Matt Ryan

Contract Details: Falcons, Ryan, Eagles, Slay

Earlier this week, the Falcons restructured deals with Matt Ryan and others to carve out a bit of extra breathing room. Today, we got some additional details on that adjustment, via Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com (on Twitter).

Here’s the breakdown: Ryan’s base pay for 2020 will go down from $8MM to $1.05MM. Meanwhile, tackle Jake Matthews will see his base number trimmed from $10.55MM to $3.55MM. In both cases, the difference was converted to a signing bonus. In effect, it doesn’t change much for either player, but it does allow the Falcons to kick the can down the road and spend more this year.

Here are more deetz from around the NFL, with all links going to Twitter:

Matt Ryan, Jake Matthews Restructure Deals

Up against the cap this offseason, the Falcons made three lower-level signings Sunday. They have also restructured a few contracts.

The Falcons restructured the deals of Matt Ryan, Jake Matthews and Allen Bailey, D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution notes. This marks an interesting move for Ryan, who restructured his deal at the end of last season. He was already set to have cap figures north of $39MM in 2021 and 2022.

Ryan was to comprise $24.1MM of Atlanta’s 2020 cap, while Matthews was to account for $16MM of it. Bailey’s two-year deal included a $5.9MM 2020 cap number.

The Falcons and Ryan agreed on a five-year, $150MM extension in May 2018. He is under contract through 2023. Prior to the revised figures from this latest restructure, Ryan’s 2023 cap number sat at $34MM. Signed to a five-year extension worth $72.5MM in July 2018, Matthews is also under contract through 2023. His next four cap numbers are north of $16MM, so it should be expected some of them will rise as a result of this adjustment.

Atlanta added Laquon Treadwell and offensive lineman Justin McCray on Sunday and also re-signed Blidi Wreh-Wilson. They added Todd Gurley on Friday and authorized a $16MM-AAV deal for Dante Fowler. Considering the Falcons’ minimal cap room, these Ryan and Matthews restructures were surely necessary to accommodate the Fowler pact. The Falcons also cut Desmond Trufant and Devonta Freeman to clear space.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Injury Notes: Ryan, Darnold, Dickson, Doctson

It doesn’t sound like Matt Ryan will be out for long. Falcons coach Dan Quinn said the veteran quarterback will start when the team returns from a bye in Week 10 (via Michael David Smith of ProFootballTalk.com). The coach also said Ryan would likely play this weekend if the team had a game.

Ryan suffered an ankle injury that forced him to miss Sunday’s game, the first time he’s been forced out of the lineup in a decade. The quarterback missed a pair of games during the 2009 season due to turf toe.

With the Falcons sitting at 1-7, it wouldn’t be shocking if the Falcons were a bit cautious with Ryan. On the flip side, the organization gave the quarterback more than $100MM in guaranteed money last year, and the veteran has still been plenty productive this season.

Let’s check out some more injury notes from around the NFL…

  • We heard earlier today that Sam Darnold was set to play through his thumb injury, and the Jets quarterback elaborated on the issue. Darnold referred to the ailment as a “pain-tolerance thing … I should be fine,” according to ESPN’s Rich Cimini. Coach Adam Gase previously said that this is an injury Darnold will have to play through for the rest of the season.
  • Seahawks tight end Ed Dickson will practice this week, coach Pete Carroll told reporters (via ESPN’s Brady Henderson). Carroll added that Dickson is unlikely to make his season debut on Sunday The veteran has missed the first half of the season as he’s recovered from a knee injury. With Will Dissly out for the season, the offense will surely welcome back the tight end.
  • Vikings wideout Josh Doctson is set to return from injury this week, he told Darren Wolfson of 5Eyewitness News in Minny (via Twitter). The Redskins released the former first-rounder back in September, and he caught on with the Vikings soon after. The 26-year-old didn’t get into a game with Minnesota before landing on the IR with a hamstring injury.
  • Ravens cornerback Tavon Young underwent neck surgery, according to coach John Harbaugh (via Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic on Twitter). Young suffered a neck injury prior to the season and was placed on IR. The 25-year-old signed a three-year, $25.8MM extension with Baltimore back in February. Meanwhile, rookie cornerback Iman Marshall returned to practice on Monday.

