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Saints, Falcons failed pursuits of Deshaun Watson prove to be best-case scenario

The Saints and Falcons were finalists to land Deshaun Watson before the Browns swooped in with a mega-deal in March. Now, they're breathing a sigh of relief.

CLEVELAND — With the latest new developments in the investigation into Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson, former "finalists" for Watson, the Saints and Falcons, are now breathing a sigh of relief.

The New York Times reported that the former Texans and now Browns quarterback met with more massage therapists than previously reported.

The number they’re quoting is 66 women over the course of 17 months. They’re basing that off of the original 24 who sued him along with other women mentioned in court and through depositions, as well as independent interviews with the New York Times.

The Times report also alleges that the Texans provided Watson with a membership to a club where some of the massages took place and that a Texans employee gave Watson a non-disclosure agreement that the former Texans QB would use in some of the appointments. 

The report from the Times comes one day after we learned of the 24th woman to file a lawsuit against Watson. The Associated Press reported the 24th woman filed a civil lawsuit Monday alleging sexual misconduct by Watson, who is also awaiting possible discipline from the NFL.

Looking back to March, just before the Browns swooped in and traded for Watson with a mega guaranteed money deal, it was the Saints and Falcons who were said to be the two finalists for Watson to choose from.

With the latest woman joining the lawsuit, and the reporting from the Times on Tuesday, the Saints and Falcons must be feeling some relief their pursuits for Watson failed.

"New Orleans Saints Deshaun Watson Pursuit Falling Through Was Best-Case Scenario" | Locked On Saints podcast

Locked On Saints podcast host Ross Jackson discusses this on Wednesday's show. 

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“We talked about this," Jackson said. "If the New Orleans Saints were going to make that move and make that decision then they were banking on the idea that everything was just going to fall off and get left in the dust somehow or another and it doesn’t seem that’s the case.”

Now the Cleveland Browns and their $230 million fully guaranteed contract have to deal with that. Although, new allegations may end up negating some of Watson’s fully guaranteed money.

Jackson said the failed pursuit of Watson not only keeps them out of that mess, but has allowed them to build a competitive roster this offseason.

“I truly believe the best move the Saints made this offseason was the move they didn’t end up making in trading for Deshaun Watson,” Jackson said.

Their additions after Watson joined the Browns include re-signing Jameis Winston, re-signing Tre-Quan Smith, signed Tyrann Mathieu and signing Jarvis Landry. Among other depth pieces.

“All of those things were all done with the salary cap space that was used to effectively get ready for a potential trade for Deshaun Watson,” Jackson said.

They also were able to beef up draft capital, and were able to go for the trade with the Eagles in order to pick up an extra first round pick. So you can throw Chris Olave and Trevor Penning into that question as well. All while right now, there’s a possibility that Watson never hits the field in 2022.

"The Atlanta Falcons' Fans Should Be Furious At Arthur Blank" | A to Z With Mark Zinno

On the A to Z with Mark Zinno podcast on Locked On Sports Atlanta, Zinno said Falcons fans should be furious at Falcons owner Arthur Blank, following their failed pursuit of Watson.

“When the Falcons were pursuing Deshaun Watson and (Blank) was questioned about it after, he seemed to downplay the team’s level of interest," Zinno said.

“I think for us, to the level of pursuit that we had, the exploratory stage, I think was the right thing to do,” Blank said in April. “Would it have made sense to go further than that? It would depend on, you know, what a much more intensive process would have revealed or discussions we would have had. . . . The word ‘explore’ is the key word. I would say exploring it, and we matched the amount of work we were doing to the word exploring. And it wasn’t more than that. It wasn’t less than that."

Zinno said he wasn’t buying Blank's comments then about only doing “exploratory” research on the potential acquisition of Watson. Of course if it played out that Watson chose the Falcons as the team he wanted to go to, would the Falcons have said they needed to take time for further research about the allegations against him? That, in turn, would likely lead to Watson moving on from Atlanta.

“I don’t believe it,” Zinno said of Blank’s comments. “And if I do believe it, it signals one of two things, either you’re a bad businessman because you didn’t do your homework on a major acquisition for your company…or you just didn’t care. Either way, it’s a sign of bad ownership, it’s a sign of bad judgment. It’s a sign of bad decision making.”

Zinno said what Falcons fans should be even more furious about, is that this was done at the expense of “the best Falcon in team history,” Matt Ryan, who has said there’s a good chance he would still be in Atlanta if not for the pursuit of Watson.

“You were willing to toss him aside like old lunch, because we got something better that we didn’t bother to do any research on,” Zinno said. “That’s what should have Falcons fans ticked off today.”

“You wanted (Watson),” Zinno said. “You had a chance to get him. You didn’t do your homework. And you got lucky because he chose somebody else.”

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'Deshaun Watson should not step foot on an NFL field again' | Locked On Sports Today

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