The Colts are in a weird spot with Matt Ryan’s contract. They could potentially release him following a disappointing season for $17 million in cap savings but they would have to eat $18 million in dead cap. This is where the Falcons could appear out of nowhere.
Apparently, the Colts will make their decision by the end of the week, which means Terry Fontenot should get on the phone with Colts GM Chris Ballard and offer to take on Ryan’s contract—for a price, of course.
Falcons should essentially buy draft picks from the Colts in what would be a Matt Ryan contract dump
As previously stated, the Colts can choose to release Matt Ryan before Friday’s deadline and save $17 million of cap space while taking on an $18 million dead cap hit for the 2023 season. Or, they can package a draft pick or two with Ryan and trade him to another team—perhaps the Falcons—for a savings of just over $29 million with only $6 million in dead cap.
This would rival the 2017 Brock Osweiler trade when the Texans sent the quarterback to the Browns. It is a rare occurrence in the NFL but it could make sense for the Falcons.
We know the Falcons have cap space, they have shown that this week. If they are looking to add another draft pick or two, they could potentially do so by taking on the responsibility of Matt Ryan’s contract. They could then release him to avoid paying him $30 million in 2023 and take on the $17 million cap hit—which is essentially the price of a draft pick or two.
Yes, the Falcons just got Ryan off the books but this time we could potentially get even more than we got for him last year. The Browns gave up a fourth-round pick for Brock Osweiler and his contract, a second-round pick, and a sixth-round pick.
The Texans unloaded Osweiler and saved $10 million in cap space while the Browns had to take on $16 million following Osweiler’s subsequent release.
This is an eerily similar situation, minus the fact that Matt Ryan is a better player than Osweiler and you might have a moment’s thought of keeping him around. Who knows if the Falcons would be able to get the same compensation the Browns got or possibly more. But, in my opinion, anything less would not be worth it.
It would all come down to the Colts and how they view their team. If they think they are still a few years out even after adding a top quarterback in the upcoming draft (which is most likely the case), then they would likely prefer to keep the draft picks. But if they think they could make a run this year then that extra cap space would hold more value than a draft pick or two.