Free agency has slowed down a bit, and the NFL Draft is still a little over two weeks away. There's not a ton of NFL news floating around, and that's part of the reason that people are talking so much about a contract extension for Matt Ryan. The other part of the reason is, it's a big offseason for quarterback contracts. Joe Flacco, a free agent after the conclusion of the 2012 season, signed a six-year, $120.6 million deal, making him the highest paid quarterback in the history of the NFL, before taxes, of course.
Then Tony Romo inked a deal that will pay him $108 million over six years. Word on the street is that the Packers would like to have an extension in place for Aaron Rodgers imminently. And, with Matt Ryan entering the final year of his rookie deal in 2013, the Falcons have indicated that working out the terms of an extension for Ryan is a priority.
Spotrac.com, a site that features details of player contracts and cap situations in professional sports, ran an article yesterday featuring contract projections for Matt Ryan's extension. Although the article is featured on the premium side of the site, it is currently available to everyone, and is definitely worth reading.
To develop contract projections for Ryan, Mike Ginnitti and Scott Allen of Spotrac first determined which quarterbacks in the league are most similar to Ryan. They were looking for starting quarterbacks with similar statistics to Ryan, who signed their second or third contract with their respective teams at approximately Ryan's age. The quarterbacks who most closely fit those criteria were Eli Manning, Tony Romo, Ben Roethlisberger and Joe Flacco. Then, they established an average for those four players' contracts, for length, total value and annual compensation.
Next, they performed statistical analysis for Eli, Romo, Roethlisberger and Flacco, as well as Ryan, to determine how well each player was performing in the two seasons preceding the season before they signed a new deal, relative to their career averages. For Ryan, they determined that in the 2010 and 2011 seasons, he performed 9.8% better than his career averages.
Based on Ryan's age, durability, career statistics and continued upward trajectory, the guys at Spotrac are projecting an 8 year, $145,400,544 deal, with $49 million guaranteed. They're projecting an average annual salary of $18,175,068. This average would be less per year than Flacco, but Flacco was also the MVP of Super Bowl XLVII. If their projections were accurate, Ryan's numbers would be similar to Tony Romo's annual average, and while Tony Romo is often mocked for his tendency to throw interceptions at inopportune times, Ryan and Romo had generally similar numbers overall for the 2012 regular season.
Atlanta's front office has, in general, proven to be effective in securing deals that are beneficial for players and the team. Matt Ryan's agent, Tom Condon of Creative Artists Agency, is known for getting his clients--including Drew Brees, both Mannings, and many more big name players--paid. But, what Condon is going to be focused on is Ryan's total compensation, as well as the guaranteed money. How it's scheduled to pay out is less of a concern. The Falcons should be able to come up with numbers that will make Ryan (and by extension, Condon) happy while negotiating a deal that is manageable from a salary cap perspective.
What do you think of Spotrac's projections? Would you be happy with that deal, should it come to fruition for Ryan? Do you expect the Falcons to pay Ryan more than they are projecting, or less? Discuss!