What was the worst move of the Falcons’ 2021 offseason?

·1 min read

The Falcons hired a new head coach and general manager in the offseason but in terms of the roster, things had been relatively quiet prior to the Julio Jones trade. Many have questioned the team’s decision to part with Jones, however, Tori McElhaney of The Athletic believes restructuring Matt Ryan’s contract will prove to be Atlanta’s biggest offseason blunder.

Just a few months ago, Ryan had the highest cap hit in the NFL at $40.9 million. By restructuring his deal, the Falcons lowered the veteran quarterback’s cap hit down to $26.9 million in 2021, but expanded it to nealy $50 million in 2022. Until the cap space fully recovers in 2023, another restructure could be in store for Ryan next offseason.

“This was a move sources told The Athletic that Fontenot didn’t really want to make considering the salary cap issue that will follow the organization into 2022,” writes McElhaney. “However, he thought his hands were tied, and it came down to either restructuring Ryan or cutting Deion Jones.”

If the team does opt to redo his deal again a year from now, Ryan’s 2023 cap hit would balloon from $43 million to over $50 million. However, any future restructure could possibly include voidable years which would spread out the remaining money Ryan is owed.

Looking back at the way things went down over the last few months, it was clear the Falcons only intended to keep Ryan or Jones, and couldn’t afford to keep both. So for now, it’s fair to say Ryan’s restructure looks like the team’s worst offseason move. Although, we won’t truly know if this is the actual case until we see Ryan and Jones perform in 2021.

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