Falcons, Colts Discussing Matt Ryan

The Falcons being unwilling to move into a newly formed guaranteed money stratosphere led Deshaun Watson to the Browns. Atlanta may be preparing to deal away its 14-year starter soon after.

Matt Ryan has a $7.5MM roster bonus due at 3pm CT, and Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports the Colts have engaged in discussions about a trade (video link). A trade could commence soon. The Falcons would want to move Ryan before paying him the bonus, and Rapoport adds (via Twitter) the sides have made progress.

Atlanta and Indianapolis have engaged in Ryan talks for a few days now, per Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer, who adds this has reached the point the teams are trying to finalize an agreement (Twitter links). It is unclear if talks began before or after Watson’s decision, but the Colts’ interest in Ryan looks like it might produce a fourth major quarterback trade of the offseason. This process has reached the point where many in the league would be surprised if Ryan is not a Colt soon, Mike Garafolo of NFL.com tweets.

Ryan’s contract calls for just a $17.2MM base salary, along with this roster bonus. The Colts cleared more than $20MM off their payroll by trading Carson Wentz. Despite being linked to Baker Mayfield as well, Ryan appears to be the team’s preference. Mayfield has expressed interest in being traded to the Colts, but it does not look like that will happen.

Ryan, 36, would be the Colts’ sixth Week 1 starter in the past six years. The Colts have not shied away from aging QBs during their post-Andrew Luck stretch, with the team having signed Philip Rivers in 2020. Rivers’ retirement led the team to Wentz, a partnership that skidded off the rails quickly. The Colts bolting on Wentz so soon left them in QB limbo, but the fallout from the Watson sweepstakes has produced intriguing options for Indy.

The Falcons would take on more than $30MM in dead money by trading Ryan before June 1. With the team in clear rebuild mode, however, that does not seem to be an impediment for second-year GM Terry Fontenot. Thomas Dimitroff‘s successor was against restructuring Ryan’s contract last year. That restructure made jettisoning Ryan more financially punishing. Ryan’s contract runs through 2023. The Falcons delayed Ryan’s roster bonus this year and were believed to be the Watson runners-up. This has left Ryan’s path uncertain, but the former MVP could soon be headed to a team in better position to contend in 2022. The AFC, of course, has seen its share of teams improve over the past two weeks. The Colts bolstering their QB situation would only further strengthen the conference.

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