The Atlanta Falcons have a nice baseline to work with from the 2021 season under Arthur Smith. At quarterback, there are some questions that need to be answered, but they still have their franchise guy in Matt Ryan. There are certain aspects that can’t be addressed until the draft or free agency starts, but the Falcons will able to address the salary questions right away.
Matt Ryan: 2 years, $92.235 million left on his contract
Feleipe Franks: 2 years, $1.775 million left on his contract
The biggest question is what the Falcons will do with Matt Ryan’s contract. The first thought here is to adjust the structure and extend the deal to make it more team friendly moving forward. While that may not seem ideal to those who are ready to get rid of the Falcons long-term franchise quarterback, it’s not going to help the Falcons for the long term to try and replace him this year.
Feleipe Franks is the only other quarterback on the roster, and his deal is essentially the minimum deal for the next two years. The Falcons could improve upon Franks as a backup in the short term. Eventually, Franks will be replaced with someone more talented and more investment.
Unrestricted Free Agents:
A.J. McCarron played in the preseason a little, but basically wasted cap space for the season being on injured reserve. Josh Rosen was terrible in short sporadic action this season. Neither guy should be a priority to retain.
The current need for the Falcons is for a competent backup that is actually worth a roster spot. Right now, it’s easy to see that the combination of Josh Rosen, Feleipe Franks and A.J. McCarron were lucky to never see the field in a meaningful moment of the season. By getting someone in free agency along the lines of say, Joe Flacco, Mitch Trubisky or Marcus Mariota, the Falcons could end up with a solid backup that would upgrade over the current crew.
Potential Future Need
The Falcons do need to have an eye to the future with Matt Ryan turning 37 this season. He still has the accuracy, but his arm is starting to fade with the repeated hits, and there aren’t a lot of options in the passing game. If they feel there’s the right option for Ryan’s eventual replacement in the draft, they should take him. However, this draft class is not great and may only have long-term backup options.
What the Plan Should Be Moving Forward
In short, the Atlanta Falcons should stick with Ryan until he takes that massive drop off the cliff and the line and receivers aren’t obvious problems around him. Until the decline in his play is actually obvious, Ryan is the guy. Finding a solid backup in case his ridiculously good injury luck doesn’t last should be an imperative. The 2023 and future classes look much better at quarterback, and the Falcons should find his eventual replacement then.
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