Many of you have asked for my thoughts and opinions on what’s going on with Deshaun Watson.
I want to make clear that I’m not reporting anything here. There are simply my thoughts on the things many of you are asking.
What’s going on with Watson? It looks and feels like the Falcons have all the momentum right now. Matt Ryan pushing back his bonus deadline to Tuesday, which gives Atlanta more time to trade him should it land Watson, looks like the final precursor to this deal getting reached.
But nothing said – and I believe I’m talking to all the right people – sounds like that is about to happen. As of late last night, everyone was still saying Watson hadn’t reached a decision. Given the information I have, I believe that to be true. I don’t think anyone knows what Watson plans to do because it seems clear Watson is taking his time to reach a decision.
So, we’re all reading tea leaves here, and I’d agree the leaves read Atlanta.
But let’s present an alternate theory. What if the Falcons damaged their relationship with Ryan by pursuing Watson, and there is no coming back? Maybe they know they have to make a move and are ready to commit to a full rebuild if the Watson decision goes against them?
We’ve already seen one franchise ruin its relationship with its quarterback over Watson. A misstep in Atlanta wouldn’t be shocking.
Just a theory. Besides, some moves have happened, like restructuring Malcolm Jenkins, that once made this deal look like it was headed toward New Orleans. Totally possible everyone is just doing what they need to do to get ready for all outcomes. In Atlanta’s case, that might have been to look at how slowly everything is moving and realize that this could easily go beyond Friday afternoon.
On Thursday morning, it looked like it was all Saints after the cap moves and news of Gayle Benson meeting the quarterback came out. By night, it looked Falcons due to the moves the Falcons made to push Ryan’s bonus date back to buy time.
Maybe everyone is just riding the wave of the latest information.
Level of optimism? A few days ago, in our question-and-answer session, I wrote that smart money would be on the Saints. Since then, the people who were all sure he was coming here are now saying they don’t know how it will turn out.
Turns out, the people in the know are unsure of how things will play out, too.
This one is very much up in the air, and I think it is impossible to handicap. It could turn out either way, and I wouldn’t be surprised by anything. We just have to see how it turns out at this point.
Will the Saints get left behind at QB? I don’t think there is about to be a run on quarterbacks while the Saints wait for this to turn out.
I checked in with some of the quarterbacks on the market to get a feel for how this situation is impacting them, and they all seem content to see how the situation plays out. No one wants to sign anywhere until all dominos fall into place and they have the information needed to make the right decision.
So, if you’re worried about everyone signing other places and the Saints not having a quarterback, that seems to be an artificial concern. This market is locked up while Watson makes his decision. Whether it’s Watson, Jameis Winston or someone else, the Saints will have a quarterback next season. Waiting this out shouldn’t negatively impact their options.
Someone other than Watson might even become available via trade. There are a lot of pieces that need to fall into place.
What about receivers? Will the Saints get left behind there? I worried about this over the last couple of days, and I do think it is possible. Hard for a receiver to sign here without knowing who the quarterback is. So, on that level, yes, this is a problem.
The good news is that the market is moving slowly there, and there are still some good players available. The other thing is, even with money frozen up while the Watson decision plays out, the Saints can reach agreements with players and wait to turn in the paperwork. This really isn’t a concern financially.
What’s next? We wait.