Matt Ryan

Minor NFL Transactions: 4/23/24

Today’s minor moves:

Atlanta Falcons

Kansas City Chiefs

New England Patriots

The Patriots have recently been seeking some depth at tight end, as the team hosted three players at the position last week (per ESPN’s Mike Reiss). The team ultimately opted for the six-foot-four, 250-pound Wilcox. The former UDFA out of South Florida spent his first four seasons in Cincinnati, where he often alternated between the practice squad and active roster. He had a career year in 2022, finishing with 17 catches. However, he followed that up with a 2023 campaign where he caught only nine passes.

Hunter Henry will continue to lead New England’s tight ends depth chart in 2024 after he re-signed with the organization. The Patriots also signed veteran Austin Hooper to replace Mike Gesicki, who left via free agency. Mitchell will likely compete with La’Michael Pettway for the third TE spot.

In Kansas City, the Chiefs retained Cochrane, who was tendered as a restricted free agent earlier this offseason. The former UDFA out of South Dakota has won a pair of Super Bowls in two seasons in Kansas City, appearing in 32 regular season games and seven postseason contests along the way. He’s turned into a key special teams player for the Chiefs, appearing in 336 ST snaps in 2023. He also got some run on defense, finishing the campaign with 28 total tackles.

QB Matt Ryan Retires

2023 saw Matt Ryan transition to the broadcast booth, a move which appeared to bring an end to his playing days. The former MVP quarterback remained open to a return to the field last season, but that is no longer the case.

Ryan announced his official retirement on Monday (video link). To no surprise, he has done so as a member of the Falcons, the organization with which he spent the first 14 years of his career. The 38-year-old spent 2022 with the Colts, but his one-and-done tenure there paved the way for his broadcasting career to begin.

The Falcons drafted Ryan third overall in 2008, and he served as the team’s starting quarterback from that point through to his final campaign in Atlanta (2021). He collected four Pro Bowl nods during that span, highlighted by the 2016 season in which he was at the helm of the league’s highest-scoring offense. The Falcons rode their success on that side of the ball to a Super Bowl appearance.

Atlanta went on to suffer an historic collapse in that game, and the team has only made one playoff appearance since. As Ryan aged, he generally remained a consistent producer but the former Offensive Rookie of the Year was unable to guide the Falcons an another deep playoff run. After facing increasing questions about his future, Ryan was dealt to the Colts in 2022.

Indianapolis viewed the Ryan acquisition as a multi-year investment, but he struggled during his run as the team’s starter (14 touchdowns, 13 interceptions in 12 games). With Frank Reich out of the picture, interim head coach Jeff Saturday benched the Boston College product; that move, in turn, foreshadowed his release last March. Ryan then lined up a deal with CBS while leaving the door open to an NFL return under the right circumstances.

After the Jets lost Aaron Rodgers to an Achilles tear in Week 1, Ryan was named as one of the veteran passers who reached out to New York about a short-term arrangement. Ryan disputed that, though, and he remained away from the game (in a playing capacity) for the campaign. Now, he can keep his attention focused on his broadcasting work while reflecting on his decorated time in the league.

“So today, 16 days after being drafted, my childhood dream has officially come to an end. I’m honored to retire as a Falcon,” Ryan’s message reads in part. “Thank you to all the Falcons fans for your continued support… While we didn’t accomplish everything we had hoped, I am proud of what we did.”

Ryan will formally exit the game as the Falcons’ franchise record-holder in several categories. In terms of all-time ranks, he sits fifth in the NFL in completions (5.551), seventh in yards (62.792) and ninth in touchdowns (381). Today’s one-day Falcons pact represents the final – and, of course, least lucrative – one of his accomplished tenure. Ryan amassed over $306MM in career earnings after inking two separate Atlanta extensions with a nine-figure total value.

“You have no control in this profession in where you start,” Ryan added. “I am so lucky that my start and my finish was here in Atlanta.”

Jets Not Aiming To Add Another Veteran QB

The Jets will head into a third straight game with a Zach WilsonTim Boyle QB depth chart, with practice squad addition Trevor Siemian not on track to be elevated in time for New York’s matchup against Kansas City. For the foreseeable future, Siemian looks to be it regarding Jets QB additions.

