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 Post subject: Why The Falcons Should Extend Ryan ASAP
PostPosted: Thu Jun 14, 2012 10:52 am 
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Why The Falcons Should Extend Ryan ASAP
June 14th, 2012 Aaron Freeman


The Falcons have a small window of opportunity to get a relative bargain deal by extending Ryan as soon as possible. But once Drew Brees signs his extension with the Saints, that window could potentially slam shut.

Matt Ryan has two years left on his contract, having been signed through 2013. He signed an initial six-year, $72 million deal as a rookie in 2008. Any extension he signs from this point on is almost certainly going to surpass that figure. But the Falcons could potentially save themselves a few million by signing Ryan as soon as possible.

Ryan is represented by the same agent that represents Brees, Tom Condon. Condon also represents the Manning brothers, Tony Romo, Sam Bradford, Josh Freeman, and Matt Stafford. His partners at CAA in Jimmy Sexton and Ben Dogra represent Philip Rivers and Robert Griffin III, respectively. Collectively, they represent a who’s who of top NFL quarterbacks, making it such that they are often competing with themselves to top each other with subsequent contracts.

Currently, the highest-paid quarterbacks in the league are Peyton Manning and Tom Brady. Manning signed a five-year $96 million deal this past March with the Broncos. It only includes $18 million in guaranteed money currently, but that could increase to $60 million depending on Manning’s health come 2013. Brady signed a four-year extension just prior to the 2010 season that was worth $72 million and included $48.5 million in guaranteed money. Another noteworthy deal was signed by Sam Bradford in the same summer that was worth $78 million over six years, including $50 million guaranteed.

Brees’ deal is expected to be on the plus-side of $18 million per year, with many reports indicating he’s looking for a deal that averages slightly over $20 million per year. The expectation is that his guaranteed money will be north of $50 million, and potentially matching or exceeding the potential $60 million of Manning’s deal.

If Brees does eventually get the contract he wants, then it’s going to push Ryan’s deal up even more. Ryan’s deal isn’t going to exceed that of Brees, but if Brees is able to push the ceiling for QB contracts up higher, it will have a trickle-down effect that will make all subsequent deals higher.

Eli Manning signed a six-year, $97.5 million deal in August 2009 with $35.5 million in guaranteed money. Given that Ryan received roughly the same amount in guaranteed money ($34.75 million) in 2008, means that it’s likely that will be the biggest part of any potential new deal that will increase. If Brees’ deal lands on the plus-side of $50 million in terms of guaranteed money, that too will push up Ryan’s deal. If a deal is signed now, it’s conceivable that any guaranteed portion of Ryan’s deal would not exceed Brady’s $48.5 million.

Another factor in the potential negotiations is the fact that Joe Flacco is looking for an extension. Flacco is entering the final year of his contract, and his agent Joe Linta is looking to make him one of the highest paid quarterbacks in the league on par with Brady. It remains to be seen if he can get such a deal from the Ravens, but it’s likely that Condon will want Ryan’s deal to exceed that of Flacco’s, once again potentially raising the price.

One also has to remember that Aaron Rodgers signed a six-year $65 million deal back in 2008. And a Super Bowl win and MVP later, he is likely poised to get an extension in the very near future before his deal expires after the 2014 season. Similarly to the case with Brees, if that happens before Ryan signs, it’s going to push up the market.

Becoming a free agent in the same year as Ryan potentially is Tony Romo, another Condon client. Romo a six-year, $67 million deal in 2007 with $30 million guaranteed. If he gets a deal done within the next 12 months, that too could push Ryan’s deal up further.

Some would question whether Ryan deserves to get a big-money extension given the fact that the team has yet to win a playoff game with him at the helm. But in reality, the lack of postseason success is a good thing for the Falcons, at least as far as Arthur Blank’s wallet is concerned. It gives Condon less leverage at the negotiation table because of the success of others. If Ryan does manage to lead the Falcons to a postseason win in 2012, then his price tag is going to only go up.

I think the reason why you also re-sign Ryan is similar to why it made sense for the Giants to give Manning that extension back in 2009. The fact remains that while Ryan may not be an elite quarterback, there is only a finite amount of players that are better than him. And finding a quarterback of that skill level is extremely hard to do, just ask the majority of the NFL teams that wished they had a quarterback like Ryan.

With Manning, when you look back over the past seven years since he came into the league, how many quarterbacks have entered that have been better than him? Rivers and Roethlisberger were from the same class, so they potentially count. Rodgers? OK. Who else is definitively better than Manning? Nobody. In the five years since he was drafted before he got his extension, only three players were better than him, and when you extend that to the seven years that number really doesn’t change.

