Terry Fontenot: We’re excited about Matt Ryan, but have to evaluate incoming QBs

Atlanta Falcons v Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Getty Images

The Falcons have the fourth overall pick in the upcoming draft, and there’s been plenty of speculation that they could take a quarterback to be Matt Ryan‘s successor.

With General Manager Terry Fontenot and head coach Arthur Smith reportedly “aligned” on their vision for the top pick, Atlanta has sent representatives to the Pro Days with the top incoming passers. As Fontenot said in a clip of an interview released by the team, that methodology is both about the present and the future.

“That’s critical because that’s a position that regardless of where you are at your starter — we’re so excited about Matt Ryan, but we have to evaluate every one of these quarterbacks,” Fontenot said. “Not just for now, when you think big picture, if you have an opportunity — for example Trevor Lawrence, when you have an opportunity to see that player in person throw, then you have to take advantage of that. Even if you’re not going to have the opportunity at him this year, you don’t know what’s going to happen three, four, five years from now in the future. So you want to take advantage of that in-person exposure.

“That’s why we see every single one of these quarterbacks. We want to, as much as we can, get to them, see them in person, and just take advantage of those exposures because it’s the most critical position in the NFL and we want to stack good quarterbacks. It’s a prime time to do it when you have a player like Matt Ryan, because when you can get in the right quarterback, you don’t have that pressure to play him right away. So it opens up so many possibilities, and we have to make sure we’re evaluating those positions. And we feel good about where we are there.”

Though the Falcons finished 4-12 in 2020, Ryan still played at a solid level, completing 65 percent of his passes for 4,581 yards with 26 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. Ryan turns 36 in May, so there’s reason to believe he may have a few quality years left — particularly if Smith can replicate the effective ground attack he put together as Tennessee’s offensive coordinator.

The Jaguars, Jets, and 49ers appear set to take quarterbacks with the first, second, and third overall picks. The Falcons could add a fourth QB to that list, but they’ve also reportedly had exploratory talks with teams about trading back to gain additional assets.

Whether the Falcons decide to select Ryan’s successor, the top non-QB, or trade the pick, there should be plenty of intrigue when Atlanta comes on the clock at No. 4 overall.

19 responses to “Terry Fontenot: We’re excited about Matt Ryan, but have to evaluate incoming QBs

  1. A quarterback’s job is to win, not to look good while losing. Ryan played 10 more games than jimmy G. in 2020 but he won only 1 more game than Jimmy G. He also makes more money than Jimmy. If the Falcons are smart, they would pick a quarterback with their 4th overall pick and trade Ryan. Chances are they could get one of the top 4 quarterbacks available. They may be able to draft either Mac Jones, Justin Fields, Zach Wilson or Trey Lance. Trevor Lawrence would probably be picked by either Jacksonville, NY or Frisco. He is unlikely to fall back to the 4th spot.

  2. Ryan has had good stats, but not the results. Time for ATL to plan for the near term future.

  3. In today’s NFL, you either want to have a rookie QB on his first contract or a highly paid QB. Having both is not very ideal for team building. In ATL, Ryan’s contract makes him very difficult to trade.

  4. Anybody buying this rumor that SF actually traded ahead of ATL to take Pitts? Seems crazy. But the “experts” are saying it would be a great move.

  5. The Falcons: “We’re excited about Matt Ryan”

    Translation: “We’re excited to replace Matt Ryan”

  6. Not sure excited would be the right word but yeah keeping him around for the next few years and drafting pitts at 4 makes more sense than taking the 4th QB there.

  7. The Falcons’ woes in recent years – and inability to hold leads in some, uh…important(!)…games – go far beyond Ryan. Having said that, they either need to admit they’re in rebuild mode and trade or release high-priced veteran talent, or draft some defensive help and keep going with the current crew.

    Or, if they want to draft a QB to develop, fine, but they’d better make sure Ryan is on board with that. It’s not about getting his blessing, it’s about making sure he understands where he fits into long-term strategy. Telling him he’s the man for at least two more years might be sufficient – or whatever the promise is. Just don’t destroy the QB room and your relationship with your current franchise QB.

    They should all be able to communicate like adults.

  8. I get what fans are saying about Matt Ryan have great statistic, but not many wins in the post season. He fails to win many big games. This is a new offensive under Arthur Smith with a new approach to winning games. I’m sure Smith has studied Ryan good and bad points. I’m sure Smith and Terry Fortenot has studied team needs. It’s up to them. Draft the 4th best QB, draft a need, or trade the pick. As much as Jerry Jones seems to want Kyle Pitts, I would think trading the pick is a real possibility. You can draft a team need at the #10 pick.

  9. This is just a smoke screen. The Falcons would absolutely be better off trading down for a boatload of picks. Ryan is a more than capable QB if the plan is to win now. They have Hayden Hurst so TE is not the current priority anymore than a QB is.

  10. For a sense standpoint, if they truely are content with Ryan, theres always next year to get a Qb so I see a move back for more picks as a valid ploy. Just wondering who would take the bait on that? Whomever it is will have to obviously give up a lot. This would be a smart move for da Bears but word is Miami wants that pick and they have picks to deal.?

  11. Don’t let the stats fool you. Half of those TDs came in 4 games and a lot came when they were already down 2+ scores with defenses playing soft coverage. He was terrible most of the season. He had protection but waited way too long in the pocket and took too many sacks bc he couldn’t be decisive. That’s only reason the INT count is low. Falcons need to take a QB.

  12. trading down would be their best bet UNLESS of course Jones is still there… He has the resume that could translate over to the NFL.. if not, wait till the 2nd or 3rd round and get a ‘project’ qb…

  13. mikefloreo says:
    April 13, 2021 at 1:02 pm
    Don’t let the stats fool you. Half of those TDs came in 4 games and a lot came when they were already down 2+ scores with defenses playing soft coverage. He was terrible most of the season. He had protection but waited way too long in the pocket and took too many sacks bc he couldn’t be decisive. That’s only reason the INT count is low. Falcons need to take a QB.

    Please don’t slight this man with this nonsense. Firstly play calling for him was atrocious, coupled with terrible route combos. I believe he was top 5 for most sacked qb last year. Second his INT count is always low. 3rd and most important to your argument we were bad but we were only down two scores in like 3 games last year. We competed just couldnt win the close ones.

  14. They’re doing the wise thing and evaluating all the QB’s. You never knw when one will become available in the future. Sometimes good QB’s don’t do well when they get drafted to a bad team, and you might be able to get your hands on one down the road. Who would have thought Tampa Bay would be letting Steve Young go after a couple years of struggling, or New England would let Jim Plunkett go? The Jets just let Sam Darnold go, so it’s smart to have a solid evaluation on all the QB’s, regardless. Young QB’s struggle, especially when they’re in tough situations. You can never predict the future.

  15. Not a bad plan. The “three, four years” comment is them saying they expect Urban Meyer and the Jags to ruin Lawrence to the point he’s available for pocket change in a few years.

Leave a Reply

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

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.