Falcons owner Arthur Blank tells the NFL Network that he’s looking forward to getting a long-term extension place for QB Matt Ryan this offseason and is hoping Ryan will finish out his career in Atlanta.
“I think what’s most exciting for me, personally, is that Matt has indicated a number of times that he wants to play another five-to-seven years,” Blank said. “And I think he thinks he’s Tom Brady — play to maybe 42, I’m not sure. That would be great, too. But Matt’s been a great player for us for 10 years — both on the field and off the field. So, I’m looking forward to having him extend his contract.”
Blank added that the goal is to sign Ryan to a contract that both respects his value to the team as well as franchise’s financial situation moving forward.
“I’m not saying the money is not significant, it is significant,” Blank said. “But I think he wants to win championships, he wants to win the Super Bowl. So part of what we have to keep in balance — and Matt has to help us do that — is that we want to sign a contract with Matt that is respectful and competitive with him, but one that positions the team to keep talent around him. … I don’t care who the player is, you can’t win with one player.”
Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff previously told reporters that their “main focus” this offseason will be to sign Ryan to a contract extension.
“No real comment, just the fact that it will be a focus this offseason,” Dimitroff said, via ESPN.com. “That’s one that, interestingly enough, will help create flexibility in what we’re doing forward with a number of moves we may be making. Yes, Matt’s focus will be the No. 1 focus.'”
Dimitroff expressed confidence that this won’t be a hard negotiation, even though Matthew Stafford set the mark for quarterbacks at five years, $135 million with $92 million guaranteed and a $50 million signing bonus.
“You’re always looking at market value,” Dimitroff said. “And you’re looking at how the cap is going up. And you’re looking at a lot of different things, of course. The reality on it is, when you’re the quarterback of Matt’s caliber, you’re going to set a certain tone for how teams are negotiating.
“I think it’s not going to be that difficult of a negotiation, quite honestly. I think we’re going to be in a good spot with it. Yeah, we do have to be creative. We always have to be creative.”
Ryan is one year removed from an MVP season in which he took the Falcons to the Super Bowl and considering that he’s entering the final year of his contract, it makes plenty of sense for Atlanta to be aggressive this offseason in regards to hammering out a long-term deal.
The time of the deal will be something to watch, as the Packers are also expected to sign Aaron Rodgers to a massive extension that could leave him as the team’s highest-paid player, so Ryan may want to wait and see the specifics of Rodgers deal before agreeing to anything.
Ryan, 32, is a former first-round pick of the Falcons back in 2008. He’s entering the final year of his six-year, $103.75 million contract that included $59 million guaranteed and stands to make a base salary of $19.25 million for the 2018 season.
Ryan would be an unrestricted free agent in 2019, but it’s highly unlikely he’ll test the open market, even if the two parties are unable to work out an agreement on a long-term deal.
In 2017, Ryan appeared in all 16 games for the Falcons threw for 4,095 yards while completing 64.7 percent of his passes to go along with 20 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. Pro Football Focus has him rated as the No. 2 quarterback out of 39 qualifying players.
We’ll have more regarding a new contract for Ryan as the news is available.