A few days ago Matt Ryan had restructured his deal with the Atlanta Falcons and was certain to start for the team in 2022 and potentially beyond. Things have obviously changed quickly with Ryan as well as the direction of the team. While Ryan is currently on the team, he is certain to be gone, one way or another, in the next few days. He is a dead man walking.
While at some point fans will say goodbye to Matt Ryan, right now one of the (many) questions is where will Ryan end up? Adam Schefter reported that the Falcons and Ryan agreed to push the effective date of a $7.5 million guarantee back four days to “vet his trade options.”
Whether Ryan holds a no-trade clause or if the Falcons are doing right by its veteran quarterback, Ryan will apparently have input on his eventual destination. The market for a veteran quarterback was obviously hotter just a few weeks back, however, there are still a handful of realistic landing spots.
Seattle’s short-term outlook has been cloudy since trading Russell Wilson. Will the Seahawks rebuild? If not, this may be a great match. Pete Carroll has been a fan of conservative football and may look to focus on running the ball and playing defense. That’d be a great landing spot for an aging veteran. Ryan could rely on the surrounding components of his team instead of being expected to carry the team to each win. Seattle is flush with draft picks after moving on from Wilson and may be looking for a bridge quarterback under center for the next few seasons.
If Ryan is looking for a team ready to compete in 2022, then the Steelers would be a great landing spot. The Steelers just signed Mitchell Trubisky to a two-year, $14.2 million deal with only $5.25 million guaranteed. That is good money for a backup but doesn’t indicate he’s clearly the starter. The Steelers have an elite defense with plenty of good talent on offense. Ryan could be an immediate upgrade over Ben Roethlisberger, and more importantly, prevent Pittsburgh from relying entirely on Trubisky to compete in 2022. Pittsburgh is probably one of the best options for Ryan.
The Colts certainly feel one player away from a deep playoff run. After all, the Colts made a bold decision to trade for Carson Wentz last offseason. Things started off well before some inexcusable play from Wentz kept the Colts out of the playoffs. For Ryan, the Colts would be the most talented team he has played on in five or more years. The combo of Jonathan Taylor and Indy’s indoor stadium would be too much to pass up. Indianapolis should be Ryan’s top destination.
The Browns and Baker Mayfield appear headed to a messy divorce. Head coach Kevin Stefanski runs a similar scheme Ryan has seen with Kyle Shanahan and (briefly) Arthur Smith. Like every team mentioned in this article, the Browns would give Ryan a team more talented than he has been a part of for years. If Cleveland is hoping to compete for the next few years, it needs a quarterback. Ryan would do well in its offense. However, Ryan may not want to play in the defense-heavy AFC North and in Cleveland’s absolutely miserable weather.
Other landing spots
Ryan could be of interest to some other teams, however, those appear exceedingly unlikely. He has strong connections to Kyle Shanahan in San Francisco and Mike McDaniel in Miami. Both coaches have somewhat unsettled quarterback situations but not likely to the point of trading valuable draft capital. The Giants need a quarterback but also a significant number of other pieces. There are few other plausible teams interested in trading for a veteran quarterback.