Arthur Blank explains why Falcons aren't pursuing Lamar Jackson despite going after Deshaun Watson a year ago

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Despite being simply a year eliminated from being among the 4 groups to toss their hat into the Deshaun Watson sweepstakes, Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank stated at the NFL owners conferences Tuesday that his franchise would not pursue trading for Lamar Jackson, the 26-year-old, previous consentaneous NFL MVP quarterback. Blank included that the Jackson scenario is “very different” than Watson’s in 2015.

“Different player, different time,” Blank stated Tuesday, by means of The Athletic. “You have a winner (in Jackson), a MVP in the league. There’s no question he’s one of the top quarterbacks in the league.

“Looking at it objectively, I’d state there’s some issue over for how long can he play his design of video game. Hopefully a very long time … however he’s missed out on 5, 6 video games each of the last 2 years. Each video game counts a lot in our organization”

Watson missed the entire 2021 season and was suspended for the first 11 games of the 2022 campaign as a result of his then-pending litigation involving allegations of sexual misconduct. Watson, unlike Jackson, has suffered multiple torn ACLs — one in 2014 when he was at Clemson and one in 2017 when he was a rookie with the Houston Texans. His availability (or lack thereof) didn’t appear to make much of a difference for Atlanta last offseason. Now, Watson’s five-year, fully-guaranteed $230 million contract he signed upon being acquired by the Cleveland Browns appears to be more of an issue this time around since Jackson has actually been not able to come to terms with the Ravens’ deals of less than a fully-guaranteed offer. 

Blank likewise mentioned that quarterback Desmond Ridder, the group’s third-round choice in the 2022 NFL Draft, has “continued to show us everything we need to and beyond that to the point” of feeling great about Ridder as their starter getting in the upcoming season. Atlanta likewise signed previous Washington Commanders quarterback Taylor Heinicke to a two-year, $14 million agreement this offseason to be Ridder’s backup. However, neither the 30-year-old Heinicke nor the 23-year-old Ridder have anything from another location near a NFL MVP to their name like Jackson made in 2019. 

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