Although Siemian does not profile as a player who will be an open-and-shut upgrade on Wilson, he represents the organization’s move. In the wake of Aaron Rodgers‘ Achilles tear, the Jets did not want to bring in a starter-caliber quarterback like Carson Wentz or Matt Ryan due to the quarterback controversy such a move would have incited, per the New York Post’s Brian Costello. Instead, the Jets wanted to give Wilson the best chance to succeed. Robert Saleh‘s endorsements are in line with that plan.

[RELATED: Rodgers Not Ruling Out Return This Season]

So far, Wilson has not shown notable improvement, despite the Jets’ party line depicting offseason progress from the former No. 2 overall pick. The Jets’ inaction regarding a surefire upgrade effort also stems from finances, according to CBS Sports’ Josina Anderson, who said during an appearance on Fox Sports’ Undisputed the team already devoting a substantial amount of cash to its QB spot — via the Rodgers trade — has impacted its willingness to chase another passer. Both Wentz and Ryan reached out to the team, with Costello adding Ryan indeed did so (despite the ex-Falcons and Colts starter denying he wants to step away from his CBS announcing gig).

Only the Browns and Ravens have outspent the Jets in terms of 2023 cash, with Gang Green at nearly $277MM. In terms of cap space, the Jets hold just more than $8MM, which ranks 11th in the NFL. The directive aimed at instructing the Jets to make do with that they have at quarterback came from the top down, Anderson adds.

While Woody Johnson confirmed a willingness to spend for a veteran upgrade this offseason, it looks like — for the time being, at least — the Jets will not double down on the position after acquiring Rodgers. The Jets prefer to use their practice squad as the gateway to a QB addition, Anderson notes. This would mean a Siemian elevation or eventual promotion to the active roster.

Names like Kirk Cousins and Ryan Tannehill have circulated as potential Jets options. Cousins, who would cost the Vikings $10MM in dead money to move, has a no-trade clause. The Titans did not touch Tannehill’s base salary this offseason. With that number sitting at $27MM, the Jets would need to make considerable cap adjustments or push the Titans to eat a portion of his contract. Wentz remains unattached. Despite coming into the league via an Eagles trade-up to No. 2 overall, a move Philadelphia made when current Jets GM Joe Douglas was part of its front office, no traction has emerged regarding the now-well-traveled QB being signed.

Siemian spoke with the Jets shortly after Rodgers went down, and while the team opted to stand pat at quarterback through Week 3, Costello adds Siemian reached out again this week to see if they were still interested. The former seventh-round pick, who went into the 2019 season as Sam Darnold‘s Jets backup, is now 31 and has been with seven teams — if his Cincinnati offseason stay is counted. Siemian has made 30 career starts but has been a backup since the Broncos traded him to the Vikings in 2018.

Siemian joined Chad Henne, Colt McCoy and Brett Rypien as players the Jets contacted. Interest was not mutual regarding some of the players the Jets contacted, Anderson adds. The Jets inquired about signing Rypien off the Rams’ practice squad, a move that would have vaulted the ex-Broncos backup to the Jets’ active roster for at least three weeks, but Los Angeles instead promoted him to its 53-man unit.

With Wilson-driven locker-room frustration again surfacing, it will be interesting to see if the Jets change their low-cost approach to QB staffing in this emergency circumstance. The team had mostly relied on rookie-contract QBs since the Brett Favre move 15 years ago, prompting the Rodgers swing. With Wilson’s QBR ahead of only Justin Fields‘ number, the Jets are paying for not acquiring a veteran backup and instead keeping Wilson in that role this offseason. The team’s Week 7 bye might be the point a reassessment occurs.

QBs Carson Wentz, Matt Ryan Reached Out To Jets

SEPTEMBER 25: In an interview with colleague Brandon Baylor, Ryan shot down speculation he has discussed a Jets deal (video link). Citing an enjoyment of the early days of his broadcasting career, Ryan added he has “no interest in doing that right now” with respect to taking on a mid-season New York starting gig. Jets head coach Robert Saleh has repeated his confidence in Wilson anyway, so a return to the playing field for Ryan remains unlikely at this point.

