The Falcons will have a new coach and a new General Manager in 2021. They also may have a new quarterback.
As Monday whether 35-year-old Matt Ryan continues to be the quarterback of the future for the Falcons, team owner Arthur Blank declined to commit.
“I love Matt, much like I love Dan [Quinn], I love Thomas [Dimitroff],” Blank said in a press conference that featured a pool reporter asking pre-submitted questions, as to the specific topic of Ryan’s interest in playing until he’s 40. “Matt’s been a franchise leader for us. A great quarterback. One of the leading quarterbacks in the last 13 years in the NFL. So I hope he’s gonna be part of our plans going forward. But that will be a decision that I won’t make.
“You know, Matt has the ability to play at a very high level, even at this age. Whether that’s gonna continue or not, I’m not sure. I appreciate his willingness to consider doing that, and the level of what he’s played for us for 13 years, which has been incredible. So I — we’ll have to see. But then again that’s gonna be a decision at the end of the day that’ll be — part of it will be up to the player and part of it will be up to the coaching staff. And whether or not Matt can keep himself together and God willing he’ll be able to do that and play at the level that he’s capable of playing at.”
At a time when plenty of quarterbacks are playing at a high level as they approach and surpass 40, there’s no reason to think Ryan can’t keep going. Regardless, Blank made it clear that whether Ryan stays hinges on whether the new regime wants him — and whether he wants to remain in Atlanta.
If he doesn’t want to stay or if the Falcons don’t want him to, there’s a significant financial issue: He has $44.466 million in bonus money that would hit the cap in 2021, if he’s traded or cut before June 1. Even if he stays, he has a cap number of $40.9 million next year, along with a salary of $23 million.
Thus, however it plays out, the Falcons have a major monetary problem on the horizon with Ryan, especially since the salary cap could end up being as low as $175 million next year.