Deshaun Watson and the Browns are dealing with a shit storm as the star quarterback faces 26 civil lawsuits for sexual misconduct. However, it could’ve been the Falcons coping with this disaster.
The wake following Watson has continued to grow, but the Falcons haven’t been attached to the former Clemson Tiger in months after the Atlanta media thrashed Arthur Smith, Terry Fontenot, and Arthur Blank about their interest level. 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 even to name Watson.
Blank infamously turned to the same damage control, downplaying the situation, saying the team spoke with Watson on a 75-minute phone call, and that was it. If Watson had decided he wanted to play in Atlanta, “We would have done a lot more work. But we did do work,” Blank said.
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.
Adding to the list of players who made decisions on where to sign based on Watson’s landing spot is Jadeveon Clowney, who told the Cleveland media that he would’ve ended up in Atlanta if the Falcons traded for Watson.
Jadeveon Clowney admitted today he’s here because Watson is here. Added he’d probably be a Falcon if Deshaun ended up in Atlanta pic.twitter.com/ntKddX3RE9
— Anthony Lima (@SportsBoyTony) June 16, 2022
Clowney is a mercenary at this point in his career. He’ll probably sign short-term deals for the rest of his career. On a one-year contract, though, Clowney might not even play with Watson this year, who I believe won’t play a single snap in the 2022 regular season. Still, Falcons fans should be happy they don’t have to defend a person with the kind of allegations Watson is dealing with; it is interesting to imagine where the team would be had they traded for him, though.