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 Post subject: Keeping Ryan could cost nearly $140 million
PostPosted: Tue Mar 05, 2013 1:47 pm 
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ON THE FALCONS BEAT
Keeping Ryan could cost nearly $140 million
Falcons are preparing to retain their franchise quarterback


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By D. Orlando Ledbetter
FLOWERY BRANCH —Falcons owner Arthur Blank has walked down this gilded path before.

Back in 2004, he made Michael Vick the highest-paid player in the league with a 10-year $130 million contract.

Nine years later, the Falcons have closely monitored how Joe Flacco’s contract situation has played out in Baltimore.

Flacco, a quarterback from Delaware who was selected 15 picks after Matt Ryan in the 2008 draft, became the NFL’s highest paid player on Monday when he signed a six-year $120.6 million contract. A total of $52 million is guaranteed, the second-highest guarantee of any quarterback in history.

Ryan is set to enter the final year of the six-year, $72 million contract he signed in May of 2008. He had $34.75 million of his original contract guaranteed.

“It’s yet another comparable and data point for Matt Ryan,” said Andrew Brandt, ESPN’s NFL business analyst and former chief negotiator for the Green Bay Packers. “The gold standard was Drew Brees, at least on the average at $20 million (per season). Now, you have $20.1 million. It’s certainly a place they could look at as the freshest data point.”

When the time is right, Ryan appears set to join Flacco in the $100 million club.

“He should average at least $21 million, $22 million or $23 million,” said Joel Corry, a former sports agent who covers football business for the nationalfootballpost.com.

Under Corry’s forecast, a six-year deal for Ryan would fall somewhere between $126 million and $138 million with more that $60 million of it guaranteed.

Corry noted that Ryan is represented by Tom Condon of Creative Artists Agency. Condon also represents several of the league’s top quarterbacks including Peyton and Eli Manning, Matthew Stafford, Drew Brees, Robert Griffin III and Philip Rivers.

“The guaranteed money and what your first three years of compensation (is) the most important issue,” said Corry, who received his bachelor’s degree in finance from Emory. “I expect Matt Ryan to exceed $60 million in guarantees. He’s probably going to be at $65 million-plus over the first three years. That wouldn’t surprise me.”

The Falcons are trying to figure out how best to handle Ryan’s contract and craft his salary cap numbers in a way that will allow for the team to take on younger talent and remain highly competitive.

There is no internal debate about Ryan’s worth to the franchise.

“He’s our franchise guy that we’re very proud of, on and off the field,” Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff said. “Matt’s what we’ve been looking for in a quarterback.”

Head coach Mike Smith is also a staunch supporter.

“With quarterbacks, there are a couple of things that they are judged by and one is winning games,” Smith said. “Matt has done an outstanding job for us throughout his entire five years.”

Ryan and Flacco are inexorably linked. In addition to being selected in the same draft, they both started off as rookies who guided their teams to the playoffs.

Ryan has a 56-22 regular-season record. He’s led the Falcons to the playoffs in four of his five seasons and has won two NFC South titles. However, he’s 1-4 in the playoffs.

Flacco, with a much better defense, has enjoyed greater success in the postseason, leading the Ravens to the Super Bowl title in February.

Flacco has a 54-26 regular-season record. He’s taken the Ravens to the playoffs in each of the five past seasons and has a 9-4 postseason record.

Because of Ryan and Flacco’s early success, teams are starting to play quarterbacks earlier in their careers instead of letting them serve an apprenticeship on the sidelines with a clipboard.

The Falcons don’t comment about specific player negotiations, but have acknowledged that they plan to retain Ryan’s services.

“Every team is different, but if you’ve got a marquee quarterback, (a big contract) comes with the territory,” Corry said. “It seems like if you don’t have a marquee quarterback, you’re not going to win a Super Bowl or be in position to win one anyway. So, it’s kind of a nice problem to have to a degree.”

