NFL Rumors: 3 teams who could make trade for Matt Ryan

ATLANTA, GA – OCTOBER 12: Matt Ryan #2 of the Atlanta Falcons passes against the Chicago Bears at the Georgia Dome on October 12, 2014 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)

With his future as an Atlanta Falcon now in some doubt, here are three teams who can make a case to trade for Matt Ryan.

It took the fifth loss of an 0-5 start for it to happen, but the Atlanta Falcons have fired head coach Dan Quinn and general manager Thomas Dimitroff. Now the focus will shift toward the future, and on Monday owner Arthur Blank spoke about quarterback Matt Ryan.

“I love Matt, much like I love Dan [Quinn], I love Thomas [Dimitroff],” Blank said in a press conference that featured a pool reporter asking pre-submitted questions, as to the specific topic of Ryan’s interest in playing until he’s 40. “Matt’s been a franchise leader for us. A great quarterback. One of the leading quarterbacks in the last 13 years in the NFL. So I hope he’s gonna be part of our plans going forward. But that will be a decision that I won’t make.”

Blank gets credit for letting the people he hires make the football decisions, and the new people he ultimately hires won’t have to deal with a meddling owner. Something else Blank said is interesting.

So if Ryan, 35, wants to play until he’s 40 but wants no part of a rebuild in Atlanta, he may have some say in being traded and where he goes. It’s also possible, if not likely, that a new coaching staff will want to start from scratch with a young quarterback right off the bat.

The Falcons are set to wait for that new regime to make big decisions, but the door seems to be open to deals before the deadline if a team came with a good enough offer.

There is the small matter of Ryan’s contract. After this season, he has three years left on a five-year, $150 million deal he signed in 2018. He has a $40.9 million cap hit for 2021, and if he were  cut before June 1, 2021, the Falcons would take a $49.9 million dead money hit. A trade before that date would give Atlanta a $44.4 million dead money hit for next year (a Over The Cap).

According to Spotrac, Ryan’s contract has an opt-out after 2021 that would create $26.525 million in dead money.

Another contract restructure will probably be required for Ryan to extend his stay in Atlanta, since they are in deep cap trouble looking to next year. A restructure could also help pave the way for a trade.

With all that’s in play, these three teams can make a case to trade for Ryan.

3 teams who could trade for Matt Ryan

3

Chicago Bears

The Bears are moving on from Mitch Trubisky (even if he plays again this season), and Nick Foles is not the answer long-term. With a 4-1 record right now, they might end up being just good enough to not be in position to draft one of the top quarterback prospects in the 2021 class. That’s not a good place to be in, without mentioning their cap situation in 2021.

So the Bears would have to find a way to clear a ton of cap space to make room for Ryan. Multiple contract restructurings looks like the best path to get that done. But if GM Ryan Pace is on the hot seat, in concert with head coach Matt Nagy,  some tough decisions on cuts also could come if it means adding a credible quarterback in win-now mode.

Out of desperation, a lack of patience or bad luck, the Bears never seem to make the right decision at quarterback. Adding Ryan doesn’t feel like it would be to the level of previous mistakes, and they would not necessarily be married to him past 2021 if the aforementioned contract out remains as is.

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