SEPTEMBER 24: The Jets have yet to make an addition at the quarterback position in response to Aaron Rodgers‘ Achilles tear, with Zach Wilson in place to serve as the team’s starter in his absence. New York has received interest from a pair of notable free agent veterans, though.

Jay Glazer reported on Fox Sports’ pregame show that Carson Wentz and Matt Ryan have reached out to the Jets about a potential deal. Notably, though, he adds the team has not shared their interest in working out an agreement. Both veterans are among the experienced signal-callers available to the Jets, a team which has held talks with free agent passers but has yet to add an outside option.

Ryan was released from the Colts after his one-season Indianapolis tenure proved to be a disappointment. The former MVP has taken a broadcasting gig with CBS, but he has made it clear on multiple occasions he would be interested in another playing opportunity if one presented itself. Ryan’s name has been floated as a potential option for the Jets, but it has not been expected the 38-year-old would find himself in New York’s plans.

Wentz likely represents the top signal-caller still unsigned at the moment, but he has burned through multiple starting opportunities in recent years. After leading the league in interceptions in 2020, the season in which he lost the Eagles No. 1 role to Jalen Hurts, Wentz followed that up with a one-and-done campaign with the Colts. He spent last year with the Commanders, and his Washington release came as no surprise with the decision to move on to Sam Howell in the nation’s capital.

The Jets have been adamant about keeping Wilson atop the depth chart, citing confidence in the former No. 2 pick’s growth this past offseason under Rodgers’ tutelage. Only Tim Boyle remains in place as a backup for the time being, but the team has been linked to the likes of Brett RypienColt McCoy and Chad Henne regarding potential free agent additions. Only the latter two have been contacted by the team so far, but other options are willing to explore a deal if the Jets wish to expand their pool of targets.

Matt Ryan Still Open To NFL Gig, Discusses Falcons Divorce

Matt Ryan is currently preparing for his first season as an NFL broadcaster, but the long-time quarterback isn’t ready to officially retire from the league. In a conversation with Josh Kendall of The Athletic, Ryan acknowledged that he’s still leaving open the possibility of returning to the playing field.

[RELATED: Matt Ryan To Become Broadcaster; QB Open To Resuming Playing Career]

“I’m staying in shape,” Ryan said. “I think it is kind of, ‘You know my number. You know where I’m at.’ If anything were to come up, you know, we’ll see. (CBS) is where my focus is at right now. But we’ll see how the season shakes out.”

When Ryan revealed earlier this offseason that he was joining CBS as a studio and game analyst, he noted that the announcement wasn’t “a retirement post.” Ryan also stated after the season that he still viewed himself as being capable of playing at the NFL level. The quarterback was unceremoniously released by the Colts in March following a disappointing one-year stint with the organization. The 38-year-old is still due $12MM from the organization in 2023.

Ryan showed signs of age during the 2022 campaign, with his interception percentage (2.8) and yards-per-catch average (9.9) both establishing career-worst marks. However, the veteran also dealt with plenty of adversity during his only season outside of Atlanta, with the former MVP finding himself bouncing in and out of the starting lineup.

“It was one of those things, you know, I felt like I was going into it in a position where I’d probably seen it all in 14 years and then realize, ‘No you have not, you have not seen it all,’” Ryan said of his experience in Indianapolis. “There’s a lot of other things that are going to come up. It was a difficult year, there’s no doubt about it.”

Ryan enjoyed a 14-year stint with the Falcons, which included Offensive Rookie of the Year honors as well as a Super Bowl appearance. Ryan also opened up to Kendall about his Falcons divorce, acknowledging that it was a “s— show” but he “came out of it stronger and in a really good spot.”

“Things kind of escalated quickly within one week and the entire dynamic changed,” Ryan said of his eventual trade from Atlanta to Indy. “That part was hard, there’s no doubt about it because for 14 years every morning I woke up, I knew exactly what was expected of me. When that changes, that part was difficult, but you get thrust in through a new situation so quickly.”

Ryan clearly doesn’t hold any ill will towards his former organization. As Kendall writes, Ryan recently visited the Falcons’ training facility for the first time since he was traded, and he’s had dinner with Falcons owner Arthur Blank, as well.

