Arthur Blank wants Matt Ryan’s next deal to be friendly to the team

Getty Images

The quarterback market has spiked over the past couple of years, and that likely will continue when Kirk Cousins becomes the first healthy franchise quarterback on the right side of 30 to hit the open market unfettered. So with guys like Cousins, Matthew Stafford ($27 million per year), and Derek Carr ($25 million per year) getting paid extremely well, more accomplished franchise quarterbacks with gas in the tank eventually will be paid extremely well.

For example: Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan. But Falcons owner Arthur Blank doesn’t want to break the bank for Ryan.

I don’t care about the other quarterbacks’ movement,” Blank recently told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “What I care about is taking care of our quarterback in a way that’s respectful to him and in a way that is respectful to the franchise.”

Ryan enters the final year of his contract in 2018, and team president and CEO Rich McKay has said that extending the deal is a priority.

“We want to treat Matt well,” Blank said. “He’s been a great quarterback for us for 10 years. Hopefully, he’ll play another [10 years]. . . . he thinks he’s Tom Brady, and maybe he’ll play to 44. Maybe we are at the midpoint of his career.

“I’m excited that he wants to play longer. But we also have to balance it out and make sure we have enough salary to keep the other critical parts on the team around. You don’t win with one player. It’s not like golf. It’s the ultimate team sport, and you’ve got to have other pieces around him.”

Blank is right, but that hasn’t stopped other quarterbacks from getting paid. Indeed, even though the raw numbers given to specific quarterbacks seem a bit excessive, the market for quarterbacks still hasn’t grown at the same rate as the salary cap over the last six years. So there’s still plenty of cash to go around.

“We have to approach it in a thoughtful way, and thoughtfully I think that Matt is the kind of quarterback and kind of person that will understand, at this point in his life, this is also about what is his legacy going to be,” Blank said. “He wants to win championships, and he wants to make sure the team is in an overall team position that we can compete for our own talent and compete for other free agents. Compete and pay well [for] the draft choices when they get their second contracts. He understands that.”

That sounds good, but it’s not Ryan’s job to manage the salary cap. It’s Ryan’s job to play quarterback — and to get paid accordingly for as long as there’s a market for his services. The moment there isn’t, he’ll no longer have a job.

Frankly, it shouldn’t be a difficult calculation. At a salary of $19.25 million for 2018 and a cap number of $21.65 million, his franchise tender for 2019 will be a 20-percent increase ($25.98 million). For 2020, the tender moves to $31.176 million.

That’s a three-year haul of $78.8 million. To do a deal now, Ryan should want at least that much to be fully guaranteed at signing — especially since a long-term deal based on two years of franchise tags would allow the Falcons to avoid the dreaded third year of the tag, which would push his tender up by 44 percent, to $44.89 million.

It’s Ryan’s right to take a discount based on what his leverage dictates. It’s easy to make the argument that he should take less for the good of the team. But the team has plenty of other devices that work in its favor, and no team ever hesitates to use them. Expecting Ryan to surrender his in the sake of winning championships that are hard enough to win even with all the cap space imaginable seems a little inconsistent, at best.

33 responses to “Arthur Blank wants Matt Ryan’s next deal to be friendly to the team

  1. Kirk Cousins becomes the first healthy franchise quarterback on the right side of 30 to hit the open market unfettered.

    I try my best to stay up on NFL news, watch as many games as I can, but apparently I missed something. When did Kirk Cousins become a franchise quarterback? He was the last man standing in a two man race with Bob Griffin. That doesn’t make him a franchise QB, that makes him a stop-gap game manager until they find a true franchise QB.

  2. Billionaire Arthur Blank should show the way by making a hefty donation to a charity. I’m thinking a “team friendly” 9 figure one. It’s not like he’d miss it.

  3. As I understand what you are saying: Get as much cash as I can. Screw the people who are there to protect me and keep the other teams from scoring. Okay, I understand, now.

  4. It’s easy to foresee the day when these QBs get a set percentage of the cap as the number that determines their salaries each year.

  5. Interesting…didn’t seem to stop Blank from doubling ticket prices and charging out the butt for PSLs just because other teams do it. Maybe he shoulda practiced what he preaches and been respectful to the fans when it came to ticket prices.

  6. While QB salaries have not kept up with growth in the salary cap, there has been plenty of growth at other positions, and it isn’t as if teams are swimming in free cap space. Just because a QB can get more money doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. Take, for example, Tony Romo. The last contract he signed was a large one, and mocked at the time by haters, but it was for market value and he basically lived up to the deal whenever he was on the field. But that huge salary strapped the team’s ability to sign and retain talent at other positions, and that might have been the difference between the Cowboys getting “over the top” with Romo or not. Yes, a player has 100% right to maximize earnings, but you don’t need to maximize earnings to be secure for life, and for most players winning means a lot too. So if you’re a QB who has already made life-changing money (as Matt Ryan has) and winning it all is a goal for you, yes, be smart and take less (but still a ton) of money. It’s worth it.

