Matt Ryan’s contract is the main reason he won’t play for the Colts again this year

Indianapolis Colts v Tennessee Titans
Getty Images

Sam Ehlinger officially becomes the starting quarterback of the Colts. If he fails or gets injured, Nick Foles will take over. And if Foles gets injured, the quarterback will be anyone but Matt Ryan.

Ryan is done. He’s out. He won’t play again, for reasons rooted in his contract. Put simply, once the team decided (and it was clear from coach Frank Reich’s comments that owner Jim Irsay made the decision) that Ryan won’t be the quarterback in 2023, it was time to pull the plug on 2022.

Ryan’s contract already pays him $12 million in base salary next year, fully guaranteed. But millions more would become fully guaranteed if Ryan suffers an injury that keeps him from passing a physical by the third day of the 2023 league year in March, when the payments that are currently guaranteed for injury become fully guaranteed.

Specifically, Ryan has $7.205 million in additional 2023 salary guaranteed for injury, and a 2023 roster bonus of $10 million, which is also guaranteed for injury. That’s $17.205 million that the Colts would potentially owe Ryan (in addition to the $12 million) if he emerges from the 2022 season with an injury that prevents him from passing a physical by the middle of March.

That’s why Ryan won’t be playing again for the Colts in 2022. He could, in theory, be traded before next Tuesday. His performances through seven weeks of the current season, however, will surely cause any/every team to shy away from Ryan and his contract, regardless of whether a starter suffers a season-ending injury this weekend.

The question then becomes whether the Colts would cut Ryan after the trade deadline. He may ask to be released. The Colts may wait for the right moment to dump him, thinking that a potential quarterback-needy team may claim his contract on waivers.

Again, it’s unlikely. He is, by all appearances, done. No every quarterback will have his arm beyond his fortieth birthday. For the 37-year-old Ryan, too many of his throws now look like what John Madden used to call the last shot out of a Roman candle.

Ryan has had a great career. He was an MVP. He did everything in his power to win a Super Bowl. He recently passed Dan Marino to become No. 7 on the all-time passing yardage list.

Matt Ryan has a solid case for Canton. At this point, however, continuing to play could eventually hurt his cause. And so, as it was when the Vikings benched Donovan McNabb for Christian Ponder in 2011 and later released McNabb, it may simply be over for Ryan.

Even if it is, he’ll still make $12 million next year to not play pro football. The Colts, at this point, are simply hoping to be sure he doesn’t get $17.205 million more.

93 responses to “Matt Ryan’s contract is the main reason he won’t play for the Colts again this year

  1. Is this the year of the veteran QB falling by the way side ?? Brady / Rodgers / Wilson / Ryan ?? Looks like it to me

  2. I haven’t watched any of his games, so I have to accept the analysis that he is obviously done. If so, benching him makes total sense financially. Depending on the play of the replacements, it also allows the Colts to tank without leaving a verbal evidence trail like happened in the Flores case.

  3. So much for playing through adversity. Maybe he could still help the team later but he may demand a trade. Would NE or Carolina swap a younger QB for him, though doubtful?

  4. It’s their own fault for having a 37 year old throw 50 times a game every week, didn’t he lead the league in pass attempts?

  5. He will not be traded. Any team that could use Ryan’s services would be scared that Ryan could win just enough to cost them a good draft position.

  6. Personally I love it, after the way they treated Wentz. They’d be 5-2 and in first place, but chose to make a decision based on Wentz’s personal choice.

  7. Greatest QB in Falcon history. Hopefully he just goes out on his own terms and doesn’t keep chasing this thing. It’s over.

  8. 7th in all time passing yards (and not just because of longevity), MVP, Superbowl appearance…

    Not sure what HOF looks like if he doesn’t get in.

    (And I’m not a Matt Ryan stan, or even fan… just can objective realize he has a better HOF resume than many in the HOF.)

  9. The Colts are one the worst managed teams in Sports. Too cheap to pay Manning… went to Denver and had multiple MVP type seasons for the Broncos … they had Luck… how’s that turn out. I feel bad for Ryan. Hard to play good when you’re getting pressured on every 2nd play.

  10. And to think, had the Atlanta defense just made one single second half stop he’d have a ring and the Falcons would probably immortalize him in some capacity.

    But as of right now, there’s no case for Canton. But you can’t deny he was a standup person, the perfect player for them to help move past the shadow Vick cast on that entire franchise. He should at least be acknowledged for that much.

  11. If we’ve learned anything, teams need to address the age issue. These Wilsons saying ” I intend to play well into my 40’s” then their bodies and minds too go to hell while still in their 30’s is something GM’s need to structure around.
    Green Pay seems to pay big contracts for past performance – Bak, Rodgers and not consider, age and usage and value in trading for picks.

