Some outside of Atlanta Falcons circles were surprised when the franchise elected to pass on taking a quarterback- particularly Justin Fields- and instead selected TE Kyle Pitts with the No. 4 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Of course, anyone who has been keeping up with the Atlanta Falcons and the direction the organization was headed should’ve expected as much.
Why? The Falcons showed early on in GM Terry Fontenot’s tenure that they were going to ride or die with Matt Ryan at the helm. The result saw them go into the draft and free-agency looking to put the best talent possible around him under major cap restraints, we might add.
Now, a report from ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler has simply confirmed what we all knew: The Falcons are ‘comfortable’ with Ryan at quarterback.
“[Matt Ryan] has told multiple people close to him, in and around the Falcons, that he feels he has several good years left, that he can still play at a high level,” Fowler said. “So, the Falcons did extensive homework on Trey Lance and the other quarterbacks that they considered with the fourth overall pick. But they believe, and they’re totally comfortable rolling with Matt Ryan for this year, possibly longer. They feel they have weapons, Kyle Pitts now, a quarterback-friendly system with new coach Arthur Smith and it should be an improved defense. So, this is a team they feel they’ll be on the rise and Ryan will be better-positioned to have more success.”
The Atlanta Falcons are likely entrenched with Matt Ryan as the quarterback for at least two more seasons
The Falcons made the decision to restructure Ryan’s contract understanding that they weren’t going to be able to move him in either of the next two seasons, at least.
Why? Well, according to this report, they’re comfortable having him as the starter.
Ryan believes that he still has ‘good years’ left and the Falcons did their due diligence and then came away with the belief that their best course of action was to try and build a roster around him in which they could compete immediately and let the cards fall where they may.
Is it going to work? We’ll have to wait and see.
It’s simply not likely to work out financially for Ryan to be moved in 2021 or 2022. There is slight opportunity in 2023- if his contract isn’t restructured again- that the Falcons could work something out, but it still isn’t the most likely scenario. At this point, Ryan is set to make $43.6 million during that 2023 season, but will only have a dead cap of $15.6 million.
Still, the overarching point remains the same: If you thought the Matt Ryan era of Atlanta Falcons football was coming to a close, you were sadly mistaken. We’ve still got multiple years of Ryan remaining and there could even be another extension at some point along the way if he shows he can still play at a high level because it’s clear that he isn’t planning on retiring in a couple of years, at least not right now anyway.