Matt Ryan

Latest On Matt Ryan’s Future With Colts

Matt Ryan isn’t a stopgap solution at QB for the Colts. Owner Jim Irsay told reporters that he could envision a multiyear partnership with the veteran quarterback, and he refused to compare the situation to Philip Rivers‘ one-year stint with the organization.

“Matt is different than Philip, this is definitely different than that,” Irsay said (via ESPN’s Mike Wells). “It’s not drafting Andrew Luck, but it’s different than Philip. We knew Philip was going to be a one-year sort of thing and we view this as very possibly a three-year thing. Who knows. It’s hard to put a number on it.”

While the Colts seem content to ride with the 36-year-old quarterback for the foreseeable future, Irsay also admitted that the front office is continuing to target young options at the position.

“We hope Matt can be here for four years, maybe,” Irsay said. “We certainly have our radar out for a young guy that can be the long-term future.”

Ryan had one of the least-productive seasons of his career in 2021. He went 7-10 in 17 starts, throwing for 3,968 yards, 20 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions. The veteran still has two years remaining on the five-year, $150MM extension he signed with the Falcons in 2018, and his cap hit means he’s pretty much locked in for at least the next two seasons. That’s fine with Ryan, who’s excited to join the Colts.

“I’m excited to be a part of a team where there’s other guys to lean on, too,” Ryan said (via NFL.com’s Nick Shook). “You can turn around and hand that thing off. (Jonathan Taylor) can go for big numbers for us. You got good wide receivers, good tight ends, great offensive line, really good defense. To me, that’s one of the things that has me most excited.”

Colts GM: Matt Ryan To Start For At Least Two Seasons

The Colts will soon be one of the few teams in NFL history to deploy a different Week 1 starting quarterback in six straight seasons, but Chris Ballard communicated with his new starter he will be the one to stop the merry-go-round.

Indianapolis’ sixth-year GM told Matt Ryan he will be the Colts’ starting quarterback for at least two seasons, before the team determines its next path. Ryan’s 2018 extension agreement runs through 2023.

I wanted to make sure Matt knew that there’s no doubt it’s going to be two years,” Ballard said, via the Indianapolis Star’s Joel Erickson. “And I think we’ll go from there. I think we’ll know. I think both parties will know as we move forward.”

Ryan, 37 in May, has not indicated retirement resides on his near-future radar. The Colts acquired Ryan’s Falcons contract last week, and after the 15th-year passer entered March with what would have been an NFL-record $48.7MM cap number, his 2022 Indy figure comes in at just $18.7MM. The Falcons absorbed a league-record $40MM dead-money hit, and Erickson tweets the Colts converted some of Ryan’s money to a $12MM signing bonus. Ryan’s 2023 cap figure, thanks to a $10MM roster bonus currently guaranteed for injury, checks in at $35.2MM.

The Colts began the past five seasons with Scott Tolzien, Andrew Luck, Jacoby Brissett, Philip Rivers and Carson Wentz, respectively, at quarterback. Brissett logged the most snaps, replacing Tolzien early in 2017, but the team has not started the same passer in back-to-back seasons under Ballard. The Colts traded Wentz shortly after the Combine, where they did some legwork on Ryan at the Indy-stationed gathering. The Falcons discussed Ryan’s trade value at the Combine, Albert Breer of SI.com notes. They were told Ryan’s contract made anything more than a fourth-rounder difficult, and when the Colts-Falcons trade talks commenced in earnest, Ballard said that was the best he could do. The Falcons talked the Colts up to a third-rounder (No. 82 overall).

Atlanta’s Deshaun Watson investigation process began last season, when the team heard the disgruntled Texans quarterback had interest in playing for his hometown team. The Falcons did not communicate their Watson interest to Ryan until the former was cleared by the first of the two grand juries involved in this saga, Breer adds, noting that the Colts as a Ryan trade suitor before Watson had made his decision. Shortly after Watson chose the Browns, Arthur Smith asked Ryan if he would be interested in the Colts. Ryan soon confirmed he was, leading to the teams’ March 21 deal.

Indianapolis does not have a first-round pick this year, but the team could be back on the radar for a Round 1 QB prospect in 2023. But the Colts and Ryan are hopeful he can play beyond that point.

If we decided to make a move on a quarterback, that’s definitely a conversation we would have,” Ballard said, via Erickson, of keeping Ryan informed on his potential successor. “In the world that I’ve been living in since Andrew retired, the whole organization, it’d be nice to get some stability where we have a guy for two, three, four years that can play and give us some continuity.”

