Saturday, July 31, 2021

The $100M Man, Matt Ryan

The Atlanta Falcons have become the first team in NFL history to tie a player into a $100 Million guaranteed contract.

Matt Ryan’s deal is reportedly for five years and averages $30 million per year with $100 million guaranteed. Both are NFL records.

The extension isn’t something which many deemed a surprise. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Jeff Schultz reported on Mar. 16 it was on the horizon, and it has arrived.

Matt Ryan’s new deal comes after Jimmy G and Captain Kirk Cousins got ridiculous payouts this off season. We all saw this was on its way 12 months ago, especially after Ryan’s 2016 MVP season, and Derek Carr’s mega-deal he received in the off season afterward.

Matt Ryan has Perfect Timing

Matt Ryan made his name as a QB revelation at Boston College which lead to him being selected with the 3rd overall pick by the Atlanta Falcons in 2008. The Falcons at the time were still fighting the negative ramifications of the Michael Vick dog fighting scandal and thus we saw Matty Ice become the immediate stabilizer, and some would say savior of Atlanta for the following decade.

The general consensus for the past 10 years or so is that Matt Ryan has been a solid but not spectacular above-average QB but perhaps just shy of that elite bracket (something I personally disagree with).

During his first 5 years the Falcons visited the post-season on 4 separate occasions but never made it past the NFC championship round. Whether we like it or not Matt Ryan has cemented himself with a reputation as a man who can’t get the job done – the on field incarnation of Andy Reid if you will.

as far as I’m concerned Ryan continued to fill the stat sheet and that’s all he needs to do.

2016 Was a Year of Beauty for Matty Ice

Under offensive guru Kyle Shanahan, Matt Ryan had the season to trump all seasons as he set career highs in completion percentage (69.9%), passing yards (4,944), YPA (9.3) and Touchdowns (38). Without a shadow of a doubt the 2016 Atlanta Falcons offence was the most explosive in recent NFL memory and it was that explosive play which took Atlanta to only their 2nd Superbowl appearance in team history. Overall Matt Ryan took home both the regular season MVP and Offensive Player of the Year.

Unfortunately, the Superbowl didn’t go quite as planned for the Falcons and Matt Ryan, in fact it probably couldn’t have been more humiliating as Atlanta blew a 28-3 lead to the New England Patriots in a stunning 2nd half performance by Tom Brady.

Matt Ryan Superbowl stats: 17/23 passes, 284 yards, 2 Touchdowns.

Ultimately it wasn’t Matt Ryan which let the team down, it was more the team let Matt Ryan down. Despite that crushing loss, the rest of Ryan’s 2016 season was nearly flawless, and he re-established himself as one of the league’s best QBs.

2017 wasn’t a Great Year

Matt Ryan and his Falcons really took a step back in 2017. After losing Shanahan it was clear the offence needed to redefine the direction they wanted to head in and we should see improvement next season.

Matt Ryan completed less than 65% of his passes for 4,000 yards and 20 touchdowns (12 interceptions), Ryan –  much like his team flashed glimpses of that Superbowl fire from 2016 but consistency was a big issue.

Although they weren’t as good, they still finished the regular season at 10-6, and nearly beat the Eagles in the NFC Divisional Round. The Eagles went on to win the Super Bowl.

So in reality, was it that bad?

Keeping Ryan keeps Atlanta in Superbowl Contention

Despite an inconsistent 2017 season, I still expect the Falcons to come out swinging in 2018. with Julio, Freeman, Coleman and now Calvin Ridley it shouldn’t take long for the old Matt Ryan to return.

You could argue that 2016 was something of an anomaly for Matt Ryan, but at only 32 years old he’s still got a lot more left in the tank and if he continues to play at the standards he has set for himself over the years then I have no doubt the Falcons will be in the playoff conversation for a long time to come.

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Jordan Lombard
Living and breathing the Denver Broncos, Boise State and the Colorado Buffs. Jordan is a former Sports Entrepreneur and content creator. In the editorial world, Jordan has won plaudits from Superbowl winner Byron Chamberlain & Bryan Harsin. In recent years Jordan has worked with the likes of Real Sport, FNV, Business Insider and Forbes.

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