With each passing day, there is more speculation and fanfare regarding Deshaun Watson‘s next NFL team.
We know he is not going to stay with the Houston Texans, and we now know that he is not going to be criminally charged.
While the Carolina Panthers, New Orleans Saints, and Cleveland Browns have emerged as the frontrunners, the Atlanta Falcons organization is jumping into the fray of late.
The Falcons and Watson have history and actually fit together.
NFL Network’s Peter Schrager talked about the Falcons’ connection to Watson.
— Good Morning Football (@gmfb) March 15, 2022
Here are a few reasons Watson to Atlanta is not far-fetched.
1. Watson Was Born In Georgia
Watson, 26, was born in Gainesville, Georgia.
Gainesville is 55 miles from Atlanta.
The hometown connection and roots in Georgia could be welcoming to Watson whose reputation still is clouded with the civil litigation against him.
2. He Was A Falcons’ Ball Boy
Going from the ball boy to the franchise quarterback of the Falcons is a feel-good story that can help counteract the negativity that may be surrounding Watson upon his return to football.
He also has a relationship with owner Arthur Blank and his family, and as ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports, Blank is “fond” of Watson.
Falcons owner Arthur Blank is fond of Deshaun Watson from the days when the former Gainesville (Ga) High quarterback worked multiple years as a Falcons’ ball boy and developed a relationship with Blank's family. https://t.co/EypxrnF9ma
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 15, 2022
3. A Houston And Atlanta Quarterback Swap Is Somewhat Realistic
Matt Ryan is not getting any younger, but he is still a solid performer.
He will be 37 years old before the 2022 season begins.
The Texans could find him a viable part of a trade package that could retool the Texans team beginning with the 2022 NFL Draft.
Davis Mills is a young quarterback who has potential, but being mentored and sitting behind a quarterback of Ryan’s caliber could definitely help his development and long-term success.
The wrinkle in this deal is that Matt Ryan’s contract is a lot to absorb, and the Texans may not be able to do so.
Falcons just restructured Matt Ryan's contract. I don't know how they could trade it given the $55.5M dead cap figure they would take on
— John Sigler (@john_siglerr) March 15, 2022
4. Kyle Pitts
The combination of Watson and second-year tight end Kyle Pitts is a very exciting one.
Pitts is considered an up-and-coming star in the NFL.
Because both he and Watson are young, this could be an epic partnership the Falcons could rely on for years to come.
It does make sense that Deshaun would like to play for Atlanta due to him growing up in Gainesville which is not too far away.
Outside of Kyle Pitts, their lack of talent on offense is concerning.
— EverythingTexans (@EvTexans) March 15, 2022
Though the Texans need to make a definitive move with Watson, they will not be impulsive.
Listening to each interested team’s offer and understanding the ramifications for the Texans roster will be important.
It is worth noting that ESPN’s Dianna Russini’s sources are telling her that Watson has personally reached out to the Falcons.
I’m told QB Deshaun Watson has interest in the Atlanta Falcons and has even reached out to the franchise personally, per source. https://t.co/wdQfgaXGjR
— Dianna Russini (@diannaESPN) March 15, 2022
Though the Falcons offer some obvious benefits, including being in the opposing conference (NFC), there are other teams that could have better players and draft picks they are willing to offer.
If the Texans play their cards right, they can build a team just like the 1990s Dallas Cowboys did when they traded running back Herschel Walker to the Minnesota Vikings.