Matt Ryan has spent his entire career in Atlanta as a member of the Falcons, where I’m sure he’d like to finish it. Ryan’s current deal has two years remaining, which would make him a free agent in 2024 if the contract is untouched.
Restructuring his contract this spring to create some salary cap relief seems inevitable. To me, Terry Fontenot will wait until the following offseason to decide on Ryan’s future. Whether that be trading him or extending him, it is all dependent on how Ryan performs in his second season under Arthur Smith.
I truly believe nobody, even those inside the building, knows what the future holds, including owner Arthur Blank.
“At some point, there will be a sunset for him,” Blank told the media on Wednesday, “but exactly when that is I really can’t tell you because I really don’t know.”
Blank did acknowledge in the interview what we all already know: a time will come when a change is necessary.
“Great franchises have a successful transition from one quarterback to the next,” Blank said. “We want to make sure we’re focused on doing the same thing. Coach understands that and so does our general manager.”
Blank is right. The best franchises have a succession plan in place for the most important position in the sport. The Packers are the quintessential organization in this case. Going from one Hall of Fame quarterback to the next is easier said than done, but the Falcons would be remiss if they waited until 2024 to find their quarterback of the future.
Last year’s NFL draft, the quarterback class was loaded. Mac Jones, Trevor Lawrence, Trey Lance, Justin Fields, and maybe even Davis Mills seem like quality starters. This year’s draft class isn’t nearly as highly touted. However, there are still a bevy of prospects that could sit and develop behind Matt Ryan — Kenny Pickett, Desmond Ridder, Carson Strong, Malik Willis, Sam Howell, Matt Corral, and even Bailey Zappe.