On Tuesday, the Falcons made three moves after spending Monday ahead of free agency on March 17th fairly quiet.
Two of those moves were the restructuring of player contracts, including Matt Ryan’s to free up $14 million. The next one that came about was an announcement that Atlanta and defensive tackle Tyeler Davison had agreed to redo his deal, saving Atlanta an additional $2 million in cap space, according to WSB-TV’s Zach Klein.
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Davison Fits Perfectly Into Dean Pees’ Defense
So, why did Atlanta choose to keep Davison on board?
The Falcons acquired Davison in free agency during the 2019 offseason. Over the last two seasons, Davison has played in all 32 games, starting 27 of them, and has played outstandingly well on Atlanta’s run defense, playing about 50% of the defensive snaps. Davison was one of a handful of Atlanta’s cap casualties, but the team likely saw him as one of Dean Pees’ key pieces considering he can play in both a 3-4 and 4-3 role.
Davison’s contract is up in 2022 and last season wasn’t his best, but he’ll get another shot at proving himself this season on the interior alongside Grady Jarrett to, possibly, stick around Atlanta a little longer.
With the restructure of Ryan and Davison, we should expect Atlanta to pursue some players in free agency once the new league year kicks off on Wednesday.
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Falcons Reconstructed Matt Ryan’s Deal
For a second time in back-to-back offseasons, the Falcons redid Ryan’s contract. The 35-year-old was set to make $23 million this year in base salary, however, he will take just $2 million in 2021 with the remaining $21 million spread out over the next three years in guaranteed money. Ryan’s contract doesn’t expire until the end of the 2023 season.
What could be concerning is the fact that Matt Ryan likely won’t be leaving Atlanta anytime soon since his new cap hit for 2022 is expected to be near $50 million, according to NFL inside Field Yates. But, that might not be the case since we don’t know what the financial landscape may look like next season. The salary cap this season was cut down by nearly $30 million due to the COVID-19 financial hit. Hopefully, by 2022, things are back to normal, including a higher salary cap number for teams to spend.
Keeping Ryan around might not be a bad thing as he is entering his 14th season in the NFL as Atlanta’s starting quarterback and is still playing at an elite level. Just this past season, Ryan didn’t rack up many wins but that didn’t stop him from throwing for 4,581 yards and 26 touchdowns.
Atlanta is slotted to draft at No. 4 overall and they’re projected to pick their future franchise QB on the board. With Ryan slated to start, the rookie will sit behind him for at least a year and if Ryan sticks around, he might not make for a bad backup.