Nov 29, 2012; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) smiles after the game against the New Orleans Saints at the Georgia Dome. The Falcons defeated the Saints 23-13. Mandatory Credit: Josh D. Weiss-USA TODAY Sports
With talks of extending Matt Ryan’s contract looming around the minds of fans, many questions pop up. Of course we wonder how much it will be, but we also worry if it will be of the size of Joe Flacco’s, and will it make or break the team? Joe Flacco signed a $120 million contract for 6 years. That averages to $20 million a year and sounds like a ridiculous amount of money. As an apparent cause, they lost so many of their key players this offseason. Kruger signed with the Cleveland Browns, Ellerbe signed with the Miami Dolphins; Ed Reed opted out to join the Houston Texans along with Flacco’s favorite target Anquan Boldin going to the NFC champions San Francisco 49ers.
However, all those losses weren’t to save room for Flacco’s massive contract this year, because his salary-cap number this season is only $6.8 million. The Ravens could have resigned many of those players. So comparing the Matt Ryan and the Falcons and what happened with Joe Flacco and the Ravens isn’t really a great comparison. The Ravens are full of experienced, middle aged talents that would rather sign for a bigger deal for several years into where Flacco’s contract would start getting expensive. The Falcons have a nice mix of cheaper, young talents and experienced veterans who may only play for a couple of years while trying to get the Falcons over that playoff hump.
But what kind of contract will Matt Ryan get? Ryan and Flacco share the same agent so you can expect a hefty price. How hefty is the question. To figure that out, we need to look at the rest of the quarterback market because that’s what determines the price. You already know Flacco’s contract, he just won a Super Bowl. And we are learning that the Packers are willing to make Aaron Rodgers the highest paid quarterback, but he also won a Super Bowl. As we all know, Matt Ryan didn’t. And as we all painfully know, he only has one playoff win under his belt. Who could we turn to in order to see a similar situation? Oh wait, that’s right: Tony Romo just signed a 6-year, $108 million contract. That’s what sets the bar for Matt Ryan.
I don’t think anyone will argue that Matt Ryan is better than Tony Rommo. Even with great numbers, Romo chokes. He throws horrible game-losing interceptions. We’ve seen that happen to Ryan every once in a while, but it happens to everyone. However, while Matt Ryan is consistently saving the game, Tony Romo can’t do that. Blame it on the coaches or O-line, or whatever, Romo is no Matty Ice. I would imagine a contract like his is worthy of a great leader like Ryan, but Jerry Jones decided Romo is worth it. This twists the arm of the Flowery Branch front office. Because Arthur Blank is a nice guy and willing to pay a guy what he’s worth, maybe a little extra, he’ll set the bar at bigger than Romo’s. Then Ryan’s shark agent will start pushing for a lot more money. Of course, he doesn’t want to compare it to Joe Flacco’s contract; he’ll get Rodger’s contract done first and work based off of that. So when asking for money, it’ll be more like “Hey, I’m not asking for Aaron Rodgers kind of money, but something reasonable. Like, I don’t know, say…Joe Flacco!”
We all would love Matt Ryan to take a home town discount for something that will be cap friendly for years to come, but that won’t happen. Expect it to look very similar, but a little cheaper than Flacco’s deal. It’ll probably be around a 6-year deal worth $112-$118 million. Don’t expect it to affect the Falcons like it affected the Ravens. But pray it happens this year, because if Ryan does end up winning us a Lombardi Trophy in 2013, you can expect it to cost the falcons the most money for a quarterback ever.