The latest update came from ESPN’s Adam Schefter, who cited a Browns’ “team official” as his source.
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Falcons ‘Roll Out the Red Carpet’
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported on Tuesday, March 15 via “The Adam Schefter Podcast” that the Falcons were set to meet with Watson and prepared an “elaborate presentation” for him to “come home” to Atlanta.
Schefter added how he thought Watson coming back home to Atlanta would be appealing to him.
“He’s from the Atlanta area. He played high school football in that area. He served as a ball boy for the Atlanta Falcons,” Schefter said.
Watson met with the Falcons on Wednesday, March 16 where they submitted a trade proposal for the three-time Pro Bowler and according to Pro Football Network’s Aaron Wilson, Atlanta “rolled out the red carpet” during their proposal pitch.
The Falcons held the meeting at Flowery Branch, just 15 minutes away from Watson’s hometown of Gainsville. Now, Watson is said to be “incredibly torn” over who to choose after leaving “impressed by every presentation,” per PFT’s Mike Florio.
The Texans are asking for three first-round draft picks, additional draft capital, along with a starting player in return for Watson. The Falcons have just one 2022 first-round pick to offer at No.8 overall, which means they might have to give up a pair of future first-round picks.
And the even bigger problem is the Falcons’ cap space with Matt Ryan‘s contract currently looming. The Falcons are set to restructure Ryan’s deal to create a significant amount of wiggle room, but nothing has been made official just yet. However, if they do make things official with his new contract, then it frees up $12 million, per Ian Rapoport. But this still leaves Atlanta paying him $23 million in 2022, meaning they couldn’t afford to pay both him and Watson. Thus, Atlanta would likely resort to a post-June 1 trade.
As far as who Atlanta sends to Houston in the deal could help too. One player mentioned has been Grady Jarrett, whose cap hit comes out to nearly $24 million, per Spotrac.
There’s no telling exactly what Atlanta put on the table for Houston, but if they “rolled out the red carpet” they must have offered one (or two) of Atlanta’s key members.
Saints Met With Watson for a Second Time
The Saints met with Watson a second time following his meeting with the Falcons.
In fact, according to NBC Sports’ Albert Breer, the Benson flew to Atlanta to meet with Watson on Wednesday night.
By Thursday morning, the Saints had cleared a chunk of cap space restructuring the contracts of the following players:
- QB Taysom Hill
- CB Bradley Roby
- LB DeMario Davis
- S Malcolm Jenkins
The move leaves the Saints with a total of $29.9 million in cap space, according to ESPN’s Field Yates, and gives them enough space to acquire Watson.
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