  12. Hypothetically, there’s s a team out there with a desperate QB situation sitting in the AFC East cellar. Perhaps ”BB The Great” could hypothetically trade for him in an attempt to save his coaching career. Hypothetically.

  13. gomyguys says:
    October 25, 2022 at 10:56 am
    Personally I love it, after the way they treated Wentz. They’d be 5-2 and in first place, but chose to make a decision based on Wentz’s personal choice.
    Wentz failed to perform in big games. And once again, he’s hurt.

  14. Seems like just about anyone who wins an MVP gets a gold jacket. HOF is so watered down now it’s almost meaningless. Jim Plunkett has 2 SB rings and no gold jacket. Yet some who had 7-9 year careers are in. BS. 12M to NOT go to work next year. Wow.

  15. Let’s pump the brakes on the Matt-Ryan-is-not-going-to-the-HOF talk. According to the HOF rules, between 4 and 8 players MUST be elected to the Hall every year, regardless of the quality of the eligible players in any given year. Depending on the quality of his competition, it is quite possible that he will be chosen. He shouldn’t be, because I agree that he has had a good career, not a great one. But unless the Hall changes its selection process, it is possible that Ryan and other good, not great players will be chosen.

  16. It seems bizarre for the Colts to go to all that trouble and expense and then balk at this money at this point. Any team that does this was never really “all in” to begin with, which explains a lot about how the team is performing, and has performed the last few years.

    It seems like all they really know how to do is hit a home run (Manning, Luck). Without that, they just flail. There’s not really much excuse to be in this state when you have Ryan and Foles on the roster. Two Super Bowl QBs and they can’t even field a decent OL.

  17. You have to release him. It’s kind of mean spirited to bury him like that. Who knows? Maybe a playoff bound team could use a veteran back up with Super Bowl experience who can game manage for you! I think the Colts went too far away from their dominating run game and expected too much out of Ryan. Sorry Frank. I think you’re the one who is done in Indy. That’s the real news. Would Sean Payton take the Colts job?

  18. As a lifelong Falcons fan, I hate to see his career end like this. He gave everything he had to Atlanta, has always been a great teammate and is wonderful in the community. His career, like many before him, was crippled by inept coaching and subpar talented teams.

    I look forward to the day (which appears to be sooner than expected) where he signs a one-day contract and retires a Falcon. We may not make the HOF but he certainly belongs in the Falcons Ring of Honor.

  19. This could’ve and should’ve been avoided by the colts gm demanding a restructure of Ryan’s contract. The fact that they left it alone now puts the colts in tank mode and essentially will end the head coaching job of Frank Reich. No reason why they couldn’t have restructured so that he could keep playing this year, just throwing good money after bad that could’ve gone to extending a free agent or signing a new player.

  20. Looks like he joins Wilson who arrives on a new team as the savior and fails miserably. #NotForLong…

  21. How can you say that Matt Ryan (with zero Super Bowl wins) has a “solid case” for Canton, when Jim Plunkett has two Super Bowl wins, and can’t even get mention for the Hall of Fame? Ryan is a fantasy-football hero, and that is it. His career was over the moment the Falcons gagged on the Lombardi trophy in their loss to the Patriots.

  22. Remember when all the media experts said the Colts were Superbowl contenders with Ryan?

  23. At this point isn’t it worthwhile to look at the coach who has brought in and failed with three QBs? Rivers, Wentz, and now Ryan? Maybe Reich is another in a long line of great coordinators who can’t handle a head coaching gig. No shame there at all.

  24. If they released him outright, who’s to say he doesn’t go to a more well built and better coached team (like the Titans), while Indy picks up the tab? You’d have to think Vrabel would think Ryan would at least be something of an upgrade over Tannehill, or at least a competent back up.

  25. Ever since Andrew Luck called it quits the Colts have been shuffling quarter backs like crazy. Draft picks are there only way that they can get better in the future. I hope.

  26. As hard as the Colts Org was on Wentz on the way out, you would think they knew what they were talking about… turns out not so much.

  27. The Colts were hoping Ryan was the next Safford and it sadly didn’t work out that way.

  28. 2022 is the official year of the Big Ones being reduced to complete jokes. Look at the landscape of the formerly hyped basically being embarrassed by play or by invented injuries to remove them from doing more damage.

  29. Really wish it didn’t end this way for Matt Ryan. I’m guessing after the beating that our O-Line let him take, there’s a part of him that’s not terribly upset about not playing. I’m just appalled that the O-Line is this bad….esp after the Luck debacle.