Matt Ryan To Miss Falcons’ Week 8 Game

The ankle injury Matt Ryan suffered last week will keep him out against the Seahawks, the Falcons announced. Veteran Matt Schaub will start in Ryan’s place, with the recently promoted Danny Etling working as the Falcons’ No. 2 quarterback.

This will mark Ryan’s first absence in 10 years. The Falcons quarterback worked through a limited practice Friday, but the 1-6 team will keep him out of its Week 8 matchup. Schaub has not started a game since the 2015 season, when he saw action as a Raven following Joe Flacco‘s season-ending injury.

Ryan’s injury is the latest chapter in a nightmare Falcons season. Despite the team possessing a veteran-laden roster and moving to reach top-market extensions with Julio Jones, Deion Jones and Grady Jarrett, the Falcons are off to their worst start in 12 years. Atlanta dealt one of Ryan’s wideouts, Mohamed Sanu, this week. Another loss could prompt more deals for the struggling team in advance of Tuesday’s deadline.

Ryan’s 15 touchdown passes are tied for the league lead. He’s added 2,170 passing yards — 7.6 per attempt. Schaub, the longtime Texans starter, has served as Ryan’s backup since 2016. The 38-year-old passer has attempted just 16 passes as a Falcon, with Ryan being one of the league’s most reliable starters. Schaub has two Pro Bowls to his credit, but the most recent honor came in 2012.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Matt Ryan Deemed Game-Time Decision For Sunday

Matt Ryan left last week’s game against the Rams with a right ankle injury and his status for this week’s matchup is far from certain. However, the good news for Atlanta is that Ryan is practicing today after missing the last two days, D. Orlando Ledbetter of the ACJ relays.

Per Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com (Twitter link), Ryan will be a game-time decision this week. If Ryan can’t go on Sunday vs. the Seahawks, Matt Schaub is in line to make the start for the Falcons.

Ryan will only be active is he is starting, meaning that Atlanta won’t have him on as an emergency QB. The club will also be without G James Carpenter and RB Ito Smith on offense.

Injury Updates: Brees, Ryan, Apple, Slay, Johnson

The latest injury updates from around the league:

  • Drew Brees has missed five games now, and it looks like the Saints quarterback is nearing a return. Brees said he will return to practice this week and that he hopes to play in Week 8 against the Cardinals, according to Mike Triplett of ESPN.com (Twitter link). That being said Brees told Triplett he’s still taking a “we’ll see” approach, so it’s far from guaranteed he suits up against Arizona. Still, he’s clearly going to be back soon. Teddy Bridgewater has gone 5-0 in his absence, so Brees’ thumb injury might end up turning out to be a blessing in disguise if it leaves him more fresh down the stretch. New Orleans picked up a big win on the road against Chicago Sunday, and their defense is playing lights out.
  • Speaking of NFC South quarterbacks, Matt Ryan left the Falcons’ loss to the Rams early with an ankle injury. Ryan was in a lot of pain and in a boot after the game, but a source said “the team does not believe the injury is serious,” per Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Atlanta’s season is circling the drain as they sit at 1-6 and Dan Quinn could be fired any week, so it’s quite possible they’re cautious with Ryan. It wouldn’t be a surprise at all if Matt Schaub is under center next week against Seattle.
  • Cornerback Eli Apple left the Saints’ win over the Bears with a non-contact knee injury, which understandably sparked a lot of concern. The “initial belief” is that Apple hyperextended his knee, according to Nick Underhill of The Athletic (Twitter link). It’s unclear how serious the injury is and he could certainly still miss some time, but fortunately it doesn’t sound like an ACL tear. Apple has started every game for New Orleans this season, and is a key part of their defense. This one will be important to monitor.
  • Star cornerback Darius Slay and running back Kerryon Johnson both left and were ruled out of the Lions’ loss to the Vikings. There hasn’t been much of an update on either, but Slay’s was a hamstring and Johnson’s was a knee. Slay missed one game with a hamstring injury earlier this year, so it sounds like he aggravated that. Johnson missed six games with a knee injury last season, so this is obviously troubling. We’ll keep you posted as soon as we hear more.

Falcons Restructure Matt Ryan’s Contract

Khalil Mack wasn’t the only superstar to get his contract restructured today. The Falcons are tweaking Matt Ryan‘s deal, according to Field Yates of ESPN.com (Twitter link).

