How close were the Falcons to landing Deshaun Watson?

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The Falcons royally screwed themselves entering the Deshaun Watson sweepstakes. The initial interest alienated part of the fanbase for inquiring about a player with his off-the-field baggage. Then, losing out on him to the Browns infuriated another portion of the fanbase. Either way, Atlanta was going to face backlash.

Now, the regime is doing something far worse — lying to the public about their interest. Arthur Smith and Terry Fontenot spoke to members of the media during a press conference Wednesday morning, and some of their answers are jarring, to say the least. One reporter asked Fontenot whether he thought the Falcons were getting Watson.

“There was never a time that we felt that we were going to have that player here,” Fontenot said, who refused to even say his name. That is just ridiculous, especially when widening the scope.

Before the trade that sent Watson to Cleveland, he was reportedly very close to choosing Atlanta. So close, according to ESPN, that he corresponded with Leonard Fournette and Jarvis Landry over FaceTime about joining the Falcons.

Here’s an illustration of how close the Falcons were to getting quarterback Deshaun Watson: Several sources say Watson corresponded with free agents Jarvis Landry and Leonard Fournette about playing together in Atlanta, very possibly over FaceTime. As of Thursday night, the feeling was Watson expected to go to Atlanta. And Atlanta thought it had Watson, who was considering the pass-catching weapons who could join him there — until Cleveland came with a deal that would be nearly impossible to refuse.

It’s an unfortunate situation for all parties involved, but the least the Falcons brass could do is acknowledge their pursuit of Watson and take their thrashing from the media and fans.

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