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Will Matt Bryant Return To The Falcons In 2015?

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Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Matt Bryant is just about the most universally beloved Falcons player. That's tough to achieve if you're a kicker, given that one ugly miss can turn the fanbase on you in an instant, but Bryant has been that good.

The man we call Money has nailed 90% or more of his field goals in three of his five-plus seasons in Atlanta, achieving high 80's the rest of the time. That's made him easily one of the best kickers in the NFL over that span, and if we're talking about merit alone, Bryant would be a Falcon until the day he walked away from the game.

Unfortunately, merit isn't the only factor here. Bryant's contract is up heading into the 2015 offseason, and he'll be 40 years old in May. If anyone's a good bet to continue to succeed in his 40's, it's Bryant, but there have only been 13 kickers in NFL history who continued to do the job once they hit the big 4-0. Bryant, in other words, would be part of a very select club.

There's also the question of cost. Bryant's status as one of the game's elite options means he's more expensive than the average kicker, with caps hit of $2.96 and $3.3 million the last two years. As the Falcons overhaul the roster, they may feel a rookie kicker can deliver a reasonable return while they use that money elsewhere, but if Atlanta wants to continue sooner than later, they may be wise to hold on to Bryant. Even if we know that most kickers do eventually lose miles off their fastball, to borrow a metaphor.

In the end, though, a two-year deal is probably the right call. Bryant has done a ton of for the franchise, and I'd ilke to see him as part of the next winning effort. What do you think should be done with Matt Bryant?