Since Ryan has been drafted, who is better? Stafford? Newton? I’ll let you have that, if you’re going to measure purely off potential. I’ll even let you throw Andrew Luck and RG3′s names into the hat. Heck, you can even choose Virginia Tech’s Logan Thomas who many think has Newton-esque potential for the 2013 Draft. So that means over the course of five drafts since Ryan was taken, you have five quarterbacks that you can make the case are better than him. That’s one player per year, and notice every single of one of them was taken either first or second overall, assuming Thomas will also follow suit.

The point I’m trying to get across is that the odds that you find a player that is definitively better than Matt Ryan comes down to perhaps one prospect per season that requires you to be one of the worst teams in the league to be in a position to get. I don’t know about you, but I don’t foresee the Falcons being one of the worst teams in the league. In fact, the only possible way I could envision that happening is if what happened to the Colts in 2011 happened in Atlanta, where Ryan was lost for a year and Chris Redman proved to be a Doug Johnson/Curtis Painter-esque disaster. Which if that were the case, only again highlights how good a player Ryan is.

So even if you don’t think Ryan is ever going to be an elite quarterback, he’s still a lot better than most, and the odds that you can upgrade the position without losing a lot of games in the process are extremely low. So it behooves the Falcons to marry themselves to Matt Ryan for another five or six years on that fact alone regardless of what sort of success he does or does not have in 2012. And if you look to where Ryan could be potentially three years from now, looking back it’s going to be a no-brainer to give him a long-term deal. Similarly to how the Giants Super Bowl win vindicates their deal with Manning three years ago, one that was controversial at the time.

And if Ryan was to sign on the dotted line before the 2012 season commences, you can probably get a relative bargain. I’m thinking that you could potentially get him at a deal that averages around $17 million per year, and includes guaranteed money that doesn’t exceed $45 million. Even waiting nine months to see how the 2012 season plays out, I think could potentially push that to $18 or $19 million per year, and guaranteed money that surpasses $50 million. It’s not a huge difference, but roughly $15 million you can save yourself over the next five years is worthwhile. Especially with a new stadium on the horizon, and pinching pennies wherever possible is going to help Arthur Blank keep ticket prices down.

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 Post subject: Re: Why The Falcons Should Extend Ryan ASAP
PostPosted: Thu Jun 14, 2012 12:18 pm 
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Well written article, I agree if you were to extend him within the next three months then you could get him for a lot cheaper than if you were to wait until the end of the season. Since he has been here he has improved upon his previous stats every year and with him putting up career highs in yards and TDs I dont see how he cant improve upon those numbers in the upcoming season. The last thing you want to do is go into negotiations with a player coming off career highs.

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 Post subject: Re: Why The Falcons Should Extend Ryan ASAP
PostPosted: Thu Jun 14, 2012 12:56 pm 
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Reezy The Savior wrote:
Well written article, I agree if you were to extend him within the next three months then you could get him for a lot cheaper than if you were to wait until the end of the season. Since he has been here he has improved upon his previous stats every year and with him putting up career highs in yards and TDs I dont see how he cant improve upon those numbers in the upcoming season. The last thing you want to do is go into negotiations with a player coming off career highs.


Agree. Ryan has proven he can win in the regular season. Ryan can win in the post season. There is no reason why he can't. Resigning him a year early is kind of a roll of the dice, but the odds are certainly in favor of Ryan continuing to win in the regular season and postseason as well.


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 Post subject: Re: Why The Falcons Should Extend Ryan ASAP
PostPosted: Thu Jun 14, 2012 3:21 pm 
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AngryJohnny51 wrote:
Reezy The Savior wrote:
Well written article, I agree if you were to extend him within the next three months then you could get him for a lot cheaper than if you were to wait until the end of the season. Since he has been here he has improved upon his previous stats every year and with him putting up career highs in yards and TDs I dont see how he cant improve upon those numbers in the upcoming season. The last thing you want to do is go into negotiations with a player coming off career highs.


Agree. Ryan has proven he can win in the regular season. Ryan can win in the post season. There is no reason why he can't. Resigning him a year early is kind of a roll of the dice, but the odds are certainly in favor of Ryan continuing to win in the regular season and postseason as well.



well, playing advocate devil, what if....

Ryan does not even make the playoffs this year? If that occurs, following the logic put forth by Pudgemeister, then wouldn't he get less (much less) if we resigned him in 2013 then if we did it now?

I wouldn't gamble on it, as I think he can at least win the division with the Saints issues....

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 Post subject: Re: Why The Falcons Should Extend Ryan ASAP
PostPosted: Thu Jun 14, 2012 3:31 pm 
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If you could save a ton, I'd do it. But if it's just to save 1M to 2M per year, I'd likely see how he plays in Koetter's system first. Make sure he's a top 8 guy, not a 15-20 guy (even though I think he's the former.)

It's another reason I wish they'd geared the offense toward him. If they'd run a NE-esque offense for 2 years, and Ryan was still struggling...you would have seen the best he could offer, and you might make the case it is better to tag and trade him (likely to one of those early pickers) to start again. If he'd performed as I expect he would have, it'd be a no brainer to sign him. But, as it is, you haven't gathered more info, so you almost have to sign him and hope.


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 Post subject: Re: Why The Falcons Should Extend Ryan ASAP
PostPosted: Thu Jun 14, 2012 3:39 pm 
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fun gus wrote:
AngryJohnny51 wrote:
Reezy The Savior wrote:
Well written article, I agree if you were to extend him within the next three months then you could get him for a lot cheaper than if you were to wait until the end of the season. Since he has been here he has improved upon his previous stats every year and with him putting up career highs in yards and TDs I dont see how he cant improve upon those numbers in the upcoming season. The last thing you want to do is go into negotiations with a player coming off career highs.


Agree. Ryan has proven he can win in the regular season. Ryan can win in the post season. There is no reason why he can't. Resigning him a year early is kind of a roll of the dice, but the odds are certainly in favor of Ryan continuing to win in the regular season and postseason as well.



well, playing advocate devil, what if....

Ryan does not even make the playoffs this year? If that occurs, following the logic put forth by Pudgemeister, then wouldn't he get less (much less) if we resigned him in 2013 then if we did it now?

I wouldn't gamble on it, as I think he can at least win the division with the Saints issues....


Putting myself in Ryan's shoes, if he does step back this year, not make the playoffs, or gets injured and misses most of the season, no one can hold a gun to his head and make him sign a low-ball offer. If I was Ryan I'd roll the dice myself and play out my contract year and let the chips fall where they may.

That being said, I understand that there is no loyalty in football any more. It's a business. But I do have a feeling that management is committed to Ryan and Ryan is committed to the Falcons. That certainly bodes well for contract talks. (If you want Ryan signed long term, which I am on board with)


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 Post subject: Re: Why The Falcons Should Extend Ryan ASAP
PostPosted: Thu Jun 14, 2012 5:41 pm 
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Honestly right now there are only three (Rodgers, Manning, and Brady) QBs that I would rather have than Ryan and when you look at Age and upside and injury history that list goes to two (Brady and Rodgers). So I am all for signing him longterm.

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 Post subject: Re: Why The Falcons Should Extend Ryan ASAP
PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2012 8:56 am 
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Reezy The Savior wrote:
Honestly right now there are only three (Rodgers, Manning, and Brady) QBs that I would rather have than Ryan and when you look at Age and upside and injury history that list goes to two (Brady and Rodgers). So I am all for signing him longterm.


Good point Reezy. It's safe to say that Ryan will never be a Rodgers, Brady or a Manning. But there are some bad, bad QB's in this league starting for other teams. Ryan isn't elite.....and elite quarterbacks don't come around very often. But he is tier 1 and will be for many years to come.


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 Post subject: Re: Why The Falcons Should Extend Ryan ASAP
PostPosted: Tue Jun 19, 2012 12:01 am 
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I'd Wait!! If he has a good year I'd just pay him; but I'm not positive he's going to stay first tier; he's always had Turner to win games for him.

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 Post subject: Re: Why The Falcons Should Extend Ryan ASAP
PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2012 1:40 pm 
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You all need to ask yourselves a few questions... Is anyone better than Ryan going to be available in free agency in the next few years? If any are available, would they want to come to play for the conservative coaches in Atlanta? Are the Falcons going to screw up so badly that they'll be able to draft a top QB prospect any time in the next few years? Would that prospect be better than Ryan?

The answer to all of these questions is no. As such, we should lock Ryan up for as long as we can, for as little money as possible.


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 Post subject: Re: Why The Falcons Should Extend Ryan ASAP
PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2012 1:53 pm 
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RobertAP wrote:
You all need to ask yourselves a few questions... Is anyone better than Ryan going to be available in free agency in the next few years? If any are available, would they want to come to play for the conservative coaches in Atlanta? Are the Falcons going to screw up so badly that they'll be able to draft a top QB prospect any time in the next few years? Would that prospect be better than Ryan?