Latest On Colts, QB Matt Ryan

The Falcons and Colts stole headlines yesterday when Atlanta shipped quarterback Matt Ryan to Indianapolis. While it was still a bit jarring to see the Falcons trade their long-time QB, the deal didn’t come as a complete surprise. After all, the Falcons pursued Deshaun Watson before he landed with the Browns, and Ryan’s name was on the trade block even before this offseason.

Ryan spoke with reporters today and admitted that the constant trade chatter did get to him a bit.

“I didn’t like everything I heard but you don’t always like what you hear sometimes,” Ryan said (via NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo on Twitter). “But [the Falcons] were professional and handled it well. I knew at some point I was going to have to make a decision on whether or not I would stay.”

Ryan also said that Indy was the only destination he wanted to go to if he didn’t end up back in Atlanta (per Garafolo on Twitter).

Some more notes regarding yesterday’s trade:

  • Ryan met with the Colts on Saturday night, requesting to explore his options elsewhere after the Watson developments, per D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. That meeting ended up swaying him to join the organization vs. staying with the Falcons, per Garafolo (on Twitter). “The time was just right for me and I felt I needed to do it,” Ryan said of his decision to move on.
  • The Colts picked up Ryan’s $7.5MM roster bonus and added guarantees to the entirety of his two-year deal, per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport (on Twitter). The deal still has nearly $54MM remaining.
  • OverTheCap.com has provided some insight on what those next two years will look like for Indy’s cap sheet. Ryan will have a $24.7MM cap hit this upcoming season and a $29.2MM cap hit in 2023. Meanwhile, NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero tweets that the Falcons will carry $40.52MM in dead cap this season thanks to the trade. Incredibly, that’s $9MM in savings for the organization.

Colts, Falcons Complete Matt Ryan Trade

The Matt Ryan talks have produced an agreement. The Falcons are sending their 14-year starting quarterback to the Colts in exchange for a third-round pick, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. It is a 2022 third-rounder, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com adds (via Twitter), while ESPN’s Field Yates clarifies on Twitter that it’s Atlanta’s own third-round pick (vs. Washington’s third rounder), No. 82 in the upcoming draft.

This trade will arm the Colts with yet another quarterback solution, with the deal coming not long after Indianapolis shipped its latest one-and-done starter — Carson Wentz — to Washington. While word of a Ryan-to-Indianapolis deal leaked Monday, Pelissero adds the sides had been discussing it since before Deshaun Watson was dealt to Cleveland (Twitter link). Despite the Falcons meeting with Watson and being prepared to trade for him, Ryan did not ask for a new contract, Schefter tweets. That could be in the works with the Colts, but Ryan is still tied to the five-year, $150MM deal he signed in 2018. That extension runs through 2023.

Ryan will follow Watson, Wentz and Russell Wilson in being traded over the past two weeks. The quarterback market led to a major domino in Watson, who chose the Browns after the team made an unprecedented offer. The fallout from that transaction will also give the Falcons and Colts new starting quarterbacks, with Baker Mayfield set to move soon as well.

The Falcons will take on an NFL-record $40.5MM in dead money by trading Ryan now, but they are sending the former MVP to the Colts before paying him a $7.5MM roster bonus. Atlanta delayed Ryan’s bonus to 3pm CT today, and Indianapolis is now responsible for it. The Colts, however, cleared out more than $20MM in salary by trading Wentz. Despite Ryan entering March with what would have been a record-setting $48.7MM salary cap hit, he is tied to only this bonus and a $17.2MM base salary for the 2022 season.

Since 2017, the Colts have used five different Week 1 starting quarterbacks — Scott Tolzien, Andrew Luck, Jacoby Brissett, Philip Rivers and Wentz. Ryan will join this succession and strip the Colts of another draft asset. But the Wentz drama left the Colts with a glaring QB need. Mayfield wanted to fill it, but Ryan — despite being nearly 10 years older than the disgruntled Browns QB — will have that opportunity. The Colts sent seven players to the Pro Bowl last year but failed to make the playoffs, combusting with ugly losses to the Raiders and Jaguars to close the season. They will count on Ryan to avoid such a fate next season.

Indianapolis lost its 2022 first-rounder by trading for Wentz but picked up two additional thirds — one of which could be upgraded to a second depending on Wentz’s Washington playing time. That gave the team some flexibility regarding its next QB move. The Colts will still have second- and third-rounders in the 2022 draft.

Ryan, 36, arrived in Atlanta as the 2008 No. 3 overall pick — Thomas Dimitroff‘s first draft choice as Falcons GM — and quickly filled the hole Michael Vick‘s prison sentence created. He took the Falcons to six playoff berths, with his Georgia run peaking with a 2016 MVP campaign and a slot in Super Bowl LI. The Falcons’ historic collapse that night keyed a downhill slide. Although Atlanta made the playoffs the following year, the team has produced four consecutive losing seasons since. Ryan seemed out of place on the current Falcons, who are launching a rebuild behind new GM Terry Fontenot. HC Arthur Smith said shortly after the 2021 season’s conclusion he wanted Ryan back, but the team is going in a different direction.

