In one of the most high-profile trades in recent memory, Matthew Stafford and Jared Goff were exchanged in a move comprised of swapping quarterbacks, the Rams’ first-round picks in 2022 and 2023, and a third-round pick in 2021 sent to Detroit. Stafford and the Lions mutually parted ways as Detroit heads in a new direction under first-year head coach Dan Campbell. While in Los Angeles, Sean McVay clearly made it known to Les Snead that he could not win a Super Bowl with Jared Goff.
Although the circumstances are different, the Falcons could offer the Texans a similar trade package for Deshaun Watson — involving Matt Ryan. However unlikely, it is still plausible now that the Lions and Rams have set a precedent of exchanging above-average starting quarterbacks. With the bad blood still present, Watson leaving Houston is likely — even after the team interviewed and hired a minority head coach and continues to tell media he is not being traded.
#Texans GM Nick Caserio: “I just want to reiteraten our commitment to Deshaun Watson. … We have zero interest in trading the player. We have a great plan and vision for him. We look forward to spending more time with him."
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 29, 2021
Will Deshaun Watson have 2nd thoughts demanding a trade because of David Culley?
"No. Deshaun is steadfast on what he wants. He believes the only reason the Texans circled back and interviewed minorities is because he got upset. He doesn't trust them." — @ShannonSharpe pic.twitter.com/CgemNgBKdE
— UNDISPUTED (@undisputed) February 1, 2021
Deshaun is dissatisfied with his organization, and Jared Goff’s organization was unhappy with him. Stafford and Matt Ryan are both aging veterans who look like they could be more successful on a different team. I don’t really envision Matty Ice going to Houston and winning more games than Watson did this past year or could’ve in 2021, but the Houston front office is a cluster of ignoramuses.
Jack Easterby is controlling the Texans’ organization like some twisted episode of Game of Thrones. He’s putting some preconceived notion out there that his team will be filled with a bunch of Harvard MBA students who regularly attend his religious seminars — it really is cultish. Getting rid of Deandre Hopkins was all Easterby… In no way, shape, or form did any teammate ever complain about Hopkins’ presence on or off the field. It wouldn’t surprise me if Matty Ice tickles Easterby’s peach either.
Matt Ryan is a class act, even if he’s nearing the end of his career, and is still capable of winning football games. He would be a great mentor for whoever the Texans drafted as his successor. Compensation would be the only other question mark, and even though the Falcons aren’t loaded with draft capital like the Dolphins or Jets, they have something to offer the others don’t — a franchise quarterback.
The Falcons would be silly not to consider giving up considerable assets to get Deshaun Watson. He is a top-five quarterback today and is the best young quarterback in the NFL not named Patrick Mahomes. Even if the Falcons don’t have the roster to win a Super Bowl with Deshaun in 2021, Fontenot is more than capable of building one through the draft and free agency in the coming years.
Fontenot could offer Matt Ryan, the fourth overall pick in 2021, and more future draft capital. The Texans could use the fourth overall pick to select their future franchise quarterback and have whoever sit behind Matty Ice to learn how to be a pro. If Matthew Stafford cost the Rams two first-round picks and a third, the Falcons would have to give up at least four future first-round picks, and four future third-round picks.
Even if fans think Terry Fontenot shouldn’t mortgage the organizations’ future away, acquiring Deshaun Watson would be a franchise-altering move — in a supremely positive way. Literally, any general manager should give an arm and a leg for a franchise quarterback in his early 20’s like Patrick Mahomes or Deshaun Watson — deal with the consequences later. Even if the Falcons couldn’t spend high draft picks to bolster the team, Watson on this current 2021 roster wins nine games and makes the playoffs as a Wild Card.
The offense with Deshaun Watson, Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley, Hayden Hurst, and whichever running back is brought in is a scary group with Arthur Smith at the helm. The defense would be the only issue in terms of success, which could be addressed in future drafts and free agencies.