It may still seem like a long shot for now, but the Tampa Bay Buccaneers should be very concerned about the Atlanta Falcons’ record.
The Atlanta Falcons are currently 0-5 and look like one of the worst teams in football. With an extremely tough remainder of their season still on the table, there is a genuine chance that the Falcons could finish the 2020 NFL season with one of the worst records in the league, and the Buccaneers need to start hoping for a change.
With one of the most potent offensive units in the NFL and some young defensive stars, this status is questionable, but the Falcons have looked very bad over the first five weeks of the season.
After firing their head coach and general manager, the outlook for the rest of the season looks very poor for the Falcons, but this season has a unique prize in store for the worst team in the league.
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As it stands, the most-hyped draft pick in recent memory, Trevor Lawrence, is set to be the number one overall draft pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. Other than a handful of teams, very few GMs or coaches would pass on Lawrence. No one wants to take on the blame as the individual that passed on so much potential, even teams with established quarterbacks on their roster.
Matt Ryan is set to be the quarterback in Atlanta until 2024, but even a player like Ryan isn’t safe if Lawrence is on the board. Despite millions of guaranteed dollars in salary coming Ryan’s way, the Falcons would be unable to pass up the opportunity if they end with the first pick.
Matt Ryan is still playing at a high level, but the team would have little justification in keeping him over Lawrence, especially if they lose out to finish in last place. This is an unlikely scenario, as the New York teams have looked horrid this year, but it is not impossible.
The Falcons could take a loss on Ryan in a massively mismatched trade to offset his cost or figure out a different way to move on from their long-tenured captain to make room for the rookie that could change the entire trajectory of most teams in the NFL. With a new head coach and general manager incoming, is this really the most unrealistic thing for the Falcons to do?
This is the worst nightmare for the Buccaneers.
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It may be tough to stomach, but the possibility of playing Lawrence twice a year for a decade or longer could leave most Buccaneers fans in a cold sweat. It may even have them rooting for the Falcons to win games so that Lawrence won’t be available.
If the Falcons do win a few matchups, Ryan will continue to eat up mountains of cap space and age, which is the best scenario for Tampa Bay. But if the Falcons can’t pull out any wins down the stretch, Atlanta may be forced into a scenario where Lawrence is the only option regardless of money, and there are very few worse things that can happen to the Buccaneers.