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Arthur Blank: Lamar Jackson situation “very different” than Deshaun Watson pursuit

Mike Florio and Chris Simms dive into the current favorites for where Lamar Jackson could be traded, and question why there’s been “crickets” across the board.

Shortly after the Ravens used the non-exclusive franchise tag on quarterback Lamar Jackson, there was a report that the Falcons would not pursue Jackson this offseason and some were surprised by that given how avidly they pursued a trade for Deshaun Watson in 2022.

There’s been no sign of a change in the team’s thinking and Falcons owner Arthur Blank said the two situations were “very different” while at the league meetings on Tuesday. He said that there is “no question” that Jackson is “one of the top quarterbacks in the league,” but that it was a “different player, different time” than last offseason. Blank also questioned Jackson’s durability.

“Looking at it objectively I’d say there’s some concern over how long can he play his style of game,” Blank said, via Josh Kendall of “Hopefully a long time . . . but he’s missed 5, 6 games each of the last two years. Each game counts a lot in our business.”

Watson was suspended for the first 11 games of last season as a result of sexual misconduct allegations and has dealt with two torn ACLs since his freshman season at Clemson, but availability was less of a concern when the Falcons were trying to trade for him last year.

During an interview on 92.9 The Game, Blank said that the team is “coming out of an era where 25 percent of our cap was tied up in one player” and that “part of our recognition” with Jackson was that they were limited in what moves they could make as a result of that roster construction.

Desmond Ridder has a far lower cap number and the 2022 third-rounder is currently atop the depth chart at quarterback. Blank said Ridder has “continued to show us everything we need to and beyond that to the point” that the team is comfortable moving forward with him as their starter.