Still in contention to acquire Deshaun Watson, the Falcons continue to meet with potential supporting-casters for him (or Matt Ryan). In addition to its Jarvis Landry meeting, Atlanta is hosting wideout Tre’Quan Smith, D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution notes.
A four-year Saints cog, Smith arrived in Atlanta on Thursday. The Falcons are also meeting with ex-Saints offensive lineman Nick Easton, Aaron Wilson of ProFootballNetwork.com tweets. Easton spent two seasons with the Saints.
The Saints and Falcons are viewed as the favorites for Watson, who has also met with the Panthers. The winner of these sweepstakes will be sending the Texans a historic trade package, one that is expected to include three first-round picks and additional assets. Watson’s $39MM-per-year contract will also be on an NFC South team’s books soon, creating a need for some cost-effective contributors. Smith and Easton qualify.
Although a Smith touchdown doubled as one of Drew Brees‘ record-setting sequences, he could not establish himself as a consistent weapon in New Orleans. The former third-round pick did not have a 500-yard receiving season in four Saints years, with injuries intervening at points as well. Smith missed six games last season and caught 32 passes for 377 yards and three touchdowns. The 6-foot-2 Central Florida product does have 17 career TD grabs, however.
Calvin Ridley‘s gambling suspension and Russell Gage‘s Buccaneers defection leave the Falcons quite thin at receiver. Landry remains unsigned. Even if the five-time Pro Bowler joins the Falcons, they will need additional help at the position.
Easton spent last season out of football but has extensive experience as a starter. The Saints added the ex-Vikings guard starter as a swing player but used him as a 15-game starter during the 2019 and ’20 seasons. Easton’s market stalled in April 2021, and his year away surely will limit his opportunities. But the Falcons are interested. Pro Football Focus rated Atlanta’s O-line 27th last season, with rookie left guard Jalen Mayfield drawing one of the site’s worst overall grades. Right guard Chris Lindstrom fared much better, but the Falcons could still use help up front.