Atlanta Falcons Choose Wrong Time To Give Matt Ryan An Extension

Matt Ryan

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Falcons made a mistake by signing starting quarterback Matt Ryan to a contract extension on Thursday. Signing quarterbacks to ludicrous extensions has been all the rage in the NFL this offseason, as Joe Flacco, Tony Romo, Aaron Rodgers and Matthew Stafford all signed extensions with their current teams, but the Falcons did not make a smart move by jumping on the bandwagon and locking up Ryan for another half decade.

The first reason why this is a mistake is timing. The Falcons are a team that’s getting old and their window to make a serious run at a Super Bowl is nearly closed, if it isn’t already with last year’s NFC Championship Game loss to the up-and-coming San Francisco 49ers, a younger and more talented team. Atlanta has had a nice run over the last five seasons with Ryan at quarterback and Mike Smith as the head coach, but they have just one playoff victory over that span. This could be their last chance to be serious contenders in the NFC, so it may not make much sense to commit right now to a quarterback for the long run.

Another reason why this is the wrong time to sign Ryan to an extension is the mold of NFL quarterbacks may be in the midst of changing to a mold into which Ryan doesn’t fit. If quarterbacks like Colin Kaepernick, Russell Wilson and Robert Griffin III continue to excel, athletic quarterbacks will become more prevalent in the NFL and further take over the league, leaving the Falcons stuck with a pocket passer like Ryan while having to compete in the NFC against teams with stellar young signal-callers like the three previously mentioned.

Furthermore, Ryan has yet to prove that he is one of the elite pocket passers in the league. He has led the Falcons to over 50 wins and two division titles during his five-year career, but he has delivered just one playoff win. One postseason win in five years, regardless of the impressive statistics Ryan has put up during that time, is not enough to commit five more years to a quarterback.

The Falcons would have been wise to wait longer before committing to Ryan. He may have the best wide receiver tandem in the league at his disposal, but after the 2013 season, Atlanta will have a lot of work to do in rebuilding the rest of the team, which may not make competing for a spot in the Super Bowl feasible for a few years. Also, they still don’t know if Ryan is capable of carrying them to the Super Bowl, and they don’t know if Ryan is the type of quarterback on which they should be relying to take them there.

Just because four other teams signed their quarterbacks to extensions doesn’t mean it was the right time for the Falcons to do it too. Whether or not Ryan deserved the extension is still debatable, which means it’s unknown if this was the best move for the Falcons in the long run. Timing is everything, but the Falcons just made the wrong move at the wrong time.

Bryan Zarpentine is blogger for Like him on Facebook, follow him on twitter @BZarp and add him to your network on Google.

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  • falcoholic91

    I sincerely disagree with this entire article. Matt deserves every dollar of this contract, and by making this commitment now we are building around him, as we planned to do when we took him as our franchise QB with the 3rd pick in the draft.

    Franchise QB’s aren’t easy to come by, and no one (including the author of this article) knows how long this spread-option QB “fad” might last. D-Coordinators have had a full offseason to make adjustments and learn, Roddy has showed minimal signs of slowing down, and could be a phenomenal possession receiver in the future rather than a big-play threat (a la Boldin), and Julio has barely scraped his ceiling as an elite WR who doesn’t talk smack and comes in and works as hard, if not harder, than anyone on the field.

    This team’s window isn’t closing quickly, just as that proverbial window never shut on Manning in Indy. If you have a group of elite players on both sides of the ball (Spoon, Willy Mo, and Decoud on D, Julio and Matty on the O), a smart front office (TD might be one of the best in the league), and an owner willing to put it all on the line, that window can remain open for quite a bit.

    He deserves this money NOW, so that next year, after another amazing Matty Ice season that might see the old class of QB’s decline (Brady, Manning, and Brees), leaving #2 on top of all the statistical categories with RAHHGAHSS, we aren’t forced to let our franchise QB walk in the prime of his career.

    Congrats Matt on a well-deserved extension, as you have WON MORE GAMES IN YOUR FIRST 5 YEARS THAN ANY QB HAS EVER.

    • Dave

      Thank you

  • Dave

    I am pretty sure I am not going to be the only one who says this, but in my opinion, This article is beyond ridiculous. I will list the reasons if asked for them, but frankly I don’t think at this point this article deserves my time.

    *To the writer, I really think you should do a better job of reading into stats & info before you type something like this.

  • dnuts

    whoever wrote this article kill yourself sounds like you are hating on them

    • Rick D,

      Everyone is allowed their bias heh heh….

  • Bryan Zarpentine

    I never said Ryan didn’t deserve the contract, just saying it’s bad timing on the Falcons part. I mention his impressive stats, but the postseason wins just aren’t there. I’m not hating on anyone, just expressing a different point of view.

    • Rick D,

      ….but Romo did?

      Bad timing? Let me school you in business. Say Ryan becomes the SB MVP. And then his contract is up for renewal. Do you think he would have more bargaining leverage as a SB QB than as a ‘one playoff’ winner, as you keenly point out?

      So to save a few million, you think it would be better timing for Ryan to be put up on the block to the highest bidder, than lock him in now? THAT is how you cripple a team.

      This was a common sense business transaction. Will he be worth it? Based on past performance, yes.

      And I’m confused as to who you think are ‘old’ on this team and due out any day? Gonz? Bryan? Nicholas? Bierman? Ok…and look who is grooming their future replacement. Good kickers are a phone call away.

      Look at Abe. We cut him and never looked back. Falcon’s are not going to grow older, just better. Ain’t nobody got time for that!