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Matt Ryan’s $48.6M cap hit in 2022 will be largest in NFL history

Andrew Buller-Russ

The NFL can be an ironic place. All 32 teams dream of someday landing a quarterback who can win MVP. The Atlanta Falcons did that when they selected Matt Ryan third overall in the 2008 NFL Draft. Nine seasons later, Ryan won an MVP trophy.

What did it win them? Aside from a disappointing trip to the Super Bowl at the end of the season, not much.

Though it did help Ryan earn a massive contract. In fact, the extension is so monstrous, that in 2022, Matty Ice’s $48.6 million cap hit will be the largest amount in NFL history.

Matt Ryan is not worth anything close to $48.6M

There’s no doubt that Ryan was once among the very best quarterbacks in the NFL, but he no longer ranks among the top-10. Yet, he’s among the highest-paid quarterbacks in the NFL. It’s a dangerous game teams play as they do their damnedest to not lose top talent.

  • Matt Ryan stats (2021-22): 67%, 3,968 passing yards, 20 TD, 12 INT – 7-10 W-L record

Right now, we see the Aaron Rodgers situation playing out with the Green Bay Packers. Though he’s won back-to-back MVPs, he only has one year remaining on his contract at age 37. Do they sign him for multiple seasons, or do another short-term extension? Whatever it takes to keep him, right?

Teams routinely draw criticism when shelling out major contracts to players who aren’t All-Pro caliber, like Kirk Cousins, but the other side of the spectrum could leave you without a capable starting quarterback.

In the end, it’s probably safe to try and strike a balance between paying market value, without breaking the bank. Yet, with each new contract that gets signed, the dollar amounts keep going higher and higher. This means the $48.6M cap hit Ryan accounts for won’t be the largest amount for very long as the NFL salary cap keeps rising with every year that passes.

Related: Highest paid NFL players in 2022: T.J. Watt, Myles Garrett among richest athletes

No guarantee Matt Ryan actually receives $48 million in 2022

While as of now Matt Ryan will cost the Atlanta Falcons $48.6 million against the cap in 2022, there’s a lot of time before the season begins. It’s possible the Falcons and Ryan come to an agreement on a contract restructure that lowers his 2022 cap hit.

It’s unlikely that the Falcons can trade or release Ryan, as the amount of dead money left behind on the cap would be $40.5 million. In other words, they’re better off having Ryan play out this season in Atlanta, hoping for better results.

Related: Atlanta Falcons 7-round mock draft