Ryan has not made a Pro Bowl since that MVP season, and he ranked 21st in QBR last season — 12 spots behind Wentz. The Boston College alum, of course, is far more accomplished than the previous Colts passer; he ranked 14th and 16th in QBR in 2019 and ’20, respectively. The Colts have work to do at wide receiver, but they still feature one of the NFL’s better offensive lines and just added Yannick Ngakoue to a solid defense.

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.

Latest On Matt Ryan

After being one of the runners-up to land Deshaun Watson, the Falcons face an important decision with their current quarterback. The team has “fielded trade calls” on Matt Ryan in the past few days, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport (Twitter link). 

[RELATED: Falcons Delay Ryan’s Roster Bonus]

Today represents an important, if artificial, deadline, as Ryan has a $7.5MM roster bonus due at 4:00 PM Eastern time. The Falcons pushed that date back last week, as a means of making a trade for Watson more viable. With the Georgia native off to Cleveland, however, they now need to commit to their course of action with the franchise signal-caller.

Rapoport’s colleague Tom Pelissero adds that the process of trade discussions pre-date Atlanta’s inclusion in the pursuit of Watson, and has continued throughout the weekend. As he notes, the largest hurdle to be cleared for any move to be possible is Ryan’s contract situation. The 36-year-old has two years remaining on his deal, with $51.7MM owed over that time, and cap hits of over $40MM in both seasons. The team was thought to have restructured his pact last week, but they have yet to officially process that move.

The Colts have been named as a potential landing spot for the former league MVP. As one of the only remaining teams with a vacant starting spot at the position – not to mention one willing to bring in accomplished but ageing veterans such as Philip Rivers – a trade to Indianapolis wouldn’t come as a surprise. On the other hand, they are said to be the preferred destination of Baker Mayfield, whose team has more reason to execute a trade. Between that, and the fact Mayfield is ten years younger and his contract is far less expensive, Ryan won’t be the only consideration for Indianapolis.

Ultimately, this situation could be resolved in the coming hours. If a deal doesn’t happen, it would point to Ryan remaining with the only franchise he’s been with. If it does, another QB domino will have fallen, and the Falcons’ succession plan at the position will begin.

Saints’ QB Options After Missing Out On Watson

With the news that Deshaun Watson will be acquired by the Browns, the Saints are back to where they were a week ago. Not content to enter the 2022 NFL season with only Ian Book and Taysom Hill on the roster at quarterback, New Orleans continues to evaluate the options available on the market.

The best option may be the simplest: free agent Jameis Winston has kept New Orleans in his sights while shopping out his talents. Winston was a locker room favorite for the Saints last year, seeing some success as their starter before tearing his ACL seven games into the season. Winston recently entered into discussions with the Colts, but he already has an offer on the table from the Saints. Thoughts were that the offer may be contingent on whether or not Watson found his way to New Orleans, but, with that out of play, the Saints would be more than happy to bring Winston back. Teddy Bridgewater was also a free agent option for a reunion before he signed with Dolphins earlier this week.

The Saints could also look towards the trade market for a new starting quarterback. The 49ers have widely let it be known that Jimmy Garoppolo is available. Garoppolo has put up solid numbers throughout his career while racking up wins with the Patriots and Niners. The Browns are now much more likely to honor Baker Mayfield‘s trade request after bringing Watson in. Mayfield famously replaced the zeroes in Cleveland’s win column and ended the longest playoff drought in NFL history. If New Orleans is more interested in a short-term replacement, they could make a move for Atlanta’s Matt Ryan. The former-MVP was clearly thought of as expendable as the Falcons went all in during the Watson sweepstakes.

So whether the Saints go through free agency or the trade market, there are still some starting-caliber options they can pursue. Right now, their future at the position likely hinges on Winston’s decision. If Winston decides to sign elsewhere, New Orleans will need to react fast to explore these other options.

Baker Mayfield Targeting Colts In Trade; Seahawks Eyeing QB

After the Browns ended Baker Mayfield‘s four-year tenure as their starter by trading for Deshaun Watson, the former No. 1 overall pick figures to be an option for another team in need of a QB1. Mayfield has his eye on another AFC team.

Mayfield would prefer to be traded to the Colts, Jeff Howe of The Athletic reports (on Twitter), and has informed the Browns of his ideal destination. One season remains on Mayfield’s contract, with the Browns having picked up his fully guaranteed fifth-year option — worth $18.9MM — last year. The Colts have shown interest in Mayfield, James Palmer of NFL.com tweets, but no notable discussions have occurred yet.

