Falcons Not Expected To Trade Matt Ryan, Julio Jones

With Matthew Stafford off the market, teams interested in acquiring other accomplished quarterbacks may not need to look toward Atlanta. Last weekend’s Lions-Rams blockbuster shows nothing can be completely ruled out, but the Falcons are not looking to part ways with either of their two cornerstone players this year.

The Falcons have not engaged in any trade talks regarding Matt Ryan or Julio Jones, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (video link). Both Falcon stars are expected to be part of Arthur Smith‘s first Atlanta squad.

Ryan stands in an interesting situation. He will be set to play for a third head coach, but Smith will be the first offense-geared leader to lead the Falcons in Ryan’s tenure. The Falcons also hold the highest draft choice they have possessed since drafting Ryan in 2008, presenting a prime opportunity to acquire the 35-year-old passer’s successor. Regardless of how Atlanta proceeds with the No. 4 overall pick, Ryan’s lucrative contract is expected to remain on the franchise’s 2021 payroll.

Despite Jones’ 10th NFL season halting his historic run of production, thanks to hamstring trouble that kept him out for much of the 2020 slate, the future Hall of Famer would obviously generate trade interest. But the Falcons gave him a market-topping extension in 2019. His 2021 base salary ($15.3MM) is fully guaranteed. The Falcons would be tagged with a greater dead-money sum — in excess of $40MM — if they were to move Ryan. Another Ryan restructure could be on tap; the 13-year veteran’s 2021 cap figure sits at $40.9MM.

With a salary cap drop expected in March, the Falcons are already projected to be well over the estimated ceiling. GM Terry Fontenot‘s new team is not in the kind of cap hell the Saints are, but the Falcons are one of five other teams — as of Groundhog Day — who project to be over the cap by more than $30MM. While the cap may not drop to the agreed-upon $175MM floor, the Falcons will certainly help themselves by not trading Ryan and Jones this year.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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17 comments on “Falcons Not Expected To Trade Matt Ryan, Julio Jones

  1. arthur blank_for owner

    Draft Zach Wilson with #4 pick and let him sit next 2 years while Ryan and Julio make one last run seems to be the best outcome to me. Compete immediately while setting up the future. If we draft Justin Fields there is no way everyone won’t be clamoring for him to start once Ryan throws his first interception of the season…

    • arthur blank_for owner

      ….what I forsee actually happening is we trade back and draft ANOTHER Corner smh lol

      • king beas

        I think the Falcons would be wise to take a qb and let him sit a year or two but corner is still a need even after drafting so many lol

    • UGA_Steve

      I completely understand the philosophy here, but in today’s contract world that means the Falcons would only get to see Zach Wilson(or any of the QB’s that they might pick) on a rookie deal for 2 or 3 years of actual playing time. I don’t like that at all. If he is any good, that means you get fewer years for cheap and then have to give him a big contract. Worse yet, because of Ryan’s hovering deal, you can’t really build for the future to protect Wilson when it’s his turn.

      I would prefer they pick someone who can benefit them both now, and a few years from now if they start a true rebuild. No sense wasting a pick on a guy sitting the bench for two years when they have holes to fill. Pick the best talent within reason and go from there.

      The good news is that maybe we won’t have to suffer through as many picks from West Coast schools. Either Dimitroff was terrible at the draft or he let Quinn talk him into far too many West Coast busts. 13 picks out of 38 (not counting Oliver from Colorado) from states bordering the Pacific and from my take not a single one was a true hit so far (McGary still has a chance and Hooper was okay, but in this offense should have been better). That is 33% from three states which is WAY above the average in the NFL. West Coast college fans can hate me for saying it, but you don’t win in the NFL with a bunch of players from west of the Rockies. Just an example, but if my quick review is correct the Chiefs only have two players in that regard and the Bucs have four. You comb through most NFL rosters and for the good teams it’s under 10%, and that was ‘west’ of the Rockies, not just the three states bordering the Pacific Ocean like the Falcons have gone nuts over.

      • arthur blank_for owner

        I’m not sure about the west coast drafting but i understand the rest lol….I get having a QB on a rookie deal for 5 years allows you to compete for a Super Bowl definitely but that rarely happens. Mahomes is the closest example recently and he barely made it thru 4 years before his massive record setting extension. Russell Wilson is another great example, but never had 5 years if control. Heck, look at Goff, he’s gone after 2 years and an extension. 5 year rookie control means nothing unless you’re getting Trevor Lawrence atm and that’s not even a guarantee that works out….My point is 3 years of any rookie QB is all your gonna get anyways whether he sits 1st 2 years or not

    • peterdipersio06

      Arthur blank,
      Make one last run at what ? They haven’t made a decent run at anything ! Trade them both for draft capital. Start over and build a team like the Cowboys of the 90’s with all those picks acquired in the Herschel Walker trade!

  2. arty!

    Exactly 0 teams will be fined or punished for being ‘over the cap’. Just watch, they will all magically be under when the time comes.

    • markdavisbarber

      There is zero reason for the owners not to strike now and get these contracts under control. Ryan should not count $40 million for any team in any year.

      The NFL is due for a contract reset, just like after the JaMarcus Russell deal. Just look at Art Rooney, he has already set the tone publicly and no one is arguing.

      • BG99

        “The NFL is due for a contract reset..” I don’t believe any court in the US would allow this.

        The only way the owners can “reset” is to drop the hard cap for a year or two. Even then owners will have to pay out monies obligated in all binding agreements.

        • Ak185

          I don’t think that he means voiding the current contract payouts. I think he means setting a new standard.

  3. Simmons>Russ

    Falcoons will take Wilson or Fields number 4, I I wouldn’t mind either just waiting a year and learning the offence and learning from Matt Ryan.

    Although I’m not Smiths biggest fan I think he will definitely build the blocking from the o line. That’s why I would lean towards Fields for the Falcons. He just has a better running game and can escape the pressure so under Smith he could be really good making meters.

  4. j_butte

    There’s enough teams with cap space to take Matt on post June 1. Somebody’s going to get left without a qb after the draft and will give up a 2022 draft haul. Indianapolis probably.

  5. bumpy93

    as an eagle fan, to me this sounds like the wrong way to go about it. they might just be saying they don’t plan on trade in either one of them this year just so some team can’t come in and lowball them and say that you already told everyone your trainees people. this will keep the falcons with the leverage in these situations. now I think Atlanta should trade Ryan and Jones. if they are going to have to go through a rebuild which it looks like they will they could start the rebuild a season earlier. trade them get more picks for this draft and possibly some for even next year take your franchise quarterback at #4 overall and start your rebuild, don’t push off the inevitable for another season that’s just another year fans will have to watch bad football for no reason

  6. jeb39999

    Yeah the most important detail is that while some teams would welcome the services of Jones and Ryan the dead money generated by trading either player is huge compared to the savings so they are better off sticking with them. I absolutely agree that they should take a QB think about how it benefited Rodgers to sit behind Farve for a while.

    • UGA_Steve

      And this is what needs to be reset in the NFL. The players should want this as well, so as not to restrict movement in any way. This ‘dead money’ stuff even when a team trades them is ridiculous. I believe it should be automatically assumed as part of the trade or limit the bonus structure so teams are not using it to get around the cap and hurting player movement for many years into the future.

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