Did the Atlanta Falcons Make the Right Move Paying Matt Ryan?

FIVE years, $150 million dollars. That is a whole lot of money heading Matt Ryan’s way. Yesterday the Atlanta Falcons extended their franchise QB and they continued the trend around the league of making their guy the highest paid quarterback in NFL history. There’s no denying that these guys deserve to be paid, but that’s a lot of money to give a 32-year old, 10-year NFL veteran.

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GOING off Ryan’s past performances and the other quarterbacks who are among the highest paid in the league, you can see why Atlanta forked out so much money for him. He owns countless Falcons records and hasn’t missed a start since 2009, which included an appearance (albeit a forgetful one) in Super Bowl LI. His numbers speak volumes about his production, with over 40,000 career passing yards, a respectable win/loss record (99-69) and completion percentage (64.9%).

THE big payday for Ryan puts him over the edge against the likes Kirk Cousins and Jimmy Garrapolo who both signed hefty contracts this season as well. Set to average $30 million a year, Ryan is probably more deserving of the money than some other quarterbacks on big salaries. His 2016 season alone saw him win the MVP award and lead the Falcons on a Super Bowl run. At the age of 32 though you have to wonder if such a contract was a wise move.

Did the Atlanta Falcons Make the Right Move Paying Matt Ryan? 1Image from charlotteobserver.com

I don’t have the greatest gauge on how NFL quarterbacks perform from the age of 32 and beyond, but I do know that on average athletes naturally decline as they reach their mid to late 30’s. Ryan is on the edge of the bubble for that age bracket and while he doesn’t rely on his athleticism to succeed fully, there’s no denying that after being sacked 279 times Ryan will start to feel every hit a little more as he ages.

AS I mentioned above, Ryan is one of the few players in the league who’s career to date can justify a contract of this magnitude. My concern isn’t for the past though, it’s for the Falcons future and were Ryan can take them. He still has some great football left him don’t get me wrong and he is one of the most consistent, reliable professionals from the last decade. However, the prospect of paying him $30 million when he is 37 doesn’t scream ‘great move’ by ATL’s front office.

A player of Ryan’s stature probably deserves a contract to match his output and that’s what he received from Atlanta. If year four or five of this contract turns out to be woeful it’s a worthwhile gamble given what Ryan could do in year one, two and three. His new contract continues to moves the needle for future QB negotiations and upcoming free agents like Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson, Marcus Mariota and Jamies Winston should all receive big bonuses in the coming seasons.

RYAN’S big new deal comes with expectations that a return to the Super Bowl is within grasp. The pressure is on for him to live up to his paycheck and time will tell if he can do so or not. For now though, Ryan will be the highest paid quarterback in the league and he is well and truly capable of playing up to the label.

Peace ✌

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