A couple of weeks ago, Matt Ryan was the best quarterback in the NFC South, and the Falcons had an inch of daylight to win the division. Sean Payton and Drew Brees retired, the Panthers were no closer to finding their signal caller, and the Buccaneers lost Tom Brady to retirement as well. Even though Atlanta’s roster is battling in the bottom-third of the league, a competent quarterback like Ryan would be able to cover up some blemishes.
However, fortunes can change in an instant in the NFL.
First, the league handed down their indefinite, year-long suspension to Calvin Ridley for gambling on NFL games while away from the team. In what is an already depleted receiving core, Ridley’s absence makes the Falcons’ pass catchers one of the worst units in the league. That’s not to mention the team’s glaring needs all over the roster too.
Then, Brady announced he would be unretiring and joining the Buccaneers. The seven-time Super Bowl champion is returning to Tampa Bay for his age 45 season with one of the better rosters in the league. Brady’s decision to come back significantly increased the Bucs’ odds of taking the division, making the Falcons as irrelevant as they were a year ago.
Still, that’s not even the most frustrating news to hit the division. According to Adam Schefter, the Panthers and Saints are considered strong suitors to land Deshaun Watson.
Texans’ QB Deshaun Watson is expected to meet in the next 48 hours with the Carolina Panthers and New Orleans Saints, amongst other teams, per league sources. Watson wants to meet with them just as they want to meet with him before trade talks ramp up.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 14, 2022
As Houston searches for a trade partner, Atlanta is getting worse by just standing pat. Falcons fans thought they had rid themselves of elite quarterback play in the division. Not only is the GOAT returning to the NFC South for what looks like a couple more seasons, but also the division could see Deshaun Watson for the next decade.
The former Clemson Tiger immediately makes the Saints or Panthers a playoff contender while the Falcons are stuck in the mud. It’s been a rough time being a fan of this team over the past five years, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to be any more enjoyable in the immediate future, either.
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