Former NFL MVP Matt Ryan has one year remaining on his contract. It stands to reason that the team will be in negotiations with Ryan on an extension throughout the offseason.
But in a quarterback market that continues to be redefined each and every offseason (almost monthly for that matter), it doesn’t look like the Falcons themselves are willing to break the bank on an extension for the franchise signal caller. At least, that’s the way owner Arthur Blank put it recently.
“I don’t care about the other quarterbacks’ movement,” Blank recently told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “What I care about is taking care of our quarterback in a way that’s respectful to him and in a way that is respectful to the franchise.”
The issue here is that Ryan and his reps will surely be looking at how other quarterbacks have been paid in what has increasingly become a bloated market. Oakland Raiders signal caller Derek Carr received $25 million annually on his extension last offseason, briefly making him the highest-paid player in the NFL. He was replaced in that category by the Lions’ Matthew Stafford ($27 million per season).
This offseason promises to be no different, as evidenced by the fact that Alex Smith received $23.5 million annually on his deal with the Redskins after they acquired the veteran from Kansas City. With Kirk Cousins set to hit the open market and likely to become the game’s highest-paid player, Blank and the Falcons will definitely be forced to look at this market.
That’s only magnified by the fact that the 49ers and Garoppolo are closing on an extension that will make him among the NFL’s highest-paid players (more on that here).
With a Super Bowl appearance and an MVP award to his name, Ryan stands above all of these quarterbacks in terms of career accomplishments. It will earn him a raise from the $20.8 million he’s earning annually. But that’s not going to be anywhere near enough for Ryan and his reps.
Should the offseason pass without Ryan agreeing to an extension, Atlanta might very well be forced to franchise the veteran in March of 2019. Given that the quarterback market will be even more bloated by then, that’s a risky proposition.