Falcons GM Originally Had No Desire to Rework Matt Ryan’s Contract


Getty Matt Ryan #2 of the Atlanta Falcons.

The Atlanta Falcons were in “salary cap hell” ahead of the 2021 NFL Draft and in order to make some room for free agents and rookies, some restructuring needed to be done, specifically to Matt Ryan’s $23 million dollar contract.

By doing so, the Falcons were able to save roughly $14 million as Ryan agreed to take just $2 million in 2021 with the remaining $21 million spread out over the next three years in guaranteed money.

And that is why Falcons’ general manager Terry Fontenot “didn’t really want to make” the move because he was looking to avoid another cap mess with Ryan’s bonuses spilling over into next season, according to Tori McElhaney of The Athletic.

McElhaney added that Fontenot thought about cutting star linebacker Deion Jones to free up space as well.

In the end, the organization came together and redid Ryan’s deal for the fourth time, which will now have cap hits over $40 million in both 2022 and 2023.

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The Falcons are “Stuck” With Ryan

What might be considered a downside to some is that Ryan won’t be leaving Atlanta anytime soon with his new cap hit for 2022 expected to be near $50 million, according to NFL insider Field Yates.

However, we don’t know what the financial landscape will look like next season because the salary cap number was cut down by nearly $30 million due to the COVID-19 financial hit. We should expect things to get back to normal by the start of the season.

At 36-years-old, Ryan is entering his 14th season in the NFL as Atlanta’s starting quarterback. Despite a disappointing record, Ryan ranked fourth last season, throwing for 4,581 yards and 26 touchdowns.

Ultimately, Ryan sticking around longer shouldn’t be such a bad thing as new head coach Arthur Smith, who is credited for turning Ryan Tannehill’s career and the Titan’s offense around, takes over this season.

Ryan Cracks PFF’s Top 100 NFL Players

The Falcons opted to draft a weapon in the first round of the draft instead of Ryan’s future successor.

Some critics thought the decision was ludicrous but are they just ignorant to the fact Ryan has actually been one of the most consistent QBs as a starter over the last 13 years.

Pro Football Focus sums up why Ryan is considered one of the top 100 players heading into 2021 ranked at No. 99:

Speaking of consistency — Matt Ryan, everybody! Ryan’s ability to be above average in nearly every imaginable metric leads him to the PFN NFL Top 100 list heading into 2021.

Ryan is probably the last true old-school pocket passer to find success at the NFL level. He missed out on cracking PFN’s Top 100 Players in 2020, but despite a nightmare season from a win/loss perspective, he played incredibly well at age 35.

Ryan’s accuracy has always been on the upper end of NFL quarterbacks, and he takes care of the football despite being aggressive and pushing the ball downfield. Still, it’s peculiar that Ryan took fewer sacks as a younger QB than he has in his more advanced years.

Even with Julio Jones out of the picture, Ryan still has plenty of options to target and all that’s left to do is make the offensive line sturdy.




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