Matt Ryan: 'Pretty Good Chance' I'd Still Be on Falcons If ATL Hadn't Pursued Watson

Adam WellsMay 3, 2022

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Matt Ryan speaks during a news conference at the NFL team's practice facility in Indianapolis, Tuesday, March 22, 2022. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
AP Photo/Michael Conroy

The ripple effects of the Deshaun Watson trade negotiations have had a profound impact on multiple quarterbacks this offseason. 

Appearing on The Ryen Russillo Podcast (h/t Myles Simmons of Pro Football Talk), Matt Ryan said there's a "pretty good chance" he would still be with the Atlanta Falcons if they hadn't pursued a trade for Watson. 

"When free agency starts to pick up and they start to look into what they want to do, I kind of got filled into the loop that they were going to look into Deshaun Watson," he added. "And then at that point, I said, OK, I understand. But I also need to look into what I need to look into. And, if this doesn’t go down, find out if this is probably still the best fit for me."

The Falcons, Cleveland Browns, New Orleans Saints and Carolina Panthers were the four teams reportedly in the mix for Watson. 

Per The Athletic's Jeff Howe, Watson's initial final two came down to Atlanta and New Orleans. 

The Browns eventually landed Watson after giving him a fully guaranteed five-year, $230 million contract. They also sent six draft picks, including three first-rounders from 2022 to 2024, to the Houston Texans in the trade. 

When the Browns first began negotiating for Watson, Baker Mayfield told ESPN's Adam Schefter he requested a trade from the organization because the "relationship is too far gone to mend" and it was "in the best interests of both sides to move on."

Cleveland initially declined Mayfield's request when it didn't appear Watson was going to play for the team. After the deal came together, the front office has been trying to move Mayfield, with no takers stepping up thus far. 

Ryan's divorce from the Falcons seems far more amicable than what Mayfield is going through with Cleveland. 

After making his feelings to the Atlanta organization clear, the team acted quickly to work out a trade with the Indianapolis Colts for a 2022 third-round draft pick.

The Falcons signed Marcus Mariota in free agency and drafted Desmond Ridder in the third round to fill out their quarterback depth chart this season. 

Ryan spent the first 14 seasons of his career with the Falcons. He was originally selected with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2008 NFL draft.

The Boston College alum went to four Pro Bowls, won the 2016 MVP award and led the team to the playoffs six times, including an appearance in Super Bowl LI. He is the Falcons' all-time leader in passing yards (59,735), passing touchdowns (367), games played (222) and wins (120).