Yates writes the Falcons created $7MM in cap space by converting $8.75M of Ryan’s base salary into a signing bonus. It’s a win-win for both sides, as Ryan will get more money upfront while the team will get to spread the cap charge out over the course of the rest of his contract. Ryan signed a massive five-year extension with the team last May.

The Falcons had previously had the least cap space in the entire league according to Overthecap.com’s estimations, so this was a desperately needed move. The Falcons have been pretty quiet this offseason, and the only moves they’ve made this month have been franchise-tagging defensive tackle Grady Jarrett and extending backup quarterback Matt Schaub.

The Falcons have more flexibility now, so it’s safe to assume they’re looking to add a piece or two. 2019 will be a critical year for Atlanta after they fired almost all of their assistants after last season. If they don’t progress in 2019, head coach Dan Quinn could find himself out of a job.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Matt Ryan’s Extension

The details in Matt Ryan‘s historic five-year, $150MM Falcons extension further paint this pact as a player-friendly agreement. Indeed, Ryan has set the bar for full guarantees, with $94.5MM fully guaranteed at signing and another $5.5MM essentially guaranteed (for injury only), Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reports.

After a record $52.5MM comes Ryan’s way this year, he will earn a fully guaranteed $10MM roster bonus in 2019 and a $11.5MM next season as well. In 2020, Ryan will collect a $20.5MM fully guaranteed salary, Florio reports.

The Falcons quarterback’s 2021 salary contains $5.5MM guaranteed for injury at signing, and despite that season being three years away, that $5.5MM becomes fully guaranteed on the third day of the 2019 league year, Florio adds. He’ll earn a $23MM base salary in 2021. The only way Ryan wouldn’t collect his $5.5MM injury guarantee is for the Falcons to part ways with him — at an extreme cost — just after the start of the ’19 league year. So, for all intents and purposes, the 2008 first-round pick has $100MM guaranteed to come his way.

There’s a $7.5MM roster bonus due to Ryan on the third day of the 2022 league year, and Florio adds Ryan’s ’22 and ’23 salaries are set to be $16.25MM and $20.5MM, respectively.

Interestingly, none of these guarantees contain any offset language, Florio reports, with a source informing him this deal contains “all clean cash.” No incentives, per-game roster bonuses or workout bonuses are included in this contract — one that ties Ryan to the Falcons through his age-38 season.

This will certainly come up often in the Packers’ ongoing negotiations with Aaron Rodgers and future quarterback talks, like the impending Seahawks/Russell Wilson discussions.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Browns, Ryan, 49ers, Texans

As we heard Sunday, Browns VP of player personnel Alonzo Highsmith indicated Sam Darnold was his preferred quarterback until late in the draft process. Baker Mayfield then became the consensus choice. However, the first-year Browns exec had one interesting reason for being less interested in Josh Rosen, whom the Browns worked out at UCLA and hosted on a visit.

I was at an airport. UCLA’s volleyball team was in front of me. You heard so much about Rosen. He’s this or that,” Highsmith said, via cleveland.com. “We all know how people talk. So I asked one of the volleyball coaches, ‘What’s Rosen like?’ He said, ‘Aaaaa, you should probably ask his girlfriend. She’s one of the players. She’s over there. I’m like, ‘All right, coach. That’s good enough.’

I don’t know what all this means, but there was something about him that bothered me.”

The Browns were not connected closely to Rosen, the least mobile of this year’s top QB contingent but also the player who could well be the readiest to start in Week 1, and they preferred a more mobile passer. But this candor is rather interesting and may not age well if Rosen has a strong rookie year for the Cardinals. It’s not the first time a key Browns exec’s made a comment on a quarterback they bypassed.

As for Allen, Highsmith wasn’t interested in hearing excuses for why the Wyoming player couldn’t complete 57 percent of his passes in either of his two years as a starter.

Josh Allen … big arm … he could throw the ball from here to the moon,” Highsmith said. “When they have to make excuses … why are they not completing passes? That’s a problem. Baker Mayfield lost two receivers (from the 2016 team) and he was the same quarterback.”

