The San Francisco 49ers could be in the market for a quarterback over the offseason if things do not turn around, and Matt Ryan makes some sense if the Atlanta Falcons opt to move away from him as the team rebuilds with a new regime. During an interview on The Ryen Russillo Podcast, Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer reported the Niners could have an interest in Ryan if he becomes available after the season.
“San Francisco, for example, his [Matt Ryan] financial numbers are similar to Jimmy’s [Garoppolo],” Breer explained. “So, if Kyle decided, ‘Hey, this isn’t working out and we need to find a veteran answer for the next few years.’ Obviously, Matt has the background in his offense. So, that could make some sense if they come to that conclusion at the end of the year.”
The Falcons are in flux as they look for a new head coach and general manager. The new leadership duo could opt to continue to build around Ryan, but his future in Atlanta is as uncertain as it has ever been during his career.
Shanahan Coached Ryan During the Falcons Super Bowl Appearance in 2017
Shanahan was the offensive coordinator for the Falcons in 2015 and 2016, playing a key role in the team’s Super Bowl appearance. Ryan won the NFL MVP award in 2016 under Shanahan and had arguably the best seasons of his career.
If the 49ers make a run at trading for Ryan, the hope would be that Shanahan could help him replicate his earlier success when they were last together in Atlanta. The 49ers would also have more pieces around him in 2021 when key players like Nick Bosa are expected to return to the field.
The 49ers pursuit of Ryan or any other quarterback likely depends on whether the team can salvage this season. Jimmy Garoppolo has been dealing with an ankle injury but has struggled in his limited action on the field. Breer noted that if things do not turn around for the 49ers the team is likely to explore other available quarterback options.
“If they wind up, say, 5-11 or 6-10 with all the injuries this year, and if Jimmy [Garoppolo] shows that he can’t raise the team around him above the circumstances they’re in, then I think they’re right back where they were in March when the [Tom] Brady thing came up,” Breer added. “Which is we’re happy with who we have, but we’re willing to look at the landscape out there. And if there is a better answer for us, say that’s Matt Ryan, then that’s something we’re really going to consider.”
Ryan still has three seasons left on his current five-year, $150 million deal with the Falcons. The veteran quarterback has a potential out after 2021, and Ryan is set to have a $23 million salary next season.
The 49ers Do Not Owe Garoppolo Any More Guaranteed Money After This Season
After this season, Garoppolo has two more years remaining on his five-year, $137 million contract. The 49ers have additional flexibility to make a decision at the position since Garoppolo is not owed any more guaranteed money.
“The first one is simple, and will be answered in the coming weeks—when push comes to shove, just how tethered to Garoppolo are the Niners?” Breer noted. “Remember, he doesn’t have another guaranteed dollar due on his contract. And there should be some enticing QB options out there, if he doesn’t get back on track.”
There is always the chance that Garoppolo is able to help turn around the 49ers season. Yet, if things continue to go in the same direction, the 49ers will have a challenging decision to make in the offseason.