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 Post subject: Re: Keeping Ryan could cost nearly $140 million
PostPosted: Tue Mar 05, 2013 6:15 pm 
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I understand that Ryan could break the bank with the Falcons if he so chooses, but my question is why would he if he knows he could take a little less and get more talent around him? I was not surprised Flacco came out with a contract like that be cause he strikes me as the type of guy that would be all about his benjis.

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 Post subject: Re: Keeping Ryan could cost nearly $140 million
PostPosted: Tue Mar 05, 2013 8:05 pm 
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I think it's two-fold. His agent is going to want to push for having the biggest contract ever. But i think like Flacco's deal, it makes sense for the Falcons to try to structure it in a way that is beneficial. Flacco's deal is basically a 3-yr. $60 million deal, not a 6-yr. $120.6 million. His contract will need to be redone in 3 years. He may make more money, or he may make less. But he has the biggest contract ever given, but it is not killing the Ravens because that back $60 million they're not going to wind up paying. They might wind up paying more when they re-do the deal, but essentially you're buying yourself 3 or 4 years and then re-evaluate.

I would imagine the Falcons will treat Ryan the same. I think given the rest of the roster, I think you want to make sure that Ryan is here through at least 2015. And then come 2016, re-do the deal.

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 Post subject: Re: Keeping Ryan could cost nearly $140 million
PostPosted: Tue Mar 05, 2013 8:13 pm 
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Pudge wrote:
I think it's two-fold. His agent is going to want to push for having the biggest contract ever. But i think like Flacco's deal, it makes sense for the Falcons to try to structure it in a way that is beneficial. Flacco's deal is basically a 3-yr. $60 million deal, not a 6-yr. $120.6 million. His contract will need to be redone in 3 years. He may make more money, or he may make less. But he has the biggest contract ever given, but it is not killing the Ravens because that back $60 million they're not going to wind up paying. They might wind up paying more when they re-do the deal, but essentially you're buying yourself 3 or 4 years and then re-evaluate.

I would imagine the Falcons will treat Ryan the same. I think given the rest of the roster, I think you want to make sure that Ryan is here through at least 2015. And then come 2016, re-do the deal.


Having to re-do his deal in 2016 is scary seeing as we will have to make a decision on Roddy White and we will have to pay Julio Jones.

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 Post subject: Re: Keeping Ryan could cost nearly $140 million
PostPosted: Tue Mar 05, 2013 8:50 pm 
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I don't see Roddy coming back in 2015. I think you're about Julio, as if he continues on his upward path over the next 2 years, he'll be another $100 million receiver. That's why if Julio does improve this year, the Falcons will be smart to lock him up sooner rather than later, as they could potentially get him for relative bargain ($12M/yr.?) rather than waiting 2 years and he may want something closer to $20M/yr.

But you're right, the Falcons do need to consider the big extensions that are coming for Spoon next year and then Julio perhaps a year later. The Falcons will be in a position to lock up some of their key players starting with Willy Mo this off-season, and then everything will just boil down to drafting well. Maybe push Ryan's renegotiation until 2017. That way Arthur can decide if he wants the Mattural to open up the new stadium.

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 Post subject: Re: Keeping Ryan could cost nearly $140 million
PostPosted: Thu Mar 07, 2013 11:56 pm 
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I'm hoping that Ryan, will look at Tom Brady, and consider what will be around him and his legacy when making his demands. By leaving a few million on the table he will enable the Falcons to surround him with talent and perhaps guaruntee him years as a winner. The other option is he bleeds us and possibly ends up as the next Carson Palmer. I hope he chooses the former.

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 Post subject: Re: Keeping Ryan could cost nearly $140 million
PostPosted: Fri Mar 08, 2013 2:34 am 
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[quote="DaveWaz"]
I'm hoping that Ryan, will look at Tom Brady, and consider what will be around him and his legacy when making his demands.[/quote[
Yeah that's never gonna happen Dave. If that was going to be the case, then maybe the Falcons should have played harder ball when he was a rookie rather than paying him the biggest contract ever given to a rookie player in NFL history as the 3rd overall pick.

