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The Atlanta Falcons still had Matt Ryan under contract when they decided to pursue Deshaun Watson last offseason, which led to many assuming the team would go after free-agent quarterback Lamar Jackson in 2023.

However, once the Baltimore Ravens placed the non-exclusive franchise tag on Jackson, the Falcons were one of the first teams to come out and say they weren’t interested. Jackson, 26, is a former league MVP with a career record of 45-16, although he can’t seem to find a team willing to pay him what he’s worth.

When asked why Atlanta was not interested in Jackson despite making a run at Watson last offseason, Falcons owner Arthur Blank said that they are “very different” situations.

Falcons owner Arthur Blank said Tuesday Lamar Jackson’s situation is “very different” from Deshaun Watson’s last year. “Different player, different time. 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.”

— Josh Kendall (@JoshTheAthletic) March 28, 2023

Blank would go on to highlight Jackson’s injury history and style of play as reasons the team won’t be pursuing him, as you can see in ESPN’s tweet below.

Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank explained why they are not attempting to acquire Lamar Jackson. pic.twitter.com/6FxRgd6bTJ

— ESPN (@espn) March 29, 2023

Jackson has missed five games each of the last two seasons, however, his contract status may have played a role in his decision not to play with an injured PCL in 2023.

As for Watson, he missed nearly two seasons after being placed on the commissioner’s exempt list due to having over 20 sexual misconduct allegations against him.

Since these allegations weren’t enough to stop the Falcons from going after Watson, it was somewhat surprising to see them bow out of the Jackson sweepstakes so early. The former first-round pick took to Twitter to defend his record and decision to sit out at the end of last season.

I don’t remember me sitting out on my guys week 1 vs jets To week 12 vs Broncos. How come all of a sudden I sit out because of money in which I could’ve got hurt at anytime within that time frame 🤔 When we know the Super Bowl been on my mind since April 2018.

— Lamar Jackson (@Lj_era8) March 29, 2023

Let’s get real. I rather have a 100% PCL than go out there and play horrible forcing myself to put my guys in a bad situation now that’s selfish to me.

— Lamar Jackson (@Lj_era8) March 29, 2023

Atlanta is moving forward with second-year quarterback Desmond Ridder as the starter. Head coach Arthur Smith said he expects Ridder to take the next step in his development this season.

Ridder started the final four games of the 2022 season, throwing for 708 passing yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions. The Falcons also signed wide receivers Mack Hollins and Scotty Miller, and traded for tight end Jonnu Smith from the Patriots.

On Wednesday, the team signed free-agent defensive end Calais Campbell to a one-year deal.

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