Is Matt Ryan leaving the Atlanta Falcons for Pittsburgh?
Rumors have been swirling this week surrounding the Atlanta Falcons veteran quarterback Matt Ryan and his future with Atlanta. The rumor suggests that Ryan could be the answer in Pittsburgh and be playing for the Steelers next season.
On the surface, this idea makes a lot of sense for both sides. Ben’s time with the Steelers is done after the season is over, the veteran looks old and brittle in the pocket and is unable to push the ball down the field with any consistency.
The Steelers have no answer at the position and there seems to be little reason for a full rebuild when they have a great defense and skill positions in place.
From Atlanta’s perspective, they are in rebuild mode and need to free up cap space. Ryan can’t have many years of his prime left and bringing in a young cheap quarterback for Arthur Smith to build around makes sense on the surface.
While the move makes sense for the Atlanta Falcons on the surface you don’t have to dig terribly deep to find the move doesn’t help the Falcons
First let’s deal with the obvious problem in this hypothetical trade, who do the Falcons start at quarterback? The rookie quarterback class appears to be thin and even last year’s more celebrated class has struggled.
Developing a young quarterback takes time and involves a lot of swings and misses. Sitting outside the top ten Atlanta isn’t going to get a shot at one of the better quarterbacks in the draft leaving them at taking a chance or looking at free agency options.
Andy Dalton, Nick Foles, and Cam Newton highlight the quarterback free-agent options all very sizable downgrades from Matt Ryan. Leaving a trade as the lone option for Atlanta a team that isn’t going to acquire one of the top quarterbacks on the trade market.
Even if a Rodgers or Watson were to be traded they won’t be willing to come to Atlanta. If Atlanta moves off of Matt Ryan they are going to be downgrading no matter which avenue they attempt to use to replace Matt Ryan. This leaves the sole motivation of moving Ryan to be to create cap space and give Atlanta more future flexibility.
However, due to the way the cap is constructed moving Ryan does very little to help Atlanta. If the Falcons trade their veteran quarterback they will suffer a $40.5-million dollar dead cap hit to go along with a $15.5-million dollar dead cap hit from the Julio Jones trade.
Trading Ryan does nothing for Atlanta except set them up for a season of being the doormat of the NFC. Trading Ryan isn’t a possibility this season or next unless Ryan is willing to demand his way out of Atlanta.
Matt Ryan is a building block for Arthur Smith, not a tradable asset for at least another season. Ryan to the Steelers is a fun rumor, but it is just that a rumor that isn’t going to happen.