ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reported that several insiders believe the Atlanta Falcons could tear their roster and put both quarterback Matt Ryan and star reciever Julio Jones up for sale.
“Atlanta is not the appealing job it was two years ago, however, Fowler said. This has the makings of a near-complete teardown, with some people around the league openly wondering whether quarterback Matt Ryan or even wide receiver Julio Jones will be shopped at the Nov. 3 trade deadline (their contracts would make that extremely difficult).”
Why It Might Not Work
While these two stars are Atlanta’s best options to shop with, it could be difficult.
Next season, Ryan has a cap hit over $40 million and his contract has a potential out in 2022, but the dead cap hit is over $26 million.
As for Jones, he has a combined cap hit of over $42 million over the course of the next two seasons. That’s pretty hefty for another team to take on.
Right now, the Falcons have the roster to win, and riding with the team it has now under interim coach Raheem Morris, might now be a bad idea. Their schedule looks a little easier in the next coming weeks. They take on the Detriot Lions Sunday then, Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos over the next three weeks. However, where the worrying kicks in is after their bye week.
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Why It Could Work
While trading Ryan or Jones wouldn’t be easy, the Falcons president and CEO Rich McKay recently said that there’s always a way around the rules.
“We have a lot of really good football players paid at a very high level that impacts our salary cap. That said, I’ve always believed that salary cap is something that you can maneuver around, you can work within, and you can operate within. I’m not intimidated by it,” McKay said via ESPN.
Jones is certainly easier to trade out of the two and that means Atlanta could be stuck with Ryan.
However, Ryan sticking around longer isn’t such a bad thing. At 35 years old, he’s still performing at an elite level. It might not show in wins, but he’s thrown for 1,472 yards and seven touchdowns the past five losses.
In nine seasons with the Falcons, Ryan has thrown for 4,000 yards and topped 65 percent completion in all but one, while totaling 52,568 yards and 328 touchdown passes in his career. Matty Ice has also made four Pro Bowls and earned himself an MVP and a Super Bowl appearance.
Morris Is A Fan of Ryan
While several players helped out with the win on Sunday, Ryan and Jones stole the show. The two connected on a 40-yard touchdown pass on fourth down in the third quarter against the Vikings.
After the win, Morris praised Ryan and the insane play these two made. He also added a bit of humor and may have hinted that Ryan is staying in Atlanta.
“Matt Ryan is a scrambler,” Morris told local reporters. “He’s the guy. He’s the new-age quarterback. He’s no longer a pocket passer”