Franchise quarterback Matthew Thomas Ryan became the subject of a ridiculous Twitter debate this week. The subject: his Hall of Fame credentials. For whatever reason, the uninformed masses love to go after Ryan, notwithstanding his body of work. It’s illogical and frankly it doesn’t really matter if he’s cemented his Hall of Fame credentials yet, because he’s still one of the best quarterbacks in the league, and that’s all any of us need to care about right this second.
The recent news that the Chiefs locked down Pat Mahomes for the next ten seasons with a price tag approaching half a billion dollars fundamentally changed the quarterback market. Gone are the days where Ryan set the market. (If you recall, Ryan and the Falcons came to terms on a 5-year extension in 2018 that made him the best paid quarterback in NFL history.) A lot has happened since then. A lot.
Ryan’s current contract averages $30 million/year in compensation. That ranks 9th among active quarterbacks. Dak Prescott (2021 UFA), Deshaun Watson (2022 UFA), and Lamar Jackson (2022 UFA) are presumably next in line for big new deals. And there’s no doubt each of their contracts will average north of $30 million/year in compensation, even if they don’t get Mahomes money. Once all 3 deals are inked, Ryan won’t have a top 10 contract anymore.
Ryan is under contract through the 2023 season, and I doubt he has an issue with his present compensation. That said, there’s no denying the fact that the quarterback market has changed markedly since he signed his extension. Ryan will be 38 years old when he enters his contract year, and it’s probably too early to predict how the back end of his career will play out. But if there does come a time where renegotiation needs to happen for whatever reason, we have to anticipate a scenario where the numbers get tricky. Because his value in 2-3 years is hard to predict, this conversation is a little premature in some respects. But if Ryan continues to produce at a similar clip over the next couple seasons, the Falcons will, in fact, be getting a substantial discount, relative to the QB market as a whole.
Your thoughts, Falcoholics?