NFC Notes: Deshaun Watson, Buccaneers, Falcons, Panthers, Saints

Deshaun Watson

  • The Athletic’s Jason Lloyd writes there were 13 teams that initially expressed interest to the Texans in trading for QB Deshaun Watson. He reviewed the rosters of all 13 and cut it down to five.
  • The Texans eliminated one of those teams because they were in the division. Other reports have said the Colts were denied permission to meet with Watson. The final four teams were the Browns, Falcons, Panthers and Saints.  
  • As far as the football pitch, the Browns highlighted their youth and the building blocks they have on both sides of the ball, compared to a team like the Saints which were also set up for success but on the older side. Cleveland felt the Falcons were their biggest competition though and Lloyd says Atlanta went hard on the sentimental pitch, using photos of Watson as a ballboy with them growing up. 
  • Still, the Browns were the first team eliminated, as Watson had reservations about going to Cleveland, especially because his only game there was in awful weather. He did love their roster though and Lloyd points out that was key in him circling back to the Browns later. 
  • Once Browns GM Andrew Berry heard the Panthers were eliminated because they refused to guarantee the third and fourth year of Watson’s contract, he saw that as an opportunity to re-engage. The new five-year, $230 million guaranteed deal is what got the Browns back in it and ultimately secured Watson. 
  • Lloyd adds Watson’s camp did not shop that offer to the other teams still in the race, which were the Saints and Falcons. One of those teams called his agent and asked why they didn’t get the opportunity to match, because they would have, and the response was Watson wanted to go to Cleveland. 


Buccaneers WR Chris Godwin told reporters that he doesn’t have a timetable for his return from his ACL injury.

“I don’t have one in mind quite yet,” he said via Rick Stroud. “This is my first time ever going through this. I’m not really sure what those kind of time lines look like. I’m not really sure. I’m just kind of taking it one day at a time. It’s a long process and I think projecting far in the future, it can be a bit daunting. I’m trying to keep my positivity and trying to enjoy where I’m at know and enjoying the little victories.” 

  • Buccaneers GM Jason Licht was about the reports of friction between HC Bruce Arians and QB Tom Brady. Licht said they didn’t really think or talk much about it inside the building: “There’s always gonna be some friction between people on a staff and players and a coach. It’s just normal.” (Jenna Laine)
  • Licht added that Brady knew the front office would do everything to put the best team on the field if he returned. (Rick Stroud)
  • As for how they reacted to the news of Brady unretiring, Licht said: “Sense of relief.” (Sara Walsh)
  • Licht declined to say whether they will add another year to Brady’s contract: “We’ll get to that when we get to it.” (Rick Stroud)
  • Licht said they tried to sign DB Logan Ryan in free agency two years ago and couldn’t, but they’re excited to have him joining their secondary. They view him as a safety in their defense. (Greg Auman)
  • Licht also mentioned that they would love to have RB Leonard Fournette back but talks are ongoing. (Stroud)
  • Texas A&M RB Isaiah Spiller had a formal Combine interview with the Buccaneers and the team has had steady contact with him throughout the pre-draft process. (Aaron Wilson)


  • ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports former Falcons QB Matt Ryan never asked the Falcons for a new contract. He felt like the time had come to move on from Atlanta and agreed to sign off on a trade to Indianapolis because he felt like the Colts have a roster that’s built to win now.
  • Falcons OL Elijah Wilkinson signed a one-year, $1.187 million deal that includes a $152,500 signing bonus, and $1.047million guaranteed. He’ll make a base salary of $1.035million ($895,000 fully guaranteed). (Aaron Wilson)


  • ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reports the Broncos, Patriots, and Panthers all had interest in signing T La’el Collins before he opted to sign with the Bengals.
  • Panthers HC Matt Rhule is attending Pittsburgh’s Pro Day, likely to scout QB Kenny Pickett. (Brooke Pryor)
  • Panthers C Bradley Bozeman signed a one-year deal worth $2.8 million that includes a $1 million signing bonus, a $1.035 million base salary, up to $500,000 in per-game active roster bonuses and a $265,000 workout bonus. (Aaron Wilson)


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