One would think the Atlanta Falcons are now the presumptive favorite to trade for Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson.
Josina Anderson reported on Friday the “Falcons brass has ‘keys to the city’ to bring a trade home with Deshaun Watson.” Atlanta was one of four teams to suffice Houston’s demands by submitting an initial trade proposal to the Texans. While the New Orleans Saints are in the mix for him, the Cleveland Browns and the Carolina Panthers have been eliminated from conversation.
Watson grew up in Gainesville, Georgia and knows the Blank Family from his days as a Falcons ball boy back in high school. Keep in mind that he reached out to them first about potentially coming aboard.
A series of moves made in the last 24 to 48 hours likely indicates Watson is coming home.
Deshaun Watson rumors: Atlanta Falcons favored to land Texans quarterback
Anderson is not alone in thinking Atlanta is the clear favorite to land Watson. So many things the Falcons have done since Thursday probably means he will be traded to the Dirty Birds at some point. These moves would include signing cornerback Casey Hayward, Kyle Pitts’ interesting Twitter activity and of course, Matt Ryan agreeing to delay a $7.5 million payment until Tuesday.
Hayward is an Athletes First client, represented by David Mulugheta. He represents Watson as well as two of the Falcons’ best players, cornerback A.J. Terrell and Pitts. Though Terrell might be in the trade package to Houston to bring Watson to Atlanta, they share the same representation and the same alma mater, Clemson University. Of course, Ryan must be traded first for this to happen.
Dirty Bird Nation has accepted that the Ryan era in Flowery Branch is over. He is arguably the greatest player in franchise history. Ryan will go into the Ring of Honor and possibly have his No. 2 jersey retired by the organization in his hall-of-fame career. Of course, The Blanks want to do right by him and send him to a franchise he would be willing to play for. There are a few spots in mind.
The Indianapolis Colts make the most sense, but keep in mind they are division rivals with Houston, so that could play a part in putting together fair trade compensation. Why would Indianapolis help out Houston willingly? Other trade destinations include the Cleveland Browns, the San Francisco 49ers, the Seattle Seahawks or even Ryan’s hometown Philadelphia Eagles.
And this right here is why it will probably be Atlanta and not New Orleans who wins the Watson sweepstakes. It would not be taking this long if it were the Saints. They do not have to unload a gargantuan contract like the Falcons have to do with Ryan. Not only that, but Atlanta has to delicately figure out a place to trade what is in all likelihood its greatest franchise cornerstone.
Yes, we are entering a reality where Freddie Freeman and Ryan will no longer be integral parts of the Atlanta sports fabric. Freeman is back in Los Angeles, while former Parkview star Matt Olson takes over a first base. Not to say Ryan is going back to Philadelphia, but his departure likely means Watson is coming home. Atlanta may trade Ryan anyway, but Watson is probably a Falcon.
Once Ryan is inevitably traded, expect for Watson to be the next marquee quarterback to be dealt.