“The biggest thing that I took away from that situation is I wasn’t going to let one bad week ruin 14 years of awesome, of really positive, great experiences,” Ryan said. “You also come to realize the business side of it. I understand that there are difficult decisions that need to be made and there’s a right or wrong way to do those kinds of things. Would I have liked some of it to be different? Yeah, but it wasn’t handled badly. It was just a situation that was difficult for all parties involved.”

Matt Ryan To Become Broadcaster; QB Open To Resuming Playing Career

MAY 18: It does not sound like Ryan would take another QB gig just because it was offered. In an interview addressing his recent decision to join CBS, the former MVP said the fit would need to be perfect for him to play a 16th season.

This situation, all the stars would have to [align],” Ryan said during a Sirius XM Radio appearance (via “I’ve just learned, at least during my experience in the 15 years I’ve played, to just not shut any doors.”

Ryan not filing retirement papers will keep him in line for the $12MM the Colts owe. He joins Colts predecessor Carson Wentz and Teddy Bridgewater as starter-level QBs available, but at this point, it sounds more likely than not Ryan will focus on broadcasting.

MAY 15: Matt Ryan has found the next football chapter of his life, albeit without fully closing the door on his first one resuming at some point. The veteran quarterback announced on Monday that he will be joining CBS as a studio and game analyst in 2023 (Twitter link).

The 37-year-old added, however, that “this is not a retirement post.” He will obviously remain on the lookout for opportunities to join a team as a player again, something which his one-year stint with the Colts suggests would be unlikely at this point. Ryan was released in March in an expected move following a forgettable performance by he and the team on offense. He is due $12MM from the Colts in 2023.

“It is truly an honor to join this exceptional team at CBS Sports,” a statement from Ryan reads. “I have been blessed to have incredible teammates throughout my career and I am fortunate that will continue here working with and learning from the very best in the industry.”

The 2016 MVP enjoyed a 14-year stint with the Falcons, which included Offensive Rookie of the Year honors as well as a Super Bowl appearance. Ryan slowed down following Atlanta’s loss in the title game, however, and he was traded to Indianapolis last offseason. The Colts initially viewed him as a multi-year solution under center, despite his age, but their evaluation changed dramatically during the campaign.

Ryan found himself in and out of the lineup as the Colts pivoted from Frank Reich to Jeff Saturday as head coach. Overall, he went just 4-7-1 while posting a 14:13 touchdown-to-interception ratio. That confirmed the Colts’ need to go in a new direction once again at the QB position, which ultimately landed them Gardner Minshew in free agency and then Anthony Richardson in the draft.

Knowing his time in Indianapolis was likely to come to an end, Ryan stated after the season that he still viewed himself as being capable of playing at the NFL level. With the post-draft wave of free agency well underway, though, numerous starting- and backup-caliber signal-callers have found new homes. Ryan has not been involved in that player movement, helping lead to this decision to transition away from the field in the next phase of his football career.

Colts To Release QB Matt Ryan

Shortly after making an unanticipated move, the Colts will follow through with a long-expected item on their offseason to-do list. They are cutting Matt Ryan, Zach Klein of WSB reports (on Twitter).

[RELATED: Colts To Trade Stephon Gilmore To Cowboys]

The Ryan release will create $17.2MM in Colts cap savings. Between this and the Stephon Gilmore trade, Indianapolis has freed up more than $27MM in cap space Tuesday afternoon. While GM Chris Ballard said last year the plan was for Ryan to start multiple seasons, the passer’s 2022 performance leaves his career at a crossroads.

That 2022 performance had more lowlights than highlights, with Ryan finding himself in and out of the starting lineup. When all was said and done, the Colts went 4-7-1 in Ryan’s 12 starts, with the 37-year-old tossing a career-low 14 touchdowns vs. 13 interceptions. The Colts only gave up a third-round pick to acquire the former MVP from the Falcons, but the team was still expecting more from the position.

After getting underwhelming results from veterans like Ryan and Carson Wentz in recent years, it wouldn’t be a shock if the Colts look towards the future. Veteran Nick Foles and former sixth rounder Sam Ehlinger are still on the roster, but it’s unlikely that either QB will be given a long look in 2023.

