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Falcons Best Offseason Move: Addition by Matt Ryan Subtraction?

Sometimes the way to move forward is to move backwards.

The Atlanta Falcons have had a transformative offseason to say the least.

A lot has changed in the building, especially at the quarterback position. There have been at least four players who could have been the starting quarterback at any point this offseason: Matt Ryan, Deshaun Watson, Marcus Mariota and Desmond Ridder.

But parting ways with the first name on that list is the decision that set the last three months into motion, and what The Athletic believes to be the best move the Falcons have made this offseason.

"The Falcons traded Matt Ryan to the Colts on the morning of March 21 in a messy end to a 14-year relationship," The Athletic writes. By the end of the business day, Atlanta had signed veteran quarterback Marcus Mariota. Not only did the quick move allow the Falcons to immediately turn the narrative surrounding the most important position on the field, but it also gave them a cheap veteran option who is already familiar with head coach Arthur Smith’s system thanks to their shared time in Tennessee. Mariota won’t make Atlanta better than Ryan did, but he’s universally liked and will provide some stability in what could be a bumpy season."

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By exploring the idea of acquiring Watson, it forced Ryan to rethink whether he would want to stay in Atlanta, and by striking out on Watson, it soured the relationship between Ryan and the Falcons that sealed his fate and shipped him off to Indy.

This is allowing the new era of Falcons football to begin, likely a year earlier than it could have been, which is a positive for Atlanta.

The team was not returning to winning football with a 37-year-old quarterback. It just wasn't in the cards. For the team actually able to follow through and move on from Ryan was a painful but necessary step in the rebuild to allow the Falcons to bounce back one day.