Arthur Blank: Matt Ryan, Julio Jones Will Be With Falcons In 2021

Earlier this week, we heard the Falcons are not taking calls on Matt Ryan and that they expect his top weapon to remain in the fold as well. Falcons owner Arthur Blank confirmed that Ryan and Julio Jones will be part of Arthur Smith‘s first Falcons roster.

Well, I’d be shocked, completely shocked if he was not, and it really has nothing to do necessarily with his contract,” Blank said of the prospect Ryan would not be a Falcon in 2021, via Andrew Siciliano of NFL.com. “… He’s performed beautifully, was MVP of the league one year. So Matt can still play at a very high level and we expect him to be a Falcon next year, fully.

We expect Julio to be a Falcon, to be playing next year at a very high level as well. God-willing, taking care of his body, his hamstring will be healed up. He’ll be able to play in more games than he played last year. So they’ll both be with us.”

The QB trade market recently produced a blockbuster, with Matthew Stafford going to the Rams in exchange for Jared Goff and three draft picks. Ryan resides in a similar position to Stafford. He has been with his team for over a decade (13 years) but has seen it decline to point it holds a high draft pick. Like the Lions, the Falcons also hired a new head coach and GM. However, Ryan both signed for more money on his most recent extension — in 2018 — and restructured his deal to further pile up money on Atlanta’s cap going forward. A Ryan trade would cost the Falcons more than $40MM. Three seasons remain on Jones’ $22MM-per-year deal.

Blank, however, acknowledged the prospect of a succession plan. The Falcons hold the No. 4 overall pick — their highest draft slot since they used 2008’s No. 3 overall choice to select Ryan — and will see their longtime starter turn 36 this year. The owner referencing the Chiefs’ successful (but rarely utilized) QB developmental model perhaps points to the Falcons being in the market for a passer at No. 4.

In any business, including professional football or any sports business, you do have to prepare for succession planning, and that’s what separates a lot of great organizations that are great over a longer period of time because they think through, how do they continue to stay at the level they’re at,” Blank said.

A good example is what Kansas City has done when they drafted Patrick Mahomes, who came out of a very high-scoring offense in college but needed to go through a professional transition. He played behind Alex Smith for a year, a great competitor, a great quarterback, a great mentor, and he learned a lot, so he’s producing now at a much higher level and he’s had a healthy transition. So I think you have to think about long-term while you think about winning today. That’s what good coaches and what good general managers do.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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10 comments on “Arthur Blank: Matt Ryan, Julio Jones Will Be With Falcons In 2021

  1. bravesfan

    Honestly, take the calls…… I mean we are soooo bad …. take the freaking calls. Load up some picks or something… might as well rebuild, we are basically bottom feeders

    • arthur blank_for owner

      the dead money Cap hit is solely the reason it won’t happen. I’m for a rebuild with having the #4 pick, but we’re simply stuck this season

    • ahale224

      He didn’t contradict the GM unless I missed something. He just said they weren’t taking calls. Could well have been the GM’s decision.

  2. bumpy93

    for falcon fans sake I really hope this is a bluff. hopefully they’re coming out and saying this just so teams can’t lowball them in trade offers. if the other team knows they have to get rid of these players and they’re only going to get 60 cents on the dollar if Lucky. now they sit there and say they’re keeping them but you throw a good enough offer we’ll think about it. also as an eagle fan if there is one less quarterback to be traded this off- season, this might make Carson Wentz a tad more valuable and potential trade talks.

  3. Thronson5

    I don’t really feel like it was their offense that was the problem. They could’ve used more from the run game but the pass game was decent. Their defense was bad and they really weren’t very well coached. But even then it just feels like they are denial they need to go full blown rebuild mode. Get what you can now for Ryan and Jones and use those picks to jump start the rebuild. Sure it’s hard for their owner to admit it but it’s bound to happen, happens to every team. If they can fix their defense this offseason they could possibly be in the mix for a wild card spot but they aren’t winning a super bowl so why not just get a head start on rebuilding

    • j_butte

      I don’t think a full blown rebuild is necessary yet. If they go heavy defensively in the draft and find a running back somewhere they can compete in a division without drew Brees. I’d like for them to trade back and pick up as many early draft picks as they can in this draft. Miami, Jacksonville, or the NYJ might look at trading for 4.

  4. Ak185

    Kansas City wasn’t using a “model” and letting a player sit a year certainly is not a unique developmental plan. They didn’t think Mahomes was their best chance as opposed to Alex Smith. Then they did. There wasn’t a magical maturation date for him. They adapted to what they thought he needed, and will do the same for the next guy. They’re not the first and certainly won’t be the last to do that. I really wish writers would quit trying to coin terms for things that really aren’t that unique to begin with.

    Every player selected has his own needs and strengths and weaknesses. You can’t just blindly follow a model because it worked for someone else. Any coach or manager that does not treat every player it acquires according to their individual characteristics is stupid and won’t be working in the same place for very long.

  5. MileHighFan

    I read those quotes to mean Matt Ryan is secure, but Julio Jones is only “expected” to be a Falcon.

    The Falcons made a deal with the devil (not the Browns) in using nearly all of their 2011 and 2012 picks for Jones, as they’ve been 4 good starters short ever since.

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