The Falcons have a brand new coaching staff under Arthur Smith which means a drastic rebuilding phase is in the near future and moving on from longtime quarterback Matt Ryan, sooner rather than later, could be a possibility.
The Falcons have the No. 4 overall draft pick in April and this year’s draft class is stacked with talented quarterbacks, so it’s going to be tough for Atlanta to pass up a young 4th QB to rebuild around. Matt Ryan will be 36 this year but he still has plenty of juice left him for a fresh start elsewhere.
Here’s the kicker, Atlanta won’t be able to trade Ryan until after June 1st, because if they do, it would cost more than $44 million in dead cap space. But after the first, it would be less than an $18 million cap hit.
But what exactly will it take for the 49ers to get Ryan to the Bay Area? Cohen dives in:
So here’s what the 49ers can do. They can trade Jimmy Garoppolo back to the New England Patriots, draft the best offensive lineman available with their 2021 first-round pick, draft the best quarterback available with their 2021 second-round pick, and then in the summer trade their 2022 second-round pick to the Falcons for Ryan. And he would cost the 49ers $23 million in 2021 and $24 million in 2022. And then the young quarterback could take over as the starter in 2023.
And if the 49ers want to get their 2022 first-round pick back, they always can trade Deebo Samuel for a No. 1 after next season.
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Ryan Would Reunite With Kyle Shanahan
49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan doesn’t seem 100% sold on moving on from Jimmy G., but a shot at reuniting with Matt Ryan could change his mind.
Shanahan was Atlanta’s OC in 2016 when Matt Ryan had his best season yet and won MVP while leading the Falcons to a Super Bowl (no need to recap). During that season, Ryan completed 69.9 percent of his passes for 4,944 yards, 38 touchdowns, and seven interceptions.
FS1 analyst, Nick Wright of First Things First believes the Niners could get back on track of being Super Bowl contenders with Ryan under center.
“If you’re the rest of the NFC”, Wright explained, “and San Francisco has a bit of a setback year, all of the injuries, Super Bowl hangover, Jimmy G doesn’t get better, and all of a sudden, it’s that system with [Nick Bosa] back from injury, Solomon Thomas back, and Matt Ryan with those guys, to me, San Francisco goes right back to where they were last year as the favorites in the NFC.”
To end the 2020 season, Ryan threw for 4,582 yards, 26 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions compared to Garropolo who ended the season early with an ankle sprain throwing for 1,096 yards and seven touchdowns to five interceptions in six games.
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Falcons Remain Undecided on Matt Ryan’s Future
Ryan has been praised over and over by the Falcons staff but that doesn’t mean he is safe, according to Smith, who plans to take his time on making any roster moves.
“No decision with personnel has been made right now,” Smith told Pro Football Talk. “It’s just so early. . . . We’re just not gonna make any snap judgments. There is a long process. We’ve got to get in here with the staff. We’ve got to go through every guy on this roster. And we’re gonna take our time. There’s no decision that has to be made today. It’s not Matt and Julio, it’s every player on this roster.”
Stay or go, the Falcons will be in good shape and the Niners will have plenty of options to shop for if Ryan doesn’t become available.