Quarterback Matt Ryan and wide receiver Julio Jones are two of the best Atlanta Falcons of all time, you could even make the case for them being the two best in franchise history.
Sadly for them and many fans, both of their careers in Atlanta came to an abrupt end as both requested trades due to their own reasons. Hate the reasons or not, it doesn’t matter, they are still two of the best to ever do it and two players who brought more success to the Falcons than they had ever had.
Now, they have found out that the grass is not always greener on the other side as they both have struggled with their new team, or teams in Julio’s case.
Could this be the end of Atlanta Falcons greats, Julio Jones and Matt Ryan?
The short answer, unfortunately, is that this could legitimately be the end of the line for two of the greatest Atlanta Falcons players ever.
Starting with Julio Jones, it has been an injury-plagued ride for the past few years, to say the least. Since being traded to the Titans in June of 2021, which eventually turned into him getting cut and signing with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this past offseason, Julio has played in just 12 games and only touched the ball a mere 37 times.
Initially, to start the year, it seemed like Julio had found himself again with the Buccaneers but he has only played in two games and has only been targetted seven times all year. It would honestly take a miracle for him to play most of a season before retirement. If the injuries continue this year, it is difficult to see him playing next season, which is sad.
For Matt Ryan, it has been a completely different story. He was traded to the Indianapolis Colts over the offseason in hopes of making a late-career postseason push with what seemed to be a talented team, but boy has that not turned out.
Matt Ryan has now been benched, unfairly when you take everything into account, seven weeks into the season. Honestly, this is less about Matt and more about a dysfunctional Colts organization — there is a reason they haven’t been able to stick with a quarterback for more than a year ever since Andrew Luck retired!
Ryan is now the third-string QB on the Colts’ depth chart, behind starter Sam Ehlinger and former Super Bowl champion Nick Foles. That is the cherry on top, Frank Reich buries him on the depth chart, great way to respect a future Hall of Fame quarterback.
If Ryan wants to have success before he retires, he needs to find a way out of Indianapolis because they obviously are not willing to work with him or help him. If he can’t fight his way out, then it might be a long time before he plays again, which might result in him electing to retire, as sad as that is.
While there is a chance that Matty Ice is done in the NFL, I personally don’t think he is done. It would be an anti-climatic retirement, not to mention, he has mentioned his desire to play into his 40s. Will it happen? Possibly, but seeing him play past the age of 41 or 42 seems impossible with how things are currently going.
The one thing that could convince him to hang his cleats up is family, of course. He is a family man and being with your family is always a tempting reason for players to retire.
In conclusion, I think that Julio Jones’ career is hanging on by a thread at this point, at any moment the Buccaneers could determine that his uncertain gameday status each and every week is not worth a roster spot and who knows if any team would pick him up after that.
As for Matt Ryan, while there is a chance he will retire, I don’t see it happening as I see him wanting to prove himself somewhere as a starter. It could be with the Colts if things turn out for him, even though he should be clawing his way out of that franchise, or with another team entirely. It is scary to think that the Atlanta Falcons have three division rivals who either need a quarterback right now or will need one very soon. Fingers crossed things don’t end up that way.
Whatever the outcome is, these two players mean a lot to most Atlanta Falcons fans as they brought a lot of entertainment and exciting times to the team. Hopefully, they find a perfect situation in the future where they can find their way back to consistent success!