Matt Ryan isn't headed for free agency after the 2013 season. He just isn't. I know it. You know it. My six-year-old terrier mix knows it. It's also unlikely the Falcons use their franchise tag on him. By using the franchise tag, the Falcons merely delay the inevitable. I know we've touched on this several times this off-season, but
there's nothing else to talk about with less than a month until training camp starts, it's worth revisiting.
Look, my opinion isn't based on any insider tips, because let's be honest, I'm just not that cool. But articles like this and Thomas Dimitroff's repeated, pointed assurance that a contract will get done tell me all I need to know. Contrary to popular belief, It's not about freeing up cap space.
Ryan has a $12 million cap number for 2013. A long-term deal often drops a player’s cap number, but if Ryan is going to be paid at or near the top of the market (i.e., somewhere between $16 million and $20 million per year), it’s unlikely that the cap number will be any lower than $12 million in 2013. Which means that a long-term deal for Ryan likely won’t create additional cap space for a potential contract with Richard Seymour.
I hate to put it in such simplistic terms, but it's all about finding the middle ground between acknowledging Ryan's worth and not handicapping the franchise. There's a fine line, and each side has to posture a bit, but all parties know where this is headed. They will get this contract done as soon as possible, undoubtedly before training camp. The distraction is just not worth it.