Home US SportsNFL Atlanta Falcons reject rebuild talk, eye ‘transition’ year after Matt Ryan trade

Atlanta Falcons reject rebuild talk, eye ‘transition’ year after Matt Ryan trade

Atlanta Falcons reject rebuild talk, eye ‘transition’ year after Matt Ryan trade

The Atlanta Falcons, days after buying and selling away franchise quarterback Matt Ryan, acknowledged Wednesday they’re within the midst of a franchise-wide transition.

Whereas basic supervisor Terry Fontenot and coach Arthur Smith had been loath to make use of the phrase “rebuilding,” Fontenot did say the franchise is “taking it on the chin this year” by way of the crew’s useless cash.

Atlanta faces dead-money costs of over $62 million after the commerce Monday that despatched Ryan to the Colts and the 2021 cope with the Titans that despatched former star receiver Julio Jones to Tennessee.

However the Falcons do not take a look at it as rebuilding. It’s, Fontenot mentioned, “not something that we ever want to say.” However no matter how management needs to categorise it, the Falcons clearly are coming into a time of transition.

“I don’t know what coach is going to coach a team and say, ‘Hey guys, we’re rebuilding,'” Smith mentioned. “I understand where we’re at — we’re in transition. And there is certain elements, you are, you’re constantly rebuilding in the NFL. Your roster changes year to year so much.

“It is extra of a crew philosophy within the gamers that we’ve got right here competing each day and the coaches. So I perceive you are speaking about big-picture, and I am not dismissing that. However I am simply speaking about your cost once you’re within the Nationwide Soccer League: Our goal is to win soccer video games.”

Nowhere is that more apparent for the Falcons than at quarterback, where the Falcons traded Ryan, signed 2015 No. 2 pick Marcus Mariota and pursued a possible trade for Deshaun Watson.

The Falcons, who dealt Ryan for a third-round draft pick, said the 14-year veteran was involved in the conversations about his potential trade — in terms of allowing him to talk with other teams and to identify destinations where he would like to play.

Fontenot said that Atlanta had considered trading Ryan before the possibility of acquiring Watson presented itself and that when they decided to deal the former MVP, they wanted him to have a say — even if it meant perhaps not getting as much compensation as the Falcons might have gotten elsewhere.

“We might have had a drawn-out course of and shopped him and gone via this and traded him someplace he did not wish to be,” Fontenot said. “However we talked about it. We mentioned if we will go down this street, we wish to do proper by Matt. And he needs to be concerned in it.”

Smith also said he’s excited to work with Mariota, who signed with the Falcons hours after the Ryan trade. Mariota previously played under Smith in Tennessee when he was the offensive coordinator in 2019 — the same year Mariota was demoted to a backup role behind Ryan Tannehill.

“There’s been a number of development from him and myself,” Smith said. “I imply, sarcastically, [Mariota and Tannehill] are utterly totally different gamers, however Ryan Tannehill was on this scenario when he obtained there. So Marcus is a high-end expertise, similar to Ryan was, he was a first-round choose and he is in a distinct spot in his profession.

“I trust Marcus, and Marcus, he’s going to come in here and he’s going to give us everything he’s got. He’s got a high-end talent, and he understands what’s happened in the past. He’s learned from them, I’ve learned from them and you feel excited about the opportunity.”

Fontenot, although, mentioned the Falcons will add at the very least yet another quarterback — the one ones on the roster now are Mariota and second-year professional Feleipe Franks — both via free company or in subsequent month’s draft.

Fontenot did say “we’re not going to reach and do something that we’re not excited about.” The Falcons attended Malik Willis‘ professional day Tuesday at Liberty and plan to additionally attend professional days this week for Matt Corral at Ole Miss and Desmond Ridder at Cincinnati.

Whereas the Falcons might need been contemplating transferring Ryan earlier than turning into concerned within the Watson commerce talks, that pursuit — which was made public — did make it clear the Falcons had been involved in making a transfer.

Fontenot and Smith declined to say whether or not they spoke with any of the 22 girls who’ve filed lawsuits in Harris County, Texas, towards Watson with allegations starting from sexual assault to inappropriate conduct or with the ladies’s legal professional, Tony Buzbee. In addition they wouldn’t say whether or not they learn any of the 22 complaints. Buzbee advised ESPN on Sunday that he had not spoken with any NFL groups.

“We’re not going to get into our process,” Smith mentioned. “We wouldn’t in any potential trades with any potential player. We understand the seriousness of the questions you’re asking, but we’re also not going to comment on an ongoing civil case.”

Fontenot did say, although, that when the Falcons regarded into Watson, the franchise’s decision-makers “made a collective decision” they needed to “explore” a commerce for him. At no level, Fontenot mentioned, did the Falcons really feel they had been going to have Watson in Atlanta for positive.

Fontenot mentioned that had Watson chosen Atlanta, it was “such a layered process” — which might have included negotiations with the Texans and “more exploring” — that it would not have been so simple as Watson saying he needed to play with the Falcons.

Atlanta didn’t land Watson, although, and as an alternative ended up buying and selling Ryan and buying Mariota, setting forth a transition that franchise management knew was going to return ultimately.

“Our charge is not to be stuck in this kind of limbo area,” Smith mentioned. “We’re going to build this thing the right way. And we’re going to be competitive this year. That’s our charge, as a team, as a coach, nobody’s sitting there saying rebuild.”

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