Falcons rumors: Owner reasserts that Matt Ryan and Julio Jones might not return

By Vincent Frank
Nov 12, 2017; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) greets Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) after their game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

As of right now, Atlanta Falcons rumors surround their search for a new head coach to replace the recently fired Dan Quinn. The team is also in need of a new general manager after moving on from longtime player personnel head Thomas Dimitroff.

Once the dust settles on that and depending on who Atlanta brings on, Falcons rumors will then concentrate on the futures of longtime stars Matt Ryan and Julio Jones.

Falcons owner Arthur Blank had in the past talked about the Ryan and Jones situations, indicating that that the new power tandem will make a decision on the two.

Related: Most ideal Matt Ryan trade scenarios

Falcons rumors: Owner reasserts that Matt Ryan and Julio Jones might not return

Falcons rumors: Matt Ryan trade. Julio Jones trade
Oct 18, 2020; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) and wide receiver Julio Jones (11) celebrate a touchdown during the first quarter against the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

“You cannot hire the very best people you can hire, whether it be general managers or head coaches, and then tie their hands and tell them, well, this person is off limits and that one is off limits and that one,” Blank said, via the Falcons’ official website.

“What you’re asking them for, which is not off limits and needs to be probed deeply, do they have a championship plan, do they have a plan on turning around the franchise sooner rather than later so we’re winning in 2021? Do we have a plan that’s sustainable over a long period of time so we can make sure this team is competitive not just for the next year or two but over a longer period of time than that? … However that affects certain players, it affects certain players.”

Blank is pretty much saying that the next head coach and general manager will be making a decision on Matt Ryan and Julio Jones. If Atlanta opts to go into full-scale rebuild mode, both could be traded during what promises to be a chaotic NFL offseason.

As it relates to Falcons rumors surrounding a potential Matt Ryan trade, they have the fourth pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. There’s a chance either Zach Wilson (BYU) or Justin Fields (Ohio State) could be available.

Related: 2021 NFL Mock Draft, QB’s make history

You don’t use that type of draft capital on a quarterback without planning to start him out of the gate. That would lead to Ryan’s departure from Atlanta after 13 brilliant seasons.

If that is indeed the case, it’s not a stretch to say teams like the New England Patriots and San Francisco 49ers would be interested in the 35-year-old quarterback’s services. In particular, the 49ers would make sense given Jimmy Garoppolo’s questionable status with the team and head coach Kyle Shanahan’s relationship with Ryan.

As for Jones, every team in the NFL would be interested in a future Hall of Fame receiver who is averaging 96 receptions for 1,431 yards over the past seven seasons.

Related: Ideal Julio Jones trade scenarios

Falcons rumors: Head coach candidates

Falcons rumors: Head coach Eric Bieniemy?
Jan 29, 2020; Miami, Florida, USA; Kansas City Chiefs defensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy at Super Bowl LIV press conference at JW Marriott Turnberry. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Falcons rumors will ramp up relating to these two once a new head coach and general manager are hired to lead the ship moving forward.

Right now, Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy and San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh are the top candidates to replace Dan Quinn on a full-time basis. Interim head coach Raheem Morris is also a candidate to have that tag removed.

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