Veteran quarterback Matt Ryan would likely still be with the Atlanta Falcons had the team not tried to trade for Deshaun Watson.
“Pretty good chance,” Ryan said on the Ryen Russillo podcast.
Instead, Ryan was traded to the Indianapolis Colts, and Watson was traded from the Houston Texans to the Cleveland Browns. And now, Atlanta has neither.
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Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) warms up before an NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints, Sunday, Jan. 9, 2022, in Atlanta.
(AP Photo/Danny Karnik, File)
Ryan said the Falcons informed him they were looking to trade for Watson. And that was about the time he decided he should be elsewhere for the start of next season.
MATT RYAN EXPLAINS FALCONS EXIT, SAYS COLTS WERE FIRST OPTION HE EXPLORED
“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,” Ryan said. “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.”
Cleveland Browns general manager Andrew Berry, left, new quarterback Deshaun Watson, center, and head coach Kevin Stefanski pose for a photo during a news conference at the NFL football team’s training facility, Friday, March 25, 2022, in Berea, Ohio.
(AP Photo/Ron Schwane)
Ryan, 36, has only played for the Falcons since entering the NFL in 2008.
He has started all 222 games in which he’s appeared. That includes all 17 last season and all 16 the year before that.
He also of course led the Falcons to Super Bowl LI in 2016, when they blew a 28-3 lead to Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.
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Indianapolis Colts quarterback Matt Ryan speaks during a press conference at the NFL team’s practice facility in Indianapolis, Tuesday, March 22, 2022.
(AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
But it’s time for a new chapter for Ryan, who is now on the back nine of his career. It is a fresh start in a fresh place.