The Colts make sense as a Mayfield destination. They ditched Carson Wentz after one season and do not have a first-round pick, which the team sent to Philadelphia in the Wentz deal. Prior to Mayfield requesting a trade Thursday, the Browns were willing to work with their now-former starting quarterback in a trade. However, they were not prepared to accommodate his trade request Thursday. Of course, that was before Cleveland came in with a market-reshaping offer for Watson. Mayfield is now expected to be moved. His lack of a no-trade clause could prompt the Browns to move him to an NFC team, so it will be interesting to see how the team treats its longtime starter on the way out.

Indianapolis could easily fit Mayfield’s salary onto its payroll; the team created plenty of cap space by unloading Wentz. The Colts lead the NFL in cap space, at nearly $40MM, and have a glaring need at quarterback. Mayfield would obviously be an upgrade over anyone presently on the Colts. The Colts have a playoff-caliber roster, which features NFL rushing champion Jonathan Taylor. Though the team needs pass-catching help, Mayfield is undoubtedly intrigued by the talent in Indy.

The Seahawks lurk here as well. They emerged as a possibility for Mayfield earlier this week, and USA Today’s Josina Anderson tweets they have inquired on both Mayfield and Matt Ryan. Seattle would prefer an experienced QB, Anderson adds. While Pete Carroll indicated the Seahawks were fans of Drew Lock as a prospect, he bounced in and out of the Broncos’ starting lineup during a rocky three-year tenure. Ryan’s contract remains onerous for the Falcons to trade, and without Watson in the picture, Atlanta greenlighting a 15th season with Ryan would make sense financially.

Falcons Delay Matt Ryan’s Roster Bonus

Matt Ryan will have to wait a few extra days to get paid, and he’s also buying the Falcons some extra time in the Deshaun Watson sweepstakes. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter (on Twitter), the Falcons have pushed back Ryan’s $7.5 million roster bonus from Friday to Tuesday.

[RELATED: Falcons To Restructure Matt Ryan’s Deal?]

This will provide the Falcons with a bit more flexibility as they pursue a trade for Watson. Ryan’s impending bonus would complicate a corresponding trade, but the extra few days means Ryan’s hypothetical suitor wouldn’t have to get as creative with the cap.

The Falcons haven’t processed the restructured contract that Ryan agreed to last week, providing the organization with even more flexibility in trade talks. The veteran QB reportedly reduced his sizable cap hold, opening $12MM in cap space for the Falcons.

Atlanta is one of three teams still in the running for Watson (along with the Saints and Panthers). The organization informed Ryan last weekend of their plans at quarterback, but it remains to be seen if the 14-year vet will stick around if the Falcons don’t acquire Watson. Ryan went 7-10 as a starter this past season, tossing 20 touchdowns vs. 12 interceptions.

Falcons To Restructure Matt Ryan’s Deal?

MARCH 16, 11:55am: The Falcons have yet to process a restructuring of Matt Ryan‘s deal (Twitter link via Ari Meirov). That could be an indication that they’re serious about their pursuit of Deshaun Watson, who met with the Falcons today.

MARCH 11, 8:35pm: The man who was projected to have the highest cap number in the NFL in 2022 has re-worked his contract. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reports that the Falcons have restructured Matt Ryan‘s deal (Twitter link). 

As Rapoport details, the move creates $12MM in cap space for the upcoming season. While he was only due to make $23.75MM in 2022, Ryan’s cap number was slated to be over $48.66MM. That was a result of previous financial maneuvering, which contributed in no small part to the team’s current difficult cap situation. Ryan’s pact follows a similar pattern in its two remaining years.

Last month, owner Arthur Blank made it clear the team is putting together a succession plan for their franchise QB. The former third-overall pick will be 37 when the 2022 season starts, and it surprised many when the Falcons chose not to draft an heir apparent with the No. 4 selection last April.

Ryan has been the model of consistency throughout his 14 seasons in Atlanta, including, most notably, his MVP season in 2016 that led to a trip to the Super Bowl. Since then, his individual stats have been essentially on par with his career averages, although the team as a whole hasn’t been able to replicate that previous success. In 2021, the four-time Pro Bowler completed 67% of his passes for 3,968 yards and 20 touchdowns.

With this move, the Falcons will now have roughly $16.2MM to work with heading into free agency next week. One obvious use for the manufactured space would be to re-sign linebacker Foyesade Oluokun, who earned himself a pay raise after leading the NFL in tackles last season. It was recently reported that he could reach the $10MM per year mark on a new deal – a figure which would now be easier for Atlanta to accommodate.