It makes sense in that Atlanta is closer to bottom feeder status than playoff contention following a four-win season. That changed some after Atlanta hired the offensive-minded Arthur Smith to be their next head coach.
Owner Arthur Blank had in the past played into suggestions of Ryan’s departure from the Falcons be suggesting that the team’s new brass will make the decision. He’s now changed his tune some.
Atlanta Falcons owner suggests Matt Ryan will return in 2021
That fits in with comments from Smith during his introductory press conference in Atlanta last month. The decision to hire Smith was likely made with Ryan in mind.
Despite his team’s lack of recent success, the 35-year-old Ryan remains a top-10 quarterback around the league. The former NFL MVP put up 4,581 yards with 26 touchdowns against 11 interceptions in 2021. He also led the league in both completions and pass attempts.
This also comes amid reports suggesting that future Hall of Famer Julio Jones won’t be traded by the Falcons during the offseason. More than anything, the team likely wants to run it back with Ryan and Jones while improving on defense. That was the major issue during a disastrous 2020 season.
Atlanta Falcons rumors will now focus on 2021 NFL Draft
If indeed the Falcons are looking to retain Ryan, there’s a darn good chance they trade down from the No. 4 pick with a quarterback-needy team. Either Justin Fields (Ohio State) or Zach Wilson (BYU) should be available with the fourth selection.
This is important to note in that no defensive player in this class is worth the fourth pick. Atlanta could move down with the Carolina Panthers at eight or San Francisco 49ers at 12 while still adding an elite-level defender to the mix and picking up more draft pick assets.
In this scenario, Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons, Virginia Tech cornerback Caleb Farley and edge rusher Kwity Paye from Michigan could be targets.
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