  • In addition to Matt Ryan‘s five-year, $150MM Falcons extension being a per-year record, it contains the most Year 1 money in NFL history. The 11th-year quarterback will take home $52.5MM in 2018, Dan Graziano of ESPN.com reports. However, Matthew Stafford still holds the signing bonus record. Ryan will see a $46.5MM bonus, per Graziano. That’s just shy of Stafford’s record $50MM signing bonus agreed to last year.
  • Elvis Dumervil is currently without a team after the 49ers did not pick up his option. The 49ers did not draft an edge defender this year, and John Lynch indicated Dumervil — his teammate for two seasons with the Broncos — could be brought back and may not need a full offseason in what would be his 13th year. “Yeah, I think it could be,” Lynch said (via Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle) of a possible reunion with the 34-year-old pass rusher. “I’m sure a lot of (teams) are looking at it as such. Elvis isn’t a guy who at this stage of his career really needs to be around in an offseason. He’s a professional. He takes tremendous pride in how he trains, how he eats and all those things. So he’ll be ready.” Lynch mentioned the 49ers plan to evaluate some younger players for pass-rushing roles, though, so it could be a while before a possible reunion commences. Dumervil made $4.5MM with San Francisco last season and registered a team-high 6.5 sacks.
  • The Texans are moving second-year cornerback Treston Decoud to safety, Mark Berman of Fox 26 tweets. A 2017 fifth-round pick, Decoud played in 10 games for the Texans as a rookie. Decoud played cornerback in both of his seasons at Oregon State. He’s the younger brother of former longtime Falcons safety Thomas Decoud. Houston signed Tyrann Mathieu in free agency and drafted Justin Reid with its first 2018 pick, a third-rounder, so Treston Decoud could stay a depth piece at his new position.
  • Houston’s revamp of its scouting department will see the franchise hire nine-year Patriots staffer James Liipfert as the new director of college scouting, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle reports. Liipfert will succeed Jon Carr in this role. Having been with the Patriots during each year Bill O’Brien was, Liipfert served the past three seasons with the Patriots as a national scout after previously being an area scout.

NFC South Notes: Ryan, Vea, Panthers

The $100MM guaranteed in Matt Ryan‘s landscape-changing Falcons extension appears to be fully guaranteed. Tom Pelissero of NFL.com reports (video link) Ryan will see every dollar of this nine-figure allotment, one that will take the quarterback guarantee market to another level. Kirk Cousins‘ previous record of $84MM — more than $20MM more than Matthew Stafford‘s then-record amount from last summer — lasted less than two months. While it would be a good bet Ryan would see all $100MM even if it weren’t fully guaranteed, given the 11th-year quarterback’s reliability and importance to the Falcons, this sets a high floor for the impending Aaron Rodgers extension. This Ryan deal may have been completed as early as March, per Pelissero, but Ryan’s wife having twins in March prompted the parties to delay the talks.

Here’s the latest from the South divisions:

  • Despite being able to land Vita Vea with the No. 12 overall pick, the Buccaneers placed a top-five grade on the defensive tackle. Jason Licht said during an appearance on Good Morning Football (video link) Vea was slotted at fourth on the Bucs’ board. This made it risky for Tampa Bay to trade the No. 7 pick to Buffalo, with three non-quarterbacks going from Nos. 7-11, but the south Florida franchise landed Vea anyway. Licht said the Bucs ran several pre-draft scenarios centered around the possibility of trading back and still seeing Vea available, but the GM indicated there were a couple of players the team would have been comfortable with at No. 12 if another team chose Vea. One of these could have been Derwin James, a player whom Licht said the Bucs liked “a lot.”
  • A somewhat strange shakeup will occur on the Panthers‘ coaching staff. Curtis Fuller will resign from his post as defensive backs coach, Joe Person and Jourdan Rodrigue of the Charlotte Observer report. The reasoning for this exit is as of now unknown, with GM Marty Hurney telling the Observer “it’s a complicated situation.” Fuller’s been on Carolina’s staff since 2013, serving in various capacities — mostly helping defensive backs. The 39-year-old assistant rose to his most recent role last year after Steve Wilks was promoted to defensive coordinator.
  • Part of an NFL initiative for overseas players being placed on NFC South practice squads, defensive end Alex Jenkins remains with the Saints going into what could be his second year after signing a reserve/futures contract. And the team will again receive a roster exemption, Josh Katzenstein of NOLA.com reports (on Twitter). The England native won’t count against the Saints’ 90-man offseason roster and would be an 11th man on the practice squad if he can’t make the team’s 53-man roster out of camp.