The Atlanta Falcons have invested quite a bit of money in their offense, over the years. Between quarterback Matt Ryan and the team’s top earning running back and wide receiver in Devonta Freeman and Julio Jones, Atlanta has made a significant investment.
Atlanta’s triplets (defined as the team’s quarterback, primary running back, and No. 1 wide receiver) are actually the highest-paid in the NFL by annual average value.
Highest-paid QB/RB/WR triplets by avg annual value:— Gil Brandt (@Gil_Brandt) June 26, 2019
ATL (Ryan/Freeman/Jones) $52.5M
GB (Rodgers/J. Williams/Adams) $48.7M
PHI (Wentz/Sanders/Jeffery) $46.3M
MIN (Cousins/Cook/Thielen) $45.6M
SEA (Wilson/Penny/Lockett) $45.3M
OAK (Carr/Richard/Brown) $44.8M
It’s no surprise that the top five teams on this annual average value list have quarterbacks who are in the top six in terms of how much average salary they’re earning. QBs carry these figures, with how much they’re paid.
The only team absent from the top five on this list that has a QB who makes top five money in terms of annual average is the Pittsburgh Steelers (QB Ben Roethlisberger - $34 million annually), and that’s because they just let their highest-paid RB from a year ago, Le’Veon Bell, and highest-paid WR from a year ago, Antonio Brown, depart from the team this offseason.
Matt Ryan makes $30 million annually; that figure made him the highest-paid QB in the NFL when he signed his new contract a year ago, but it now slots him in at fifth among all QBs following the new contracts given to Russell Wilson, Roethlisberger, Aaron Rodgers, and Carson Wentz within the last year.
Julio Jones carries an average annual salary of $14.25 million, stemming from the contract extension he agreed to way back in the 2015 offseason. He’s currently 12th among all WRs in terms of average salary and is currently discussing a contract extension with the team which will presumably make him the highest-paid WR in the NFL, and which will skyrocket Atlanta’s triplets figure even more.
Devonta Freeman’s average annual salary is $8.25 million, as agreed to in the 2017 offseason. He’s the fourth-highest earning RB in the NFL in this category, and there’s a significant gap between him and the top three (third-highest paid RB David Johnson earns $13 million on average).
Atlanta is the only team in the league with both a quarterback and a running back among the five highest earners at their respective positions. After Jones completes his extension, they’ll have a top five highest-earning wide receiver as well.
The Falcons are paying a premium for talent, but, if those players are healthy (mostly looking at Freeman here), it’s a worthy investment. Out of all of those teams that are top five in highest-paid triplets, Atlanta is the only team whose triplets have all been selected to at least one Pro Bowl. In fact, Ryan, Freeman, and Julio have each been selected to multiple Pro Bowls.
Atlanta has an explosive offensive group, led by these handsomely paid players. The key to unlocking the potential of this unit will be good play from the offensive line. The Falcons have spent an inordinate amount of resources revamping their offensive line this offseason, in hopes of transforming it from a major weakness into a solid group which can get the job done.
Ryan, Freeman, and Julio have a good chance of justifying their place on that triplets list in 2019.