Matt Ryan’s restructured deal doesn’t rule out Falcons drafting a QB

Cam Marino
·3 min read

According to Zach Klein of WSB, the Falcons restructured quarterback Matt Ryan’s contract, a move that surprised many members of the fan base. Now, the reality behind the move speaks volumes.

Folks saw the Matt Ryan restructure and completely pushed drafting a quarterback with the No. 4 pick out of their realm of possibility. I think it’s still in play. Per Spotrac’s updated numbers, on a post June 1 release, Atlanta would save $24 million in cap space.

Ryan’s accumulated dead cap by the end of 2024 would equal up to $39 million. With league-wide cap space increasing progressively, these numbers, as we see now, appear inflated, but will seem more manageable down the road. This move was made out of necessity, not long-term commitment.

Ryan was realistically the only guy that could’ve brought Atlanta into the green from the red without fixing up contracts from his teammates, alternatively. It would be massive malpractice to commit to Ryan for the next three seasons without a backup plan in place. If the 13-year veteran doesn’t perform next year and has totally regressed, by passing on a QB, the Falcons would be in a tough spot.

Could Atlanta land another top-10 pick next year? Maybe. Would it be a good decision to bank on having one? Not in the slightest. Secondly, it’s important not to forget that the Falcons sent their offensive coordinator, head coach and general manager to watch a top QB prospect this year in Trey Lance and another in Trevor Lawrence, the nation’s consensus No. 1 overall pick.

In Fontenot’s words, it’s important for them to gauge that type of talent to compare the class. Take with that what you will, but I don’t think the team has completely turned their head on a QB. Ryan’s contract was essentially copied and pasted down one year, making it still movable. The odds have decreased due to the increased dead cap, which later explained, can be retracted, but it was a move that had to be made and isn’t all that surprising.

Philadelphia drafted a QB last season and traded away Carson Wentz despite carrying a boat load of dead cap. Not to say the situations are exact to a tee, but context has shown that this type of situation isn’t all that rare.

Atlanta just restructured Jake Matthews, too, and as Tori McElhaney and Mark Zinno alluded to, that move likely took an offensive tackle off the board at pick No. 4. Fans should get a better sense of the Falcons’ plan once we see more moves, like if the team fields offers for Julio Jones or Grady Jarrett. If Atlanta were to move Jarrett this year, the team can eat the hypothetical dead cap from Ryan with the progressive rise of the league-wide salary cap in 2022 and 2023.

It’s easy to see why fans would assume Ryan’s restructured contract means the team is completely out on drafting a QB, but the financials, while their surface says that it’ll be harder to move on from him down the road, also say that it’s a real possibility.

If there’s one thing that fans can mutually agree on, it’s that this team, regardless of who’s running it, will always be giving puzzles to solve. But don’t be surprised to see Atlanta draft a quarterback with the No. 4 overall pick.

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