The Falcons won’t be benching quarterback Matt Ryan, in large part because they don’t have anyone else who would be remotely successful for the balance of 2015.
Come 2016, things could get interesting.
Under his second contract, signed in 2013, Ryan is still due to receive more than $50 million over the next three seasons. Specifically, he gets a base salary of $15.75 million in 2016, $15.75 million in 2017, and $19.25 million in 2018.
Ryan already has received a $28 million signing bonus, a $12 million option bonus, and base salaries of $23 million over the last three years. That’s $63 million so far.
In making decisions about Ryan, the Falcons need to forget about the money that has been paid and consider the money to be paid. Is Ryan worth another $50.75 million over the next three years? Would someone else pay Ryan more than whatever the Falcons are willing to pay on a reduced deal?
The other question is whether someone else would be willing to pick up Ryan’s contract, which would allow the Falcons to potentially trade him.
Ultimately, the Falcons have to ask themselves whether they can do better than Ryan. And if Kyle Shanahan will be sticking around as offensive coordinator, it’s not unreasonable to wonder whether he shares his father’s feelings about Kirk Cousins.