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Atlanta Falcons Shouldn’t Hamper Financial Future for Matt Ryan Extension
Posted by: Michael Collins | on May 24, 2013
Any day now, we will hear about Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan receiving a contract extension worth over $100 million, with probably about a third of that money being guaranteed.
Mixed emotions on this one, I can’t deny it.
First and foremost, it should be noted that Ryan is probably worth every penny of money he gets from the Falcons. He’s a quarterback that has helped guide the team to five straight winning seasons and two division titles. He’s gotten better every season, and he has some of the best weapons in the game at his disposal.
But therein lies one problem. What if those weapons are no longer there?
Tight end Tony Gonzalez is probably (are we going 98% this year?) done for his career at the end of the season. Wide receiver Roddy White isn’t getting any younger, and will be coming up for a new contract after the 2014 season. Julio Jones isn’t going to be cheap to keep around once his rookie deal is up, and running back Steven Jackson is a one or two year rental at most.
If Matty Ice doesn’t have that flock of dangerous receivers and backs to keep defenses off-balance, how much will he be able to do on his own to win games? If the players who are supporting him on offense aren’t Hall of Fame and/or All-Pro caliber, will he be able to duplicate the types of numbers he’s put up thus far in his career?
If Atlanta commits a huge chunk of cash to their quarterback, that will put a lot of pressure on future draft picks to perform exceptionally well very quickly. Regardless of how creative Atlanta’s financial minds get when structuring Ryan’s deal, there is still a finite amount of money to be spent, and a lot of it is going to end up earmarked for the starting QB.
Yes, there will be all kinds of bonuses based on performance and incentives based on targets met, but you still have to pay a large base salary to a player like Ryan.
The other question that will most likely be asked is, does Matt Ryan deserve to be in the same market price with quarterbacks like Joe Flacco and Drew Brees, who both guided their teams to Super Bowl victories before they cashed in on big paydays.
A legitimate question to be sure, and the blogosphere and twitterverse will most certainly light up with barbs being thrown from both sides of the argument.
What the Falcons can’t do is jeopardize their financial future, ability to retain important players and to sign desirable free agents. All of those are just as key to keeping a winning organization on the right track as is a top starting quarterback.
Thomas Dimitroff isn’t in his first rodeo, and there will be a way to get it done that doesn’t strain the budget and the salary cap number disproportionate to what the team needs are. It’s a tough challenge, because the team certainly doesn’t want to lose a quarterback like Ryan–but much like the Indianapolis Colts of a decade ago, they can’t put all their eggs in the basket of one player.