It seems the Falcons may have dodged a $230 million-sized bullet by not landing Deshaun Watson more than a year ago.
In 2022, the Browns sent three first-round picks, a third-round pick, and two fourth-round picks to the Texans to acquire Deshaun Watson, who received an unprecedented fully guaranteed, five-year, $230 million deal shortly after the trade was announced.
Though they may downplay it, Atlanta’s brass pursued Watson heavily before he landed in Cleveland. We know how close the Falcons were to landing Watson, who corresponded with Leonard Fournette and Jarvis Landry over FaceTime about joining forces on the Falcons.
A piece from The Athletic shined an even brighter light on the situation by stating, “Most within the Falcons’ building assumed Watson was theirs.”
That is as black and white as it gets, but the Falcons, and every other club that showed interest, is thanking their lucky stars right now that they didn’t go through with acquiring Deshaun Watson.
Teams like the Browns and Falcons were willing to take the media lashing for acquiring a player with that kind of baggage because he was a star on the field. That’s the reality of the NFL. If you’re good enough, you can get away with murder. However, he’s been anything but a star since arriving in Cleveland.
Outside of the abhorrent off-the-field issues, which cannot be glossed over in this, Watson has been a dud on the field for the Browns since returning from his suspension.
On Monday night, Watson had one of the worst games by a quarterback I have ever seen. He began the game with a pick-six and added a pair of facemask penalties as the Steelers defense willed Pittsburgh to victory.
Granted, his poor play last year in the final six games could’ve been chalked up to the extended absence from football. That’s fair. Maybe, you could’ve blamed it on the Week 1 fallacy and rain for his performance against the Bengals. But what are the excuses for his terrible play against the Steelers? The excuses have run out for Watson.
The fact of the matter is he’s not even close to the quarterback the Browns thought they were getting. He’s one of the worst signal callers in football and is being paid like a top 10 guy.
Outside of having to cheer for someone accused of sexual assault on several occasions, Falcons fans are surely glad their organization didn’t trade for Deshaun Watson because the ‘rust’ seems to just be a reality for the Browns at this point.
Photographer: Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire