Matt Ryan: Colts trade for veteran QB from Falcons


The Indianapolis Colts could have discovered one other short-term reply at quarterback by buying and selling for Matt Ryan.

How for much longer the soon-to-be 37-year-old, four-time Professional Bowler sticks round isn’t clear.

On Monday, Indy acquired the 2016 NFL MVP from Atlanta for a third-round decide on this yr’s draft (No. 82 general).

The Falcons wasted no time discovering Ryan’s doable substitute — asserting they’d signed free agent Marcus Mariota to a two-year contract.

For Indy, the deal completes a two-week seek for a successor to Carson Wentz, who was traded to the Washington Commanders after only one season with the Colts.

For Indianapolis normal supervisor Chris Ballard, it is also the most recent try to plug a gap created by Andrew Luck’s shock retirement at age 29 simply earlier than the beginning of the 2018 season.

“Matt’s management and talent set will complement our roster’s progress and success,” Ballard stated. “He’s lengthy been an incredible ambassador for the NFL and the Atlanta Falcons, and we’re excited he can proceed his completed profession in Indianapolis.”

For the Falcons, it was the tip of an period.

Ryan had began all however three video games for the workforce since he was drafted No. 3 general in 2008, main Atlanta to solely the second Tremendous Bowl look in franchise historical past.

His destiny was successfully sealed when the Falcons made an ill-fated bid for Deshaun Watson as their new quarterback.

“Matt Ryan has been the epitome of a franchise quarterback,” workforce proprietor Arthur Clean stated. “It’s troublesome to overstate what he has meant to me personally, our group, his teammates and our followers.”

However the Falcons determined to maneuver on with a significant rebuilding job that was solely made harder by Ryan’s onerous contract, which was restructured a number of occasions in recent times because the workforce stored pushing a troublesome determination down the highway with out drafting a doable successor.

The Falcons will carry a roughly US$40 million cap cost in lifeless cash this season, whereas Ryan’s wage cap hit for the Colts is a reported $23.75 million in 2022, rising to $28 million if he is nonetheless on the workforce subsequent yr.

“This enterprise isn’t with out its troublesome selections,” Clean stated in a press release. “Whereas this is likely one of the most troublesome selections we’ve confronted as a membership, we really feel it’s in the perfect long-term pursuits of each the Atlanta Falcons and Matt Ryan.”

Ryan will develop into the sixth quarterback to begin in Week 1 for the Colts in six years, including his title to an inventory that already consists of Scott Tolzien, Luck, Jacoby Brissett, Philip Rivers and Wentz.

He joins a franchise during which vice chairman Invoice Polian as soon as stated he thought-about Ryan probably the most related participant within the league to Peyton Manning.

The Falcons put themselves in fairly a bind with their pursuit of Watson, surrendering the long-time face of the franchise for a single, second-day draft decide.

As quickly as they made a pitch to amass the embattled Houston quarterback, it turned clear Ryan wouldn’t need to return to a workforce the place he had performed his whole NFL profession that then overtly tried to interchange him.

Watson supposedly narrowed his potential selections for a commerce to New Orleans and Atlanta — with hypothesis the Falcons have been the favorite as a result of Watson is a Georgia native. However he modified his thoughts and accepted a $230 million, absolutely assured cope with the Cleveland Browns, who despatched three first-round picks to the Texans within the deal.

Ryan is undoubtedly the best quarterback in Falcons historical past, arriving from Boston Faculty at a pivotal second to interchange Michael Vick. He steadied a franchise rocked by coach Bobby Petrino’s departure after 13 video games and Vick’s imprisonment for operating a dogfighting ring.

With Ryan taking on the offence because the starter from Day 1, the Falcons rebounded from a 4-12 mark in 2007 to make the playoffs in his rookie marketing campaign — the primary of 5 consecutive profitable seasons and three postseason journeys. Till Ryan’s arrival, Atlanta had by no means even managed back-to-back profitable seasons since becoming a member of the NFL as an enlargement workforce in 1966.

After a number of down years for the workforce, Ryan turned in his best season in 2016, throwing for a career-best 4,944 yards with 38 touchdowns. Atlanta appeared headed for its first Tremendous Bowl crown when it constructed a 28-3 lead over the New England Patriots by late within the third quarter, solely to see Tom Brady engineer the best comeback in title recreation historical past for a 34-28 additional time victory.

What the Colts are getting in Ryan is a mannequin of consistency — one thing they’ve lacked following the retirements of Luck and Rivers and the departures of Tolzien, Brissett and Wentz. Ryan has two seasons left on his present contract and the Colts are well-positioned to soak up the wage cap hits every season.

“I’ve lengthy admired Matt for his regular, methodical method to the sport,” Colts coach Frank Reich stated. “He is likely one of the best quarterbacks within the league and has spearheaded quite a few fourth-quarter game-winning drives.”

Ryan posted 10 straight seasons with greater than 4,000 passing yards till simply lacking the mark final yr with 3,968. He has thrown for at the least 20 touchdowns yearly of his profession, totalling 367 in his profession with 170 interceptions. And he has missed solely three begins in his 14-year profession.

His 59,735 profession passing yards are No. 8 in NFL historical past, and he’ll probably cross Dan Marino (61,361) for the No. 7 spot on the record subsequent season.

Though the Falcons made yet one more playoff look with Ryan, in 2017, they by no means appeared to get well from the gorgeous collapse on the NFL’s greatest stage. Atlanta has since endured 4 straight shedding seasons, together with a 7-10 mark final yr, and has a number of large holes to fill.

“As we’ve stated since we’ve began, we’re at all times evaluating and searching for alternatives to enhance our workforce for the long run,” stated Arthur Smith, who’s heading into his second season because the Falcons coach. “This transfer is one other step in that and we’re wanting ahead to the long run.”

Mariota joins the little-used Feleipe Franks as the one quarterbacks on Atlanta’s roster. Tennessee took Mariota with the No. 2 general draft decide in 2015, however the 28-year-old performed sparingly over the previous two seasons as a backup to Derek Carr with the Las Vegas Raiders.

Mariota misplaced his beginning job with the Titans after going 29-32 document in 5 seasons. He’ll apparently get an opportunity to resurrect his profession with the Falcons, who’re additionally more likely to pursue a long-term resolution within the draft despite the fact that this isn’t thought-about a powerful QB class.

Ryan by no means publicly criticized the Falcons or demanded a commerce after their courting of Watson, however it was obvious his days in Atlanta have been accomplished.

“This was a troublesome determination, however it was made simpler by Matt’s professionalism and understanding all through,” second-year normal supervisor Terry Fontenot stated.

It was a jarring week for town of Atlanta, which had simply gone by means of the World Sequence champion Braves chopping ties with first baseman Freddie Freeman, Main League Baseball’s 2020 MVP, after a 12-year stint. He signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Now, Ryan is gone, too.


AP Nationwide Author Paul Newberry in Atlanta contributed to this report.

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