The Atlanta Falcons have their franchise quarterback locked up.
Matt Ryan signed a massive five-year, $150 million extension with the team on Thursday, making him the highest paid player in NFL history. The deal also includes $100 million in guarantees, also an NFL record.
The Matt Ryan extension comes just weeks after Kirk Cousins’ whopping $28 million-per-year contract with the Vikings. With Ryan now slated to make $30 million per year, the bar is now set for other soon-to-be free agent quarterbacks. Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson, and Tom Brady all have their contracts expire in 2020. All three could potentially blow Ryan’s new contract out of the water in a matter of years.
What the Falcons are getting
One year removed from an MVP-winning season, Matt Ryan regressed slightly in 2017. With offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan taking the 49ers’ head coaching position, the Falcons’ offense took a step back. Ryan threw only 20 touchdowns last season, with 12 interceptions. This is far from his 38:7 ratio from 2016.
However, Ryan remains as the Falcons’ most valuable player. Since entering the league in 2008, Ryan has only missed two games. He has quietly been one of the league’s most efficient passers in that span, completing nearly 65% of his passes. He has also thrown for over 4,000 yards for seven straight seasons.
If the Atlanta Falcons wish to remain in the playoff hunt, they will need to retain their all-time leading passer. They did just that, handing him the richest contract in NFL history along the way.
With the Matt Ryan extension fetching $30 million per year, it’s likely that this will be seen as the new standard for quarterback megadeals. Aaron Rodgers is the most likely to break Ryan’s record, with his current deal expiring in 2020. Rodgers has been invaluable to the Green Bay Packers, and will be 36 at the time of the new deal.
As for the Falcons, they can begin to look ahead at extensions for defensive stars Vic Beasley and Deion Jones. Both players will be unrestricted free agents following the 2019 regular season.
Featured image by Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
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