Matt Ryan

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.

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.

Trade Rumors: Giants, Ryan, Fuller

After dealing Markus Golden to the Cardinals, it appears the 1-6 Giants have officially declared themselves sellers at this year’s trade deadline. Though GM Dave Gettleman may be reluctant to trade away veteran talent that could theoretically help Big Blue win a few games — and perhaps save Gettleman’s job in the process — players like Evan Engram, Kevin Zeitler, and Golden Tate could be available, as Ryan Dunleavy of the New York Post writes (though Ian Rapoport of NFL.com says the club is unlikely to deal Engram).

2017 second-round DT Dalvin Tomlinson could also be on the move, per Dunleavy. Tomlinson is playing out the last year of his rookie contract, and while he has expressed interest in staying with the Giants long-term, there has been little progress in contract talks.

As we creep closer to the November 3 deadline, let’s round up a few more trade rumors from around the league:

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.