  30. “It’s kind of mean spirited to bury him like that.” See his guaranteed paychecks and send all complaints to the round file.

  31. The Colts have ruined their rep with ALL free agents. Why sign ther, they are career killers?

  32. mototax says:
    October 25, 2022 at 10:55 am
    Have the Colts become the new Browns, where QB’s go to fail? Luck, Rivers, Wentz, Ryan?

    Luck didn’t fail, he was pounded so badly through the years that he had too many lingering injuries. Even in his final season (2018) after taking 2017 off to heal, the Colts won 9 of their last 10 games to make the playoffs. He finished with 4600 yards passing, 39 TD’s and 15 int’s. He then retired at age 29.
    Rivers only played 1 year for the Colts. He finished the year with 4200 yards passing, 24 TD’s and 11 int’s. He also led the Colts to the playoffs and but lost a close game to the Bills despite throwing for over 300 yards.
    The Wentz signing was wishful thinking, definitely a FAIL.
    The Ryan signing was a desperation move, definitely a FAIL.
    The Colts best move now is to shore up the lines and draft a QB.

  33. Greatest Falcon of all time. Not a better player than, say Julio Jones or Deion Sanders, but his contributions and leadership overall were the greatest.

  34. Quality NFL starter, 1 absolutely terrific record-setting season, great teammate, and all-around good guy. Matt Ryan was one of the good ones, no doubt. Not a HOFer though.

  35. I’m still surprised that the wheels fell off the Ryan bus so quickly. Doesn’t seem only physical — the mental mistakes also appear significant.

  36. Zero Sum Theory. For decades the Colts had uncanny luck when drafting QBs…Elway fell into their lap (decided he didn’t want to play for a historical Baltimore team that had just moved to Indy)…then Manning fell into their lap…then the one year Manning misses and the Colts decide to move and the Colts tank, Luck falls into their lap. Conversely, look at other teams like the Houston Texans whom have had the #1 pick 3 times; the best QB available in all of those drafts? David Carr. Looks like QB zero sum theory is now collecting from the Colts.

  37. Rivers, Eli, Roethlisberger and Matty Ice are the same player for my money.

    I wouldn’t vote for any of them, personally. I don’t care how many yards they compiled.

  38. It was apparent over the past couple of years that Ryan’s skills were deteriorating right along with the rest of the Falcons team. It’s hard to believe that the Colts brain trust didn’t notice this. The Colts have lost quite a few coaches and front office staff to other teams (via promotions) over the past few seasons; perhaps the folks that are left in Indy simply aren’t that sharp.

  39. What about termination pay? Wouldn’t he be entitled to collect the remainder of his contract since he’s never applied before? If so, the colts might as well play him into the ground.

  40. watchoutnfl says:
    October 25, 2022 at 12:43 pm
    mototax says:
    October 25, 2022 at 10:55 am
    Have the Colts become the new Browns, where QB’s go to fail? Luck, Rivers, Wentz, Ryan?

    Luck didn’t fail, he was pounded so badly through the years that he had too many lingering injuries.
    Especially the snowboarding accident that ended his career.

  41. nflhistorybuff68 says: So much for playing through adversity. Maybe he could still help the team later but he may demand a trade. Would NE or Carolina swap a younger QB for him, though doubtful?
    Did you read the article? It has nothing to do with adversity. It’s about money and he’s getting old, ahem, has already gotten old. He’s not good enough anymore. As a GB Packer fan, we’re seeing some of the same with Aaron Rodgers. We just saw it a year or two ago with Drew Brees. Like any athlete, QB’s hit a limit where they can’t do it anymore at an NFL level. Ryan is there. Rodgers and Wilson might be there. Brady is an ananomoly but he might be there too.

  42. Sad for Ryan, he seems like a true pro in every way. Indy didn’t do right by him, but at least they haven’t gone down the road of Denver and Green Bay, signing a has-been to a mega deal that will cripple their franchise for a decade.

  43. He’s one of two huge QB flops by teams this season by what were once decent organization’s but now have become a laughing stock – Indianapolis & Denver.

  44. Zero case for Canton. Same goes for Rivers. If we want to the HOF to be reserverad for the best of the best, even Eli Manning should have to wait a long time. Yes, 2 rings. So did Jim Plunket. And like Jim, Eli was not good most of the time.

    60.3% completion percentage in a passing league – 5% lower than his pears.
    Only made it to 4 Pro Bowls.
    Never once named to an All-Pro team.
    NFC offensive player of the week 4 times.
    Lead NFL in interceptions 2007, 2010, 2023.
    7 losing seasons in 17 years.
    Missed playoffs 9x

    Let’s stop confusing longevity in the passing era of football with greatness.

