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Matt Ryan’s new deal may be coming next week, per the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

In Jeff Schultz’s latest piece for the AJC, he drops a hint about the timeline.

NFL: NFC Divisional Playoff-Atlanta Falcons at Philadelphia Eagles Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Matt Ryan’s contract extension should make him one of—if not temporarily the—highest paid quarterback in the NFL. It’s also a deal that figures to free up cap space for the Falcons to finally make a little noise in free agency, though it figures to be more of a whisper than a shout.

All offseason long, we’ve been waiting for a sign that the deal will be done soon, and we might have one at last.

Jeff Schultz at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution dropped a thoughtful column arguing that everyone around the Falcons is getting better while the team sits idle, an argument we’ve heard plenty this offseason. I share some of the concerns outlined in the piece, but I also believe Atlanta’s got a plan that probably never involved being active in the first few days of free agency beyond a signing like Brandon Fusco, and I still want to see it play out. It’s a debate we’ll continue to have.

But buried in this thoughtful piece is a particularly tantalizing tidbit about Ryan’s contract:

They’ve known for a while what re-signing quarterback Matt Ryan will cost them. That will be confirmed when Ryan signs a contract extension, likely next week, that’s expected to pay him near $30 million per season.

The key piece here isn’t the money—we’ve been bracing for this ever since we started hearing whispers about what Kirk Cousins, of all people, was going to get in Minnesota—but the timeline. I don’t think Schultz is just idly guessing that Atlanta’s going to have this contract done, but that there’s a sense that they’re ironing out final details and will, barring any roadblocks, have something to announce next week.

If so, Ryan will have what could be his final big deal as an Atlanta Falcon, and the team will gain cap space to chase their short list of free agent priorities in free agency’s second week. I’m not going to guarantee you they’ll jump on players you and I would love to see in red and black, but at least we’ll likely see some movement on filling those roster holes.