Matt Ryan trade rumors have been shut down, for now.
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Big Ben Calls It Quits
Most, if not all, of the Matt Ryan rumors, have him landing in Pittsburgh next season as Big Ben’s successor.
With longtime quarterback Ben Roethlisberger set to throw in the towel after this season, the Steelers will be on the hunt for a starting quarterback. And with the 2022 QB class looking weaker than last year, it looks like the Steelers will be targeting a seasoned veteran instead, which is why Ryan has been linked to Pittsburgh.
NFL insider Jeremy Fowler was one of the first analysts to stir up the idea of Ryan to Pittsburgh.
“Pittsburgh is part of the projection because, assuming Roethlisberger retires, the Steelers could look the veteran route,” Fowler said. “The Steelers aren’t big on rebuilds, and it’s hard to envision them giving up several first-round picks for a quarterback. They draft well. Ryan getting released would cost them nothing more than a new contract.”
Fowler’s idea of Ryan getting released is more of an NFL fairytale as it would not be that easy on Atlanta’s end.
Why the Falcons Wouldn’t Release or Trade Matt Ryan
Back in 2018, Ryan signed a $150 million contract extension, which would now make moving on from him a financial mess.
According to Spotrac, if Atlanta decided to release or trade Ryan before the June 1 deadline, they would take a $40.5 million cap hit in dead money for 2022 and would save just $8.1 million. However, if they waited until after June 1, the Falcons would save $23.8 million next season, but $24.9 million and $15.6 million in dead money would still spill into 2022 and 2023.
Trading him also means that the trade partner would have to take on the cap hit.
Not to mention that the Falcons would need someone at least ten times better than Ryan to fill his void, considering he’s far from the reason that the Falcons are in the position they are in right now.
With Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley out of the picture, along with a lackluster offensive line, the Falcons don’t have the talent surrounding Ryan that they need in order to succeed. Of course, Ryan isn’t what he used to be, but he’s still performing at a high level at 36-years-old with limited target options and a very short window to get rid of the ball before he is sacked.
Heading into Week 18, Ryan has thrown for 3,752 yards, 19 touchdowns and 11 interceptions with a 67.4 percent completion rate through 16 games. This kind of production is still worth keeping around and instead, turning the focus to building around him.