  45. Is this why Irsay had an epiphany of sorts over the past few days? Talk about turning on the fire hose and sprinklers before setting one’s house on fire. He garnered some goodwill from the probable heavy hitters who would have held his feet to the fire before pulling this stunt.

  46. Colts are now only 1 injury away from having Foles in the starting lineup under Reich, and you know what happens then.

  47. Lol especially after that junkie of an owner was up there talk8ng down Wentz then goes out and gets a older 1 who’s already riding the pine

  48. He’s getting into Canton. He’s top 10 in passing TDs too, with more than Fran Tarkenton & Joe Montana, who are already Famers, and Montana is considered by some to be the best ever.

  49. It’d be funny if he faked an injury (his back, for ex) to fail the spring physical. Kind of dirty to do him like this after going out and getting him and talking him up for months. Didn’t he/they just win a big game a week ago?

  50. We are finally seeing the changing of the guard. Rodgers, Brady, Wilson, Ryan, Stafford……all showing signs that their careers are waning.

    Next up…..Allen, Mahomes, Herbert, Hurts

  51. Comparing Ryan to Joe Montana is laughable. Sure, Ryan’s career lasted longer, but he wasn’t even half the QB that Joe was.

  52. “onlymyopinioncounts says:
    October 25, 2022 at 2:51 pm

    60.3% completion percentage in a passing league – 5% lower than his pears.”

    But I bet it was much higher than his avocadoes.

  53. Is this the year of the veteran QB falling by the way side ?? Brady / Rodgers / Wilson / Ryan ?? Looks like it to me


    Weird actually … seems like they all aged in 1 off season … none look like they can play much anymore

  54. This is Ryan winning big in the business end as his career wraps up. He was all done, but still got himself set up to get paid many millions for a season and a half of chilling out. Thats one heck of a retirement party.

  55. It’s so funny hearing people accuse the Colts of tanking. Ryan was absolutely terrible as a quarterback this year, they couldn’t get any worse. Making the change could only hope to make them better, not worse, because that’s where they were going with the tidy bowl man, straight down the crapper.

  56. Personally I love it, after the way they treated Wentz. They’d be 5-2 and in first place, but chose to make a decision based on Wentz’s personal choice.

    It’s a business. And Wentz is out hurt currently. (Or are we going to pretend he was going to be healthy with Indy and throwing 5 TDs every game?)

  57. Something is fishy about this. A few weeks ago Irsey was talking about Ryan like he was a saint! If he had a bad game and was pulled and the new guy light’s it up, i could see it. But to bench him before you see what the new guy can do??? And say “that it for the season”?? I think there is more to this story than Money!!

  58. Jim Irsay made the decision….

    Hey look, another Dan Snyder who is doing everything in his power to be seen as a competent owner, yet still falls victim to the same decisions.

    Jim Irsay is a hero!

  59. billshistorian says:
    October 25, 2022 at 11:35 am
    Owner makes the decision and then will blame the head coach for performance.

    And they all will blame the most convenient scapegoat – Ryan. The Colt’s O-line is awful and their run game is near the bottom of the league. What help have they given Ryan? People act like signing a FA QB happens in a vacuum and that guy’s talents will look exactly the same on a new team with a new scheme and a new OC. Never that simple.

    Ryan was 3-1 in his last 4 games. He’s injured now, but Irsay is interfering because he has dreams of drafting a top QB in 2023…who will then be thrown to the wolves and labeled a “bust” when he can’t save a bad, poorly managed team all on his own.

  60. Their run game is bad because their stud Taylor is injured. If they had Taylor, he wouldn’t be asked to throw 40+ times a game.

  61. Top five in yards, tds, and completion percentage. Wonder if last years sixth rounder will hit these metrics.

  62. When the colts left ballamer in the dead of night once upon a time they invoked a curse on them. They won 1 Super Bowl and that’s it – in 40 years. Now they’re mediocre, which fits them.

    Had they left the name and the colors in Ballamer all could be forgiven, and the indy fans could have had fun naming the team and choosing the colors.

    And don’t forget that in 2001 Irsay forced indy to build a new stadium or he would move them to LA, which would have resulted in their moving there to start the 2007 season – so they would win the SB in Feb. 2007 and then move to LA.

    “Ladies and gentlemen your world champion Los Angeles Colts” and they’ve never played a game there.


  63. Ryan may be 6th in passing yards but no SB title and he’s not in the top 10 when it comes to career pass rating or wins.

    I think those keep him out of Canton added with the biggest choke in SB history.

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.