Atlanta Falcons: What Andrew Luck’s extension means for Matt Ryan


Matt Ryan has three years remaining on his current deal with the Atlanta Falcons. What could Andrew Luck’s recent extension mean for Ryan’s negotiations?

Ryan and the Falcons likely won’t be discussing a new contract just yet, but negotiations will likely begin in the next couple of years. It’s unlikely the Falcons will look to move on from their quarterback at the end of his current deal.

Assuming the intent is to keep him in Atlanta for the remainder of his career, an extension could be discussed as early as next offseason with only two years remaining on his contract. The Falcons won’t want Ryan to get anywhere near free agency at the conclusion of the 2018 season, and the sooner they work out an extension the better.

Signing a new deal in 2018 could be considerably more expensive than signing one in 2017. That’s the way the NFL works. One player receives a big contract, the next gets paid more.

That’s not to suggest Ryan will receive a deal in the same region as Luck’s. Luck, after all, is just 26-years-old and considered one of the best young quarterbacks in the game. Let’s compare their deals.

Comparing the contracts

Matt Ryan deal signed in 2013: Five years, $103.76 million, $42 million guaranteed

Andrew Luck deal signed in 2016: Five years, $122.98 million, $87 million guaranteed

The biggest difference is the amount in guarantees. Luck has more than double Ryan’s figures in guaranteed money. But the total value of the contract isn’t a million miles apart, and is about right when you consider the difference in performance.

In many ways, Luck’s deal won’t greatly affect Ryan’s negotiations. Luck has youth on his side, and is expected to grow into an elite quarterback with the Colts. He guided a poor team to the AFC title game in 2014, whereas Ryan needs a strong supporting cast to reach the same heights.

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Perhaps the most accurate comparison would be to look at the extension Ben Roethlisberger signed with the Steelers last offseason.

Roethlisberger was 33-years-old at the start of his new deal, the same age Ryan will be when his current contract expires. His extension is four years in length and worth $87.4 million with $31 million in guarantees. Roethlisberger is currently the fifth-highest paid quarterback in the league, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Ryan’s deal slightly edge this one.

Ryan is currently the ninth-highest paid quarterback, ahead of Tom Brady and Drew Brees. The jump up to the Roethlisberger would be a fair starting point when negotiations begin in the coming seasons.

A player to watch is Kirk Cousins. Cousins was franchised by Washington this offseason, and could land a multi-year deal before the franchise deadline on July 15. Whether he stays in Washington or signs elsewhere next spring is yet to be seen, but his contract could offer Ryan leverage in his new deal.

The Lions’ Matthew Stafford is also due for an extension at some point soon. He will hit free agency in 2018, and you can bet the Falcons and Ryan will be watching this situation closely.

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Luck’s deal is likely beyond Ryan’s range, but the Falcons’ signal caller could still become one of the league’s highest paid quarterbacks in the next couple of years.