achieve intel on the group and Frank Reich‘s offense. Different groups have been additionally considering Ryan, per Keefer, however the Falcons wished to ship their longtime franchise cornerstone to a vacation spot he most popular.

Regardless of Watson selecting the Browns because the Colts shopped Ryan, the Falcons stayed the course on a commerce by persevering with negotiations. On the Colts’ finish, Jim Irsay, who had a number of unfavorable issues to say about Wentz this offseason, instructed GM Chris Ballard to finish the commerce. Shortly after the Falcons despatched Ryan to the Colts, they signed ex-Arthur Smith Titans cost Marcus Mariota. Whereas third-round decide Desmond Ridder ought to be anticipated to make begins for the rebuilding crew this season, Mariota will start the marketing campaign as Atlanta’s starter.

The Colts, whose points with Wentz started through the 2021 offseason, have been happy with Ryan to date. They’re eyeing at least a two-year partnership. This is able to cease a revolving QB door for the Colts, that are about to the be a part of the Broncos and Commanders in beginning a unique Week 1 QB in every of the previous six seasons. Ryan’s contract, which handed the Falcons an NFL-record $40M dead-money cost, has since been restructured. It checks in with $18.7M (2022) and $35.2M (’23) cap numbers.





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