The last time the Falcons drafted in the top 5 was in 2008 when quarterback Matt Ryan went third-overall to Atlanta.
This year the Falcons hold the No. 4 overall pick. The question as to whether or not the Falcons will draft a quarterback first continues to linger.
According to ex-Atlanta Falcons head coach from 1994-1996, June Jones, it is time the Falcons draft address their QB situation with the No. 4 pick or even a trade. Either way, getting a quarterback is their main priority.
“I think the Falcons need to draft a quarterback, and I think Matt Ryan is tradeable with his contract, and I think they would have some takers,” Jones said in a recent interview with Fox News. “He still can move a little bit. He’s an active passer. He did well on, really to be quite honest, a bad football team.”
Atlanta finished the year at the bottom of the NFC South division with a 4-12 season record, which marked the club’s third straight losing season. Falcons’ owner made some adjustments in Week 5 after going 0-5 and fired GM Thomas Dimitroff and head coach Dan Quinn. Still, the Falcons struggled to get back on track.
“They weren’t the same offensive team as they were when they went to the Super Bowl. They’ve lost a lot of players and a lot of guys and they’re just not quite the same group on offense,” Jones said.
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Matt Ryan Could Win a Super Bowl Elsewhere
Ryan has been a staple to the city of Atlanta and Falcons fans as he’s served as a reliable quarterback for over a decade, but at 36-years-old and no Super Bowl ring, it could be time he starts over elsewhere. Meanwhile, Atlanta deserves to start over from scratch with a new quarterback and new head coach Arthur Smith taking over.
“I think Matt Ryan might be kinda in the Tom Brady situation. Find a place and try to get [to the Super Bowl].”
“I think Chicago (Bears) would be real interested in Matt Ryan,” Jones added.
While there have been zero real negations linking Ryan to the Bears, it could potentially work. But what would it cost Chicago?
A trade package could be that the Bears acquire Matt Ryan and in return, the Falcons would get Chicago’s 2021 first and sixth-round pick along with 2022’s first or a third-round pick.
This would be a quality trade considering 2021’s draft class is stacked with QB talent well int the third round. The Falcons could use their “best player available” motive with the No. 4 pick and address their offensive line with Oregan’s star offensive tackle, Penei Sewell. Then with Chicago’s No. 10 pick, they could grab their future franchise quarterback out of North Dakota State, Trey Lance. That would kill two birds with one stone for Atlanta. Also, any extra draft capital would help Atlanta while the franchise enters a complete makeover that could take a few seasons to complete.
In return, the Bears would get a solid passer which they haven’t had in several seasons and Ryan could pull a Tom Brady and take the Bears further than they’ve been in a very long time. A Super Bowl might be too far-fetched, but hey, nobody saw the Bucs winning it all.
Of course, this is all hypothetical and likely won’t happen, but never say never because after watching the Matthew Stafford trade go down, anything is possible.
The Reality of Matt Ryan’s Contract
Of course, Matt Ryan is “tradeable” but it isn’t that easy. If the Falcons were to trade him this year, Atlanta would take a huge penalty of over $40 million in dead cap space.
However, if the Falcons waited until after June 1st to trade Ryan, it would cost the team around an $18 million cap hit for this season and once again next season. Still, the Falcons are already in “cap hell,” so they genuinely can’t afford to take any more hits, and acquiring more picks or a star player won’t make up for the money loss. Next year will be their best bet to get serious about trading Ryan.
The upside? Keeping Ryan around might not be that bad with Smith at OC now.
Smith plans on running a similar offense to when Niners’ head coach Kyle Shanahan was the Falcons’ offensive coordinator in 2016. That season, Ryan completed 69.9% of his passes for 4,944 yards, 38 touchdowns, and seven interceptions. He was named MVP and led the Falcons to a Super Bowl, despite a miserable loss that they will never live down.