As for Ryan, the QB will have a difficult time finding a starting gig as a free agent. There were some signs of life in 2022; Ryan’s 67% completion percentage was still on-par with his prime. However, his interception percentage and QBR were among the worst of his career, and with no upside, potential suitors would surely just be eyeing Ryan as a backup and/or mentor. There’s a chance Ryan could also decide to hang up his cleats after playing 15 years in the NFL.

It’s uncertain what’s next for the quarterback, but he’s still entitled to a chunk of money. Per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport (on Twitter), Ryan’s agent negotiated a new contract as part of his trade to Indianapolis. Thanks to that move, Ryan is entitled to $12MM in guaranteed money for the 2023 campaign, and he’ll receive that money regardless of whether he continues playing or not.

Colts QB Matt Ryan Undecided On Future

Matt Ryan‘s first season outside of Atlanta was a disappointment. The Colts benched the veteran QB, and he finished the season with a career-low 14 passing touchdowns and a 2.8 interception percentage, the worst mark since his sophomore campaign. Considering his underwhelming performance and Indy’s ability to pivot to the future at the position, many have wondered if Ryan could decide to hang up his cleats.

During a conversation with ESPN’s Stephen Holder, the 37-year-old acknowledged that he’s undecided on his future, although he did hint that he could still have something left in the tank.

“I still love playing,” Ryan said. “I’m obviously not committed to anything. Got to see how it shakes out. But I still love playing and still feel like, honestly, there’s a lot of good football [left]. So, we’ll see.”

As Holder notes, Ryan’s decision isn’t entirely up to him. The Colts still have the veteran under contract for next season, with $12MM of Ryan’s $29MM compensation already guaranteed. The quarterback could walk away whenever he wants, but it’s in his best interest to see how the Colts proceed. It would be in the Colts’ best financial interest to cut Ryan, which would save them a significant chunk of money. In that scenario, Ryan could still collect his guaranteed money before calling it a career.

“I’m under contract, and until that changes, you kind of go to work,” he said. “There’s a lot that’s going to happen here in the next six, eight weeks, whatever it is. Let’s see.”

On the flip side, the Colts may value Ryan’s veteran presence on the roster, especially if they opt for a top prospect in the draft. After the season, general manager Chris Ballard seemed to reinforce the quarterback’s value to the roster while noting that Ryan wasn’t to blame for the team’s 4-12-1 record.

“[This season] is not an indictment on Matt Ryan,” Ballard said. “Matt Ryan is as professional a player that I’ve ever been around. I still think he’s got something left in his body to play. He’s smart, knows how to play the game.”

Colts To Start Sam Ehlinger In Week 18

The 2022 season will come to an end for the Colts on Sunday, but not before yet another change at the quarterback position. Interim head coach Jeff Saturday announced on Monday that Sam Ehlinger will be under center for Indianapolis’ Week 18 contest against the Texans.

Veteran Nick Foles had been moved to the top of the depth chart two weeks ago as part of the team’s plans to shut down Matt Ryan. That gave the former Eagle, Jaguar and Bear another chance to take the reins of an offense – albeit one, in this case, which has woefully underperformed relative to preseason expectations. Foles threw three interceptions in a 20-3 loss to the Chargers in his first start in one year.

Things were not faring much better during yesterday’s loss to the Giants before the 33-year-old suffered a rib injury. It forced him to exit the game, and he did not return. Saturday confirmed that he will not be available to suit up this Sunday, meaning that Ryan will once again dress, but as the backup. The Colts’ intentions of preventing an injury to the former MVP (and the associated 2023 salary cap issues that would incur) were behind that latest decision.

As a result, Ehlinger will be back atop the depth chart. The 2021 sixth-rounder took over for Ryan in Week 8, and remained as the No. 1 for the following game. He totaled 304 scoreless yards during that span, while throwing an interception and taking 11 sacks. The Texas product performed better in relief of Foles yesterday, including his first career touchdown pass, but a significant follow-up would be required this week to cast any doubt on the sense that the Colts will once again be heavily involved in the offseason quarterback market.