His agent is Tom Condon, who is in the biggest of getting max deals for QBs. Brady, Flacco, and Luck are pretty much the only high profile QBs that he or one of his 2 main partners at CAA don't rep. Look, and the Patriots purposefully avoid Condon-repped players because of past issues with him.

But don't give Brady too much credit. He signed a 4-yr. $72M extension in 2010 with $48.5 million guaranteed. Then he signed this 3-yr. extension worth $27M with $24M of it guaranteed. So when you factor that in, Brady has essentially negotiated a 7-yr. deal worth $99M with $72.5M in guarantees.

What hopefully will happen is Ryan will get this landmark deal, and then in 3 or 4 years, he'll renegotiate. But instead of signing a brand new deal, it'll be extension and they'll do what the Pats have done with Brady over the years, and just add more years and moved around money to give the team immediate relief. Assuming Ryan lives up to his end of the bargain, then it's possible that Ryan could wind up playing another 3 or 4 and then getting another extension for a couple more years and have an end similar to Brady.

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 Post subject: Re: Keeping Ryan could cost nearly $140 million
PostPosted: Fri Mar 08, 2013 11:17 pm 
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I was listening to Sirius NFL radio today and Scott Pioli had an interesting take on these big money contracts. He pondered if teams and players were forgetting that the salary cap under the new deal is barely going up. If the qb contracts keep going up, that means cuts are going to have to come from somewhere else. If ryan makes $20 million a year, we will have one guy taking up 1/6th of our salary cap. While Ryan is very good, I don't think he is worth that percentage of our teams cap. I'm worried that Arthur will cave and go huge with the contract not considering what it will do to the rest of the roster.

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 Post subject: Re: Keeping Ryan could cost nearly $140 million
PostPosted: Sat Mar 09, 2013 2:56 am 
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Well Ryan is probably never going to count more than $12-15 million against our cap in any year. You don't see very many QBs that have cap hits exceeding $17-18 million, unless they are at that Peyton Manning truly elite QB-level.

The other factor is that the cap is expected to go up quite a bit in or after 2014. We'll see if it will.

But if/when Ryan's cap hit becomes too outrageous, it'll be tweaked. The issue for the Falcons I don't think is Ryan's money, but basically getting a core group of guys that will be the highly paid guys on the team, and then we just draft around them. It's similar to the Colts, with Manning, Dallas Clark, Marvin Harrison, Freeney, Mathis, Brackett, etc.

Right now, we have Ryan, Julio Jones, and soon Spoon, Moore (?), will be added to that. We need a couple more players on both sides of the ball.

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 Post subject: Re: Keeping Ryan could cost nearly $140 million
PostPosted: Sat Mar 09, 2013 2:39 pm 
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Per what I heard yesterday, Pioli states the cap for 13 and 14 will only be $1 million higher that 12 in his opinion. He also said putting all teams together, for the 2014 season the league as a whole is on average $9 million over the cap already. He says the NFLPA is putting misinformation out regarding the cap going up, and that they are misinterpreting the agreement.

He could be wrong, but if he's right there are going to be cuts galore next year and dozens of veterans playing for the minimum that aren't expecting it now. I'm hoping we are being conservative now, as I want to see us as a contender year in and year out.

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 Post subject: Re: Keeping Ryan could cost nearly $140 million
PostPosted: Sat Mar 09, 2013 3:31 pm 
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I don't know. I'm going off what was said when the CBA was signed back in '11. There was originally an expectation that the cap would make a big jump up after 2014 with the new TV deals.

Here's report from last March which is in line with what Pioli is saying:

http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/20 ... h-in-2014/

Here's one from last June saying the cap would be flat through 2015, with the spike coming in 2016:

http://www.sportsbusinessdaily.com/Jour ... L-cap.aspx

Here's AP report from last week saying that new TV contracts should boost 2015 cap, not 2014:

http://espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/id/90007 ... 23-million



:?:

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