The answer to all of these questions is no. As such, we should lock Ryan up for as long as we can, for as little money as possible.


The other alternative, Rob, (and this comes from a guy who thinks Ryan can be the guy) is to tag and trade him, to a team picking in the top 10. That way you don't have to be horrible, and can still get a top QB. You think a lot of these teams wouldn't rather have a proven 28 yr old than an unknown rookie? Especially one, like a Sean Peyton type, or McDaniels type, who thinks he can plug Ryan into a different system and have him be a much better QB than he currently is.

They should have given him the 5 weapon offense and let him be a distributor and see how good he could actually be here. Proof is in the testing, and if you don't set up the test, you never know. The logic to trading him would be that you know you can keep winning 9-10 games a year with him and losing in the playoffs, and a new QB could either make you a 6-7 win team, or an 11-12 win team capable of winning the playoffs. And then you'd just have to decide if you're willing to make that gamble.


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 Post subject: Re: Why The Falcons Should Extend Ryan ASAP
PostPosted: Mon Jul 16, 2012 12:33 pm 
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Brees will help Ryan, Freeman, Newton
July, 16, 2012
Jul 16
11:20
AM ET
By Pat Yasinskas | ESPN.com

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When New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees signed a five-year contract that averages $20 million a season, Atlanta’s Matt Ryan, Tampa Bay’s Josh Freeman and Carolina’s Cam Newton each fell a rung on the ladder of average salaries for NFL quarterbacks.

They probably all smiled. Despite their temporary tumbles, all three will benefit from Brees’ new deal at some point.

Average Salary Per Season
Quarterback Avg. Salary Expires
Brees $20 million 2016
Ryan $11.25 million 2013
Newton $5.506 million 2014
Freeman $5.24 million 2013
Brees passed Peyton Manning’s previous league-high average of $19.2 million. He’s also $1.8 million ahead of Tom Brady and nearly $4 million ahead of Eli Manning. No quarterback is going to benefit more than Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers. He’s been averaging a relatively meager $12.7 million a season and it’s already well known that he’ll have an extension coming sooner rather than later. When Rodgers' extension comes, look for his average per year to be worth as much or more than what Brees got.

Rodgers has similar statistics, a lot of victories and is a lot younger than Brees. Obviously, not every quarterback is as good as Rodgers, Brees, Peyton Manning or Brady. But every quarterback who gets a contract extension going forward is going to get more money than he would have before because the salary bar has been raised significantly.

Ryan is tied for No. 14 at $11.25 million per year. You can argue whether Ryan is truly elite, but I feel pretty confident in saying he’s better than the 14th-best quarterback in the league. There already have been some rumblings that the Falcons would like to get a contract extension done with him sooner rather than wait until his current deal runs out in 2013.

If they do it soon, I look at the list and don’t think it’s a stretch for Ryan to be in the top five when it comes to average salary per year. Philadelphia’s Michael Vick is No. 5 at $16 million per year. I think Ryan’s a better quarterback and has a better future than Vick. Funny, but the Falcons already reached a similar conclusion back in 2008, when they drafted Ryan to take over for Vick.

If the Falcons wait until after this season to work an extension, they run the risk of Ryan driving up the price tag. His statistics have improved steadily and the only knock is that he hasn’t won a postseason game. Suppose this is the year Ryan suddenly wins some postseason games, maybe even a Super Bowl? Then, the price tag suddenly jumps closer to $20 million a season.

Freeman’s contract also is up after the 2013 season. He’s averaging $5.24 million a season (No. 22 overall). There was some talk early last year that the Bucs would try to extend Freeman after a very strong 2010 season. That didn’t happen and Freeman and the Bucs took several big steps back last year. It might be wise for the Bucs to wait a bit and see how Freeman is fitting in with the new system brought by coach Greg Schiano. But the coaching staff already sounds like it’s very high on Freeman. If he gets off to a fast start, I say go ahead and try to sign Freeman to a deal that averages $10 million to $12 million a year. If they wait an entire season and Freeman truly does bounce back, he could be looking at somewhere around $15 million.

Then there’s Newton. He’s No. 21 at $5.506 million. The Panthers caught a bit of a break last season when they drafted Newton No. 1 overall and new limits went into place on what rookies can earn on their first contract. Newton’s current deal runs through 2014. That means there’s no rush to extend him. But let’s say Newton goes out this season and improves on a stellar rookie season -- and Carolina plays a little defense and wins a few more games. Then Newton becomes one of those players who eventually could be looking at $20 million or more per season.

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