  7. @waynefontesismyfather, yes you clearly don’t keep up with the NFL very much. Your take on Cousins is that “He was the last man standing in a two man race with Bob Griffin”? I’ll update you. Over the last 3 years Cousins hasn’t missed a game, he completed 67% of his passes, threw for 13k yards and has 81 TD’s to 36 picks. He also has the 10th best QBR in the HISTORY of the NFL – yes, that is correct – he is tied with Kurt Warner and number 13 is Joe Montana.

  8. If I am Matt Ryan, then I say “Fair enough, you want a team-friendly deal and I want financial security. So how about we sign a 10-year $225M deal that is fully guaranteed. You get a franchise QB at a significantly lower hit than anyone else, and I am assured of my money over the duration of that agreement.”

  9. waynefontesismyfather says:
    February 6, 2018 at 12:37 pm
    Kirk Cousins becomes the first healthy franchise quarterback on the right side of 30 to hit the open market unfettered.

    I try my best to stay up on NFL news, watch as many games as I can, but apparently I missed something. When did Kirk Cousins become a franchise quarterback? He was the last man standing in a two man race with Bob Griffin. That doesn’t make him a franchise QB, that makes him a stop-gap game manager until they find a true franchise QB.

    —–

    Cousins Averages last 3 years:
    4392 passing yards, 27 tds, 12ints, 97.5qb rating. First it was Kirk is only putting up numbers because he has one if the best receiving Corp in the league. This past season the Redskins let his top receivers walk and his tight end was injured most of the season. His offensive line was hurt most of the season. Yet Cousins still produced franchise QB level numbers with arguably one of the worse group of receivers in the league. But whatever. People like you can continue that false narrative.

  10. Arthur, you should be ASHAMED of yourself. Matt, tell AB to take a flying leap. Tell the Home Depot founder to take a long walk off a short pier.

  11. Not really that smart to go out and say that publicly. Now you put pressure on Ryan to push you for market value money. If you worked out the deal privately and Ryan took less than market he would have looked like the good guy that wants his team to win. Now it will look like the owner short changed him.

  12. Hey Blank – why don’t you make the next CBA real friendly to the team too? Oh that right you won’t because you are a greedy NFL owner and the more billions for you the better.

  13. PrincePaul says:
    February 6, 2018 at 12:58 pm
    @waynefontesismyfather, yes you clearly don’t keep up with the NFL very much. Your take on Cousins is that “He was the last man standing in a two man race with Bob Griffin”? I’ll update you. Over the last 3 years Cousins hasn’t missed a game, he completed 67% of his passes, threw for 13k yards and has 81 TD’s to 36 picks. He also has the 10th best QBR in the HISTORY of the NFL – yes, that is correct – he is tied with Kurt Warner and number 13 is Joe Montana.

    ————-

    I see that for sure… Cousins has been very good. However, the eye test says that he’s struggled at the end of games at times. He’s 137th in 4th quarter comebacks. He’s not had a long career yet mind you, but he hasn’t been clutch generally.

  14. Dude do you realize how these ridiculous inflated contracts you continuously push for with these articles will negatively impact the NFL? The draft is important but albeit hit or miss, you still need to rely a bit on free agency while retaining the good players you drafted in the past, and you can’t be a player in free agency or keep your core players with one big bloated contract. It seems like you would love a league with overpaid average QB’s surrounded by awful talent.

  15. There are a lot of things that Florio writes that, when I first read it, I disagree with outright. And then I have a chance to think about it, research it, read opposing views etc… And then I appreciate the viewpoint. Maybe even change mine.

    However, his tendency to try and influence players’ contracts by telling them they should get every last dollar the market dictates, I cannot get behind. Especially in the example of a top-tier quarterback.

    These guys (rightfully) command the highest salaries. I just don’t agree with squeezing every last dollar out of a contract. I realize there is a huge difference between $20M and $27-$30M annually, but come on now… $20m is still 10-15 TIMES MORE than I could ever DREAM of spending in a year. Maybe even in a lifetime. Context is everything. A family can make a really comfortable living at $100k. These guys, by accepting a “below market”, $20M-per-year deal, will make 200 times that amount!

    I’m not suggesting that these guys should take $100,000/year contracts – the NFL makes a lot of money after all – but the difference between $20M and $27M is just $7M more of something that is already orders or magnitude more than a person needs.

    How much is enough?

  16. why do you always base salaries on what the 2nd year of franchise tag would be. no team would ever franchise a qb 2 years in a row, its too much money. therefore it has no bearing on a contract discussion

  17. That’s a three-year haul of $78.8 million. To do a deal now, Ryan should want at least that much to be fully guaranteed at signing

    Since when does that determine the basement of a contract. Just because Washington was desparate enough to sign Cousins to the franchise tag on consecutive years doesn’t mean that was what he was worth. The same with Ryan. $30M a year for three years. No way. While there may be a few QBs that could demand that much, Ryan isn’t one of them.

