The Atlanta Falcons didn’t want to rebuild in 2021 even after bringing in a new head coach and general manager. Instead, they restructured Matt Ryan‘s contract for short-term cap relief. Now it’s time to do it again with Ryan facing a $48.6 million cap hit in 2022.
There have also been rumors of a possible trade. While they were hoping to land Deshaun Watson, he decided he preferred life in Cleveland over Atlanta.
While Ryan has enjoyed a great 14-year tenure with the Falcons, the last few years have been largely underwhelming. The Falcons have missed the playoffs for four straight seasons. How much longer can they keep rolling out Matty Ice under center? With a receiving corps devoid of talent aside from Kyle Pitts, things don’t appear to be improving this offseason.
Now that the Falcons are known to have tried to improve from Ryan, the best move now might be to trade him elsewhere, in a situation where he can compete right away. This brings us to speculate on the three best trade landing spots for Matty Ice this offseason.
Houston Texans take on Matt Ryan’s contract
The Houston Texans are a franchise headed nowhere, fast. But on the bright side, they’ve rid themselves of a QB with an ugly history and have a bounty of draft picks to show for it. So, while they may be at rock bottom, they can only go up from here.
Is Davis Mills the franchise QB in Houston? Despite him outperforming expectations, Mills is probably not a long-term solution. Obviously at the age of 36 (37 in May), neither is Matt Ryan. But he could be a strong vet presence for Mills to help show him the ropes. The Texans wouldn’t be forced into starting Ryan all season, they could just as easily start the year off, attempting to provide their fanbase with newfound hope that they’re attempting to not throw the towel in on the 2022 season, while switching to Mills once the year is inevitably headed nowhere.
They certainly have both the draft capital and the cap space to take on Ryan’s contract. But at the end of the day, the Texans are probably better off taking their lumps and hoping for a top pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, aiming to find a long-term franchise quarterback.
- Matt Ryan stats in 2021: 3,968 passing yards, 20 touchdowns, 12 interceptions, 7.1 ypa, 67.0% completion rate
Indianapolis Colts find another experienced veteran
The Indianapolis Colts have tried bringing in a new quarterback for each of the past three seasons. So far, they’re left holding the bag, with 2021 sixth-round pick Sam Ehlinger as their in-house leader to start in 2022. While we’ve yet to see Ehlinger throw his first NFL pass, he’s an extremely unlikely match to begin the year as the Colts’ starter on what they feel is a team ready to compete.
After narrowly missing the playoffs a year ago, the Colts won’t want to settle for mediocrity once again heading into the season. Unfortunately, the best quarterbacks who could be available are already happily in new cities, leaving the Colts feeling lonely.
One potential solution is acquiring Matt Ryan, who’s proven to be more than capable as an above-average starting QB having made four Pro Bowl teams in his career. With the Colts, Ryan would finally have a strong rushing attack, where he could take a back seat on the Jonathan Taylor bus that few can slow down. He’d also get to connect with Michael Pittman Jr, who’s proven more than capable as a downfield threat.
The best part about a potential Matty Ice to the Colts trade is that the franchise likely wouldn’t have to part with premium draft capital for the Falcons to move on from his bloated contract. It would almost be a favor to them. Yet, for the Colts, getting Ryan on a competitive roster is practically a godsend for everyone involved. Now it’s just about where Ryan wants to play, as he has a no-trade clause.
Seattle Seahawks take a chance on a former MVP
Credit Pete Carroll for saying all the right things after acquiring Drew Lock in the Russell Wilson trade, but he can’t be their only QB option for the 2022 season. Here they have D.K. Metcalf, Tyler Lockett and Noah Fant, but have an unproven quarterback under center.
- Matt Ryan contract: $48.662 million cap hit (2022), $43.6 million cap hit (2023)
Matt Ryan on the other hand, is as proven as they get, having won an MVP award in his heyday. The issue is that he’s far from peak performance. Still, Ryan is an improvement from Lock. His accomplishments alone may interest Carroll instead of basically punting on their 2022 season. Ryan could at least provide competent QB play for their talented receiving corps and as mentioned above, he’s unlikely to cause the Seahawks or any other team to have to part with any of their precious draft picks due to having the largest cap number in football.