Atlanta Falcons would be surprise contenders with Matt Ryan
By Nick Halden
The Atlanta Falcons are headed towards what is likely going to be a very long 2022 season. Atlanta lacks a franchise quarterback and will be a part of a division with two veteran rosters in the Saints and Bucs who both are expected to be in playoff contention. Add in the fact Atlanta is inside the top ten in strength of schedule and the season appears to be a race for a top draft pick.
While one could argue this is exactly the approach Atlanta needs to find their quarterback of the future it is difficult when the team could still have Matt Ryan at the helm. The team’s poor decision to chase Deshaun Watson cost the team with Ryan deciding to leave Atlanta and join a much better team in Indy.
The Colts only paid a third-rounder for Ryan and appear to be a real playoff contender heading into the season.
Trading Ryan was the right move at the wrong reasons and at the wrong time. If Atlanta had stuck with Matt Ryan there is plenty of reason to believe they could be a wildcard contender. Last season Atlanta was a surprisingly competitive team with the Falcons hanging in the wildcard race into the final weeks of the season.
This off-season Atlanta has improved at running back, receiver, edger rusher, corner, and add much-needed depth on both sides of the ball in the trenches. Atlanta improved at every position on the field except for the most important one.
Matt Ryan would make this team competitive though they still wouldn’t be a true playoff contender. Perhaps pointing to the reason Atlanta felt they needed to start over at the position and create more cap space in the coming seasons.
However, it is hard not to consider the Falcons could have drafted Ridder and kept Ryan for one more season. Ryan would be a great mentor for Ridder and give the Falcons one final season of stability before the Falcons moved on to find their quarterback of the future.
While it may be more painful in the short team trading Ryan does give Atlanta the chance to accelerate the rebuild. While giving Ryan a much-deserved chance to win right away. Atlanta will be able to quickly find out whether Ridder is the answer while acquiring a top draft pick to give them an option to draft a quarterback next off-season if Ridder isn’t the answer.
No doubt Atlanta Falcons fans will quickly realize just how much Ryan did for this team and the franchise as a whole. His loss will quickly be felt for a team that didn’t have to move off of the greatest quarterback in the history of their franchise.