When former NFL MVP Matt Ryan announces upon joining CBS as an analyst that he’s not retired, it’s not a case of Ryan being the last one to know that it’s over. He can’t act like it’s over, unless he potentially jeopardizes the $12 million he’ll make to not play for the Colts in 2023.
When the Colts traded for Ryan last year, they knew they would owe him $12 million this year. They cut him in March to avoid having another $17 million shift from injury guarantee to full guarantee.
But it’s not free money. Ryan technically has an obligation to seek NFL employment, and to not refuse reasonable opportunities to play. If he announces “I’m out,” the Colts could — in theory — try to not pay him.
There’s no reason to think the Colts would do it. But the smart move for Ryan is to keep the door open, especially when it’s obvious that no one is going to be walking through it.
Ryan is done. He knows it. We know it. Last year, it became clear. And that’s fine. Not every quarterback is going to play at a high level into his 40s, or even his late 30s.
But he’s saying he’s not retired because he hopes to get the money that the Colts committed to pay when trading for him last year. No one forced them to do it. They did it, and they owe him the money. Even if there’s only a 0.01 percent chance owner Jim Irsay would try to parlay a Ryan retirement into stiffing him, why risk it? Keep the biscuit.
And $12 million will buy a lot of them.