    Using the franchise tag as a basis for new contracts is nothing more than a pipe dream.

  18. waynefontesismyfather says:
    February 6, 2018 at 12:37 pm
    Kirk Cousins becomes the first healthy franchise quarterback on the right side of 30 to hit the open market unfettered.

    I try my best to stay up on NFL news, watch as many games as I can, but apparently I missed something. When did Kirk Cousins become a franchise quarterback? He was the last man standing in a two man race with Bob Griffin. That doesn’t make him a franchise QB, that makes him a stop-gap game manager until they find a true franchise QB.

    ————————————-

    Yeah if I was forced to guess I’d say you’re actually probably just a University of Michigan fan who hates him because of how hard he used to ball on your team every year

  19. 63deuceman says:
    February 6, 2018 at 1:49 pm
    .
    .
    .

    I’m not suggesting that these guys should take $100,000/year contracts – the NFL makes a lot of money after all – but the difference between $20M and $27M is just $7M more of something that is already orders or magnitude more than a person needs.

    How much is enough?

    ——-
    In a sport without guaranteed contracts and the very real possibility of developing cte? Enough is whatever the market says it is. If you or the owners don’t like it then negotiate a better CBA. Ain’t that what you guys always tell the players?

  20. How much is too much when paying players? What are we teaching our children? To play for cash? I get what I can for 42K a yr and I’m happy. Money won’t buy these players anything on the field and the field is where happiness should be for them.

  21. spartanlegend says:
    February 6, 2018 at 2:02 pm
    waynefontesismyfather says:
    February 6, 2018 at 12:37 pm
    ————————————-
    Yeah if I was forced to guess I’d say you’re actually probably just a University of Michigan fan who hates him because of how hard he used to ball on your team every year
    – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    Nope, I’ve lived in East Lansing for 18 years, less than two miles from Spartan Stadium. I attended most of his games while in the Green and White along with many of his predecessors and successors. I simply don’t like that guy. Ford vs Chevy, Apple vs Android. Simple preference is all, I don’t like him.

  22. 6thsense10 says:
    February 6, 2018 at 2:03 pm
    ——-
    In a sport without guaranteed contracts and the very real possibility of developing cte? Enough is whatever the market says it is.
    _ _ _

    This is more of a question of “why play football at all”. If you are (validly) concerned about CTE, don’t play. But don’t put a price on your health by saying that you’re willing to take the risk for another couple mil.

    What I’m saying is, your lifestyle difference between a $20M salary and a $27M salary really isn’t any different. And that $7M could be distributed elsewhere on the team.

  23. The day before he’s crying about the Patriots? Now he wants this QB to take less money because of the Patriots? Umm no. How about you pay Matty Ice in the carats you didn’t need to the rings.

  24. PrincePaul says:
    February 6, 2018 at 12:58 pm
    @waynefontesismyfather, yes you clearly don’t keep up with the NFL very much. Your take on Cousins is that “He was the last man standing in a two man race with Bob Griffin”? I’ll update you. Over the last 3 years Cousins hasn’t missed a game, he completed 67% of his passes, threw for 13k yards and has 81 TD’s to 36 picks. He also has the 10th best QBR in the HISTORY of the NFL – yes, that is correct – he is tied with Kurt Warner and number 13 is Joe Montana.
    ______________________________________

    I will give the Coles Notes version – Captain Kirk is Tony Romo V2.x. He throws for a lot of yards and TD’s in meaningless games and chokes in important games. Jut like Tony, he will always have naive fans who think his meaningless stats outweigh the fact that he cannot get it done in crunch-time and to boot Kirk sucks in the red-zone.

    He hasn’t won a meaningful game in the last 3 years and in fact, the last 2 years he has choked away the playoffs. But hey, at least he has a good QBR!

  25. skunkgoosefly says:
    February 6, 2018 at 2:05 pm
    How much is too much when paying players? What are we teaching our children? To play for cash? I get what I can for 42K a yr and I’m happy. Money won’t buy these players anything on the field and the field is where happiness should be for them.
    ______________________________________________________________________

    I think you have a point in there but it wasn’t well articulated. Yes, these players make a lot, but salaries are top heavy towards the best players in the league. The salary cap is roughly 160 mill for 53 players and the vast majority of them make under 1.5 million per year. Keep in mind that 1 out of every 100,000 people that have aspirations to become a starting QB in the NFL actually make it so they should be rewarded handsomely (I wanted to be the starting QB for the 49ers when I was young). Plus, the owners took home 247 million dollars each in last years collective bargaining agreement so why should the best players ask for their share? The Dallas Cowboys are worth 4.2 Billion dollars.

  26. I don’t see teams giving up leverage for players especially running backs who are franchised, used up, and then told you have too many carries. Really no reason to give art any break –the league has a salary for the express purpose to contain salary. Players need to man up.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!