This latest switch adds even further to the fluidity Indianapolis has dealt with throughout the 2022 campaign. As Zak Keefer of The Athletic illustrates (on Twitter), the Colts have had seven different QB depth charts this year, with all three passers occupying each spot at least once. In Ehlinger’s case, he has been a starter, backup and third-stringer on multiple occasions over the course of the season. Week 18 will offer him one final chance to audition for playing time in 2023 and help inform the team’s offseason QB plans.

Colts To Start Nick Foles In Week 16

DECEMBER 23: Ryan will be demoted from starter to third-stringer,’s Stephen Holder tweets, noting coaching staff meetings led to this two-spot depth chart drop. The bubble-wrap scenario in which Ryan is sidelined to protect against an injury that would affect the Colts’ 2023 cap sheet appears back in play, with The Athletic’s Zak Keefer adding Ryan is unlikely to play again this season (Twitter link). Saturday did not let this previously rumored plan come to pass in November, reinstating Ryan as the starter over Ehlinger, but it looks like the Colts — after four straight losses — will protect against a Ryan injury now.

DECEMBER 21: For a second straight year, Nick Foles will make his first start of the season in Week 16. A year after a Bears one-off, the former Super Bowl MVP will move into the Colts’ starting lineup.

Jeff Saturday announced Wednesday that Foles will take the reins in the team’s Monday-night matchup against the Chargers. This will be Foles’ first start since that December 2021 cameo against the Seahawks. Following Matt Ryan and Sam Ehlinger, Foles will be Indianapolis’ third starting QB this season, and Dan Graziano of tweets the plan is for the 11th-year veteran to finish the campaign as Indy’s starter. This will be the sixth team for which Foles has started, following points with the Eagles, Rams, Chiefs, Jaguars and Bears.

The Colts acquired Foles, 33, this offseason, shortly after the Bears released him. Despite his status as the Super Bowl LII MVP who also helped the Eagles to the following year’s divisional round, Foles has not been able to establish himself as a starter in the years since. He lost his job to Gardner Minshew during the 2019 season, after signing a lucrative free agency deal with the Jaguars, and did not keep the Bears gig — which he commandeered from Mitch Trubisky early in the 2020 season — during the team’s push to the playoffs that season. After the Bears signed Andy Dalton and drafted Justin Fields, Foles drifted off the radar and spent most of last season as a QB3.

Frank Reich indicating he had wanted the Colts to acquire Foles for years, but the 6-foot-6 passer has largely gone through another off-radar slate. Foles worked as Ryan’s backup to start the season, but as Jim Irsay backed Ehlinger, the second-year arm replaced Foles as Ryan’s backup. When the Colts pulled the plug on Ryan earlier this year, Ehligner got the call. Reich was not believed to be on board with an Ehlinger start, having preferred to go with Foles in the event of a Ryan benching. With both Ryan and Ehlinger having struggled, Saturday will turn to Foles.

It is difficult to project Foles’ capabilities here. He signed a two-year, $6.2MM deal to rejoin Reich, his former offensive coordinator in Philadelphia. The Colts fired Reich last month and installed assistant quarterbacks coach Parks Frazier as their new play-caller. Foles has not taken any first-team Colts reps since training camp and has made one start since Trubisky regained the Bears job in November 2020. Foles’ start last December did go fairly well. The Bears upset the Seahawks, and despite making a start for the first time in over a year and doing so for a downtrodden team in a snow game, Foles completed 24 of 35 passes for 250 yards and a touchdown.

This could be it for Ryan with the Colts. Saturday gave the 15th-year veteran his job back upon taking the interim HC position, and although the offseason trade acquisition led the Colts to a win over the Raiders, the team has lost four straight — including a historic defeat in Minnesota. Indianapolis blowing an NFL-record 33-point lead in an overtime loss could well be Ryan’s final NFL start. He is signed through 2023, but the Colts should not be expected to keep the former MVP for his age-38 season. Ryan is due a guaranteed $12MM in 2023 but could collect $7.2MM more if he is unable to pass a physical by Day 3 of the league year. It should be expected Ryan will be off Indy’s roster by that point.