The Falcons and quarterback Matt Ryan are expected to explore an extension in the offseason, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. Ryan is already under contract through the 2018 season, but Atlanta wants to be proactive when it comes to their star signal-caller, who may earn his first MVP award this year.
Ryan signed a five-year, $103.75MM deal at the end of the 2012 campaign, which culminated in a heartbreaking loss to the 49ers in the NFC Championship Game. The following three seasons saw the Falcons fail to qualify for the playoffs, and Ryan himself played well enough, but he was certainly not in the MVP conversation.
But Ryan and the offense exploded in 2016, Kyle Shanahan‘s second year as the Falcons’ offensive coordinator. Ryan threw for nearly 5,000 yards and put up 38 touchdown passes to just seven interceptions, good for a league-leading 117.1 quarterback rating. More importantly, he led the club to an NFC South title, a first-round bye, and the chance to play for the team’s first Super Bowl championship.
Plus, a new contract would not adversely impact the team’s finances. Ryan’s 2017 cap number under his current deal would be $23.75MM, and an extension would likely reduce that figure. As Rapoport observes, the club is already paying the Boston College product over $20MM a year, so an extension would be “more of a continuation than a dramatic adjustment.”
Ryan and agent Tom Condon will likely attempt to eclipse Andrew Luck‘s new deal, which features an average annual value of $24.59MM. Since signing his own contract after the 2012 season, Ryan has slid down the ranks and is now the 11th-highest paid quarterback in the game. That is likely to change over the next few months.
Since entering the league as the third overall pick of the 2008 draft, Ryan has been a steadying influence under center for Atlanta, but one of the biggest knocks against him coming into this year is that he had won only one playoff game. But on the heels of a breakout season, Ryan has the Falcons trending upwards once again, and he will be handsomely rewarded.
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