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Thomas Dimitroff shares insight into Matt Ryan’s contract negotiations

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It’s quite fascinating to hear the team’s perspective during the process.

Buffalo Bills v Atlanta Falcons Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

On the latest episode of former NFL exec Andrew Brandt’s podcast “The Business of Sports,” his friend and Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff gave a detailed interview about a myriad of subjects. It’s a great listen if you’ve got time, but one section was particularly illuminating.

Dimitroff pulled back the curtains on what exactly went down during the Matt Ryan extension process, and gave some thoughtful revelations on exactly the timeline was, and what the perspectives were of both parties in the negotiations.

“We’ve always been very mindful of trying to sign back the guys we’ve invested a lot in, of course, and guys we’ve believed in from the very beginning,” Dimitroff said on the podcast. “Matt was the first draft pick I was ever involved with here as a general manager in this league. [I’m] very proud of how he’s evolved as a player and as a person and as a leader…He is really what we are looking for in so many ways.

“We had talked about how we were going to approach it. We normally have not done guys, Julio included, until that last year. We’re not big on doing the three years, two years, normally, we’ve been a year out, and it’s been that way with our main guys, so it sends a message to even guys who are more midline players who are looking for a contract, like, look, if Matt and Julio, and a couple of other guys, even Roddy White during those times, have done it this way, it sets a tone of consistency. And, I think, that’s been good for us.”

So, the team has a game plan in mind on how they want to negotiate deals, and to be frank, this does make you wonder if Julio Jones will end up getting his deal renewed at the moment (I’m unsure if this was recorded before or after the Julio news hit, so take the name drop there for what you will). It seems to be against what the Falcons typically do, though if you make an exception for anyone, of course it’s the Jet. But, back to Ryan.

Dimitroff says the team considered trying to get the deal done before free agency, likely to open up some cap space to spend, but it just wasn’t meant to be for that time frame. It sounds like Ryan’s camp was waiting to see what would happen with Kirk Cousins.

He actually does share a funny anecdote about running into Aaron Rodgers at the airport, with the Packers QB telling TD to get Ryan’s deal done so he can move on with his life, and get his extension, too.

Dimitroff says after a pre-free agency target didn’t materialize, he moved on to getting everything settled after the draft. Ryan’s camp and the Falcons brass then gathered at Arthur Blank’s HQ, and spent hours hammering out the details. And, voila, deal.

He and Brandt get into the nitty-gritty about the schematics of contracts, and Dimitroff goes a little further on the negotiations themselves (he notes Condon’s camp did bring up how Ryan should be making more money than Cousins, which, duh), which I’ll leave to the podcast to expand on.

They also go into the sensitive subject of having a big contract hit for your QB, and the thought that you can’t build a Super Bowl-winning roster with that kind of number on the books.

“Vehemently opposed to that opinion,” Dimitroff said. “I am 100% of the mindset that you can [build a team with a big QB contract in tow] if you’re strategic with it, and you’re very creative with how you put it together, all within the confines of the rules, of course. I think we’ve done a really thoughtful job over the years.”

He says that Dan Quinn’s been great to understand the business side of things, which he notes does go into the future with making roster decisions with who stays and who goes.

Dimitroff does note that the team will have some tough decisions to make in the years to come, and while he obviously doesn’t hint to who those players might be, he says that greener pastures might await some current Falcons who have deals to be reached by other organizations.

“Okay, by doing Matt Ryan at these numbers, next year’s not going to be easy,” Dimitroff said. “We’re going to have to be mindful of next year, and we’re going to have to be mindful of the players on our team who are making X amount of dollars as well. It all is contingent on so many different things.”

If you want to hear about Dimitroff’s thoughts on the end of the season, Quinn’s ability to scout and develop young talent, his thoughts on the work and health balance for NFL front offices, insights on the world of cycling and the full audio rundown of what’s talked about above, give the episode a listen. This is good insight for the summer months, and will edify you on how Dimitroff thinks. I can’t recommend it enough.