I don’t have any insider information, I’m just basing this information off my own logic. But I suspect the reason why the negotiations for Matt Ryan’s new blockbuster contract are looming this late in July has everything to do with the structure of the deal.
The Falcons have prioritized getting this deal done since the draft, and the hope was that this thing could get hammered out sometime in May. Then it seemed like things were picking up steam in June when talk of Richard Seymour’s imminent arrival in Atlanta started to pick up. That was because the belief was that once the Ryan deal would get done, the Falcons would then immediately sign Seymour. But then the Seymour talks broke off, and now we’re two weeks from the start of camp and no word is on the pipeline. We’re just waiting for Jay Glazer or Adam Schefter to break the news that Ryan deal is done.
But the nature of the NFL is that things don’t get done until deadlines. The Falcons still haven’t finished signing their rookies, as top pick Desmond Trufant and final pick Sean Renfree are still without contracts. Franchise free agents have until next Monday before they have to get a deal done. But technically the Falcons have no deadline for when a Ryan deal gets done. It seems like the opening of camp is a de facto deadline since I’m sure neither the Falcons nor Ryan want to have to ponder the possibility of the quarterback not showing up on July 25. Now I certainly think it’s a trillion to one shot that Ryan would ever even contemplate the possibility of holding out. But if/when Ryan first steps up to the podium in two weeks to address the media, I don’t think the first question he wants to be asked about is the progress of his contract.
So that’s why I think the Falcons probably will get something done in the next two weeks, but perhaps haven’t been going full-bore over the past four to six weeks.
But a big reason why it takes so long for these negotiations to get done is because of the sheer size of the deal. I think it’s almost a certainty that Ryan will eventually sign a five or six-year deal that averages at least $20 million per year. If the Falcons could have gotten him for significantly less than that, then I think a deal would have already been done. Given the market right now with deals signed by Joe Flacco and Aaron Rodgers, getting Ryan for even $19 million a year would be a bargain that the Falcons would have pounced all over.
I think the big issue with the contract is how much will be paid out over the first three or so years of the deal and exactly how that money gets structured.
In looking at the deals signed by Drew Brees, Joe Flacco, Aaron Rodgers, and