Arthur Blank is probably the best owner in the NFL. We’re biased, but he’s been able to consistently field a competitive team (with a few hiccup seasons) ever since he bought the team at the turn of the century, and is responsible for overseeing the transition from Michael Vick/Bobby Petrino cataclysm to the Matt Ryan/Thomas Dimitroff era.
Blank has got to pay one of the cornerstones of that transition on what’s likely to be his last major-major deal, and he’s weighed in on where he thinks things are at the moment to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Jeff Schultz.
“The most direct and honest answer is: no need to worry, good conversations are happening, they are positive and there’s no timetable for this,” the Falcons’ owner wrote.
This seems to be the industry line for the organization at the moment, and if we’re being very honest, we all know this deal is going to get done, Ryan’s going to get paid handsomely, everyone’s going to be glad-handing once the deal is done and the world is going to keep spinning in Flowery Branch.
Contracts are a big deal until they’re not, and the only negatives from this situation are the Falcons missing the chance to get a little extra dough for March, and the team not being able to pivot to getting other needed deals done. But, you’ve technically got time until the contract is up to get it extended, and even then, as Schultz notes, the franchise tag is a thing. So, again, it’s not a matter of if this deal gets done in any way, shape or form. It’s firmly a matter of when.
“When” is a good question, but all indicators go to thinking this gets done sometime before the season begins. They won’t drag this out past opening kickoff. Well, at least we hope not.
If you’re really curious what all of this might mean behind the scenes, we’ll refer you to an ESPN piece Vaughn McClure wrote last week, where he interviewed former agent Joel Corry, who gives some good insight into the process.
“When the Falcons say, ‘There’s no timetable,’ that means, ‘As far as we’re concerned right now, Matt Ryan is asking for too much money,’” Corry said.
Corry talks about the motivation agent Tom Condon has to make Ryan the first 30-a-year QB, and gives some keen insight into what the Falcons have in leverage (which, as Corry notes, isn’t much).
“The Falcons’ best argument is, ‘We’ve got other people to take care [of],’” Corry said. “What else can they say? They can’t say, ‘Well you haven’t achieved the things as these other highly paid quarterbacks have.’ How many playoff wins does Kirk Cousins have? Zero. How many playoffs wins does Matt Stafford have? Zero. Jimmy Garoppolo hasn’t even started a full season yet.”
Also, the former agent lays out a convincing case as for why some extra Atlanta March cap space might not have been all it was cracked up to be.
“You were already a good team, so you didn’t need to be out there in on [the] spending spree in free agency,” Corry said. “Even if you picked up $10 million in cap room by doing his extension before free agency, you still weren’t going to be in a position to go shopping in the high-rent district. You weren’t ever going to be in the position to do that no matter when you did his extension. You have priorities that aren’t related to free agency. You’ve got extensions you need to start taking care, especially with these young defensive players [Grady Jarrett, Ricardo Allen, Vic Beasley Jr.].”
Again, the Mattural is going to get lots of zeroes here soon, and will more than likely hit the $30-million-a-year threshold. So, brace yourself for the deal when it comes, and be glad we’re working to extend a player like Ryan at the game’s most important position.