Could the Atlanta Falcons trade star signal-caller Matt Ryan? It’s a question that will be raised on the NFL rumor mill for the next several months after Atlanta fired head coach Dan Quinn.
Falcons owner Arthur Blank would not commit to Ryan beyond the 2020 NFL campaign, leading to rumors that a trade could actually take hold. In reality, Blank will leave this decision up to the Falcons’ next head coach, general manager tandem.
If the 35-year-old Ryan is indeed put on the trade block, rumors will certainly link him to multiple contending teams around the NFL. That starts in Northern California and continues further east in Big D.
Matt Ryan to the San Francisco 49ers
Let’s look at the most obvious Ryan trade scenarios. Ryan, 35, enjoyed his best season under Shanahan when the now-49ers head coach was the Falcons’ offensive coordinator back in 2016. That season saw Ryan complete 70% of his passes for nearly 5,000 yards with 38 touchdowns and seven interceptions en route to leading Atlanta to the Super Bowl and earning the NFL MVP award. From an on-field perspective, this fit makes too much sense.
There’s also a $137.5 million elephant in the locker room in Santa Clara. Despite leading the 49ers to a shocking Super Bowl appearance last season, it’s not yet known whether Jimmy Garoppolo is the long-term answer. He struggled in said Super Bowl this past February and has not looked great in limited action this year. San Francisco can get out from under Garoppolo’s contract this coming offseason, either via trade or release, saving north of $24 million against the cap. That’s where Matt Ryan comes into play.
Matt Ryan to the New England Patriots
We previously focused on Ryan to the Patriots trade scenarios. Cam Newton was playing at a high level for Bill Belichick and Co. before coming down with COVID-19. In no way does this mean he’s the long-term heir-apparent to Tom Brady with the Patriots. Newton likens his experience in New England on a one-year deal as a business trip. He’s likely going to be looking at other options in free agency come March.
This is where Ryan trade rumors to the Pats should heat up after the 2020 NFL campaign comes to a close. At 68 years old, Belichick is the second-oldest head coach in the league. His team remains in win-now mode. Doling out a first-round pick and change in a trade for a quarterback who has a lot of good football left in him makes sense. Expect these rumors to increase in size depending on the Falcons’ coaching situation.
Matt Ryan to the Chicago Bears
Rumors persisted leading up to Week 1 that the Bears would start former Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles over first-round bust Mitchell Trubisky. In shocking fashion, that did not come to fruition. Trubisky started to open the campaign, only to be replaced by Foles in Week 3. What does this all mean? Chicago is in quarterback purgatory despite boasting a 4-1 record on the 2020 NFL season.
There’s no telling whether head coach Matt Nagy and general manager Ryan Pace will be members of the Bears’ organization following the NFL season. Both remain very much on the hot seat. What we do know is that Jay Cutler has been the Bears’ best quarterback since their glory days of the 1980’s. Whoever is making the decisions in Chicago will look long and hard at a potential Ryan trade.
Matt Ryan to the Indianapolis Colts
Indianapolis seems to have a roster capable of competing for a Super Bowl appearance. However, the team’s quarterback situation has let it down since Andrew Luck’s shocking retirement ahead of the 2019 NFL season. The Colts attempted to rectify that by signing borderline future Hall of Famer Philip Rivers back in March. Through five games, the 38-year-old Rivers has accounted for four touchdowns compared to five interceptions. He seems to be done.
Rumors linking Ryan to the Colts in a trade could pick up steam once the 2020 season draws to a conclusion. Remember, Rivers signed a mere one-year, $25 million deal with Indy during the spring. At this point, there’s little reason to believe that Chris Ballard and Co. will want to extend that marriage.
Matt Ryan to the Dallas Cowboys
Dallas has recently been linked to another high-profile signal caller in rumors following the season-ending injury to Dak Prescott. For good reason. The Cowboys and their current franchise quarterback were in the midst of protracted contract negotiations that went nowhere during the spring. Prescott is now set to become a free agent once March comes calling.
As for Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, it’s not a secret that he likes to make those splashy moves. Sending Atlanta a first-round pick and change for Matt Ryan in a trade would qualify as that. It would also fix the Cowboys’ issues under center for the foreseeable future should the Prescott marriage take a dramatic turn following his injury. These rumors will become commonplace should Atlanta actually put Ryan on the trade block.