Report: Falcons prioritized doing right by Matt Ryan, not maximizing trade compensation


The Falcons are facing an onslaught of criticism regarding their pursuit of Deshaun Watson and the resulting fallout with Matt Ryan, and rightfully so. Atlanta’s brass alienated a faction of the fan base by just inquiring about Watson, then created disdain within another part of the fan base when they didn’t land him.

After it was all said and done, the Falcons turned their attention to Matt Ryan, who, by all accounts, deserved to be traded to a contender. Reports surfaced that Ryan demanded a new three-year contract, that he had a no-trade clause in his current deal, and that the team was trying to make Ryan feel wanted in Atlanta.

All were false. As time revealed how the situation truly transpired, it became clear the Falcons were in no position to do anything other than trade Ryan. Arthur Smith and Terry Fontenot’s first press conference since the Ryan trade and Watson saga was Wednesday morning, and it was discouraging, to say the least.

Fontenot downplayed the team’s interest in Watson, which is categorically false. Several verified reports said the Falcons thought they had Watson and vice versa, then in the final minutes, Cleveland came in with a boatload of cash to steal him away. Fontenot and Smith also made it seem like they were the nice guys by trading Ryan to a Super Bowl contender, which, from a PR standpoint, is the right thing to say. Fontenot went as far as to say it was more important to do right by Matt Ryan than to maximize compensation.

I just can’t believe that. Just two weeks ago, the Falcons were fully planning on keeping Ryan and even had a contract restructure written up. Then, Watson showed interest in coming home to Atlanta, which Arthur Blank pursued. They didn’t get him; now, the regime is trying to save face by “doing right by Matt.”

I don’t buy it. The Falcons are a mess, and my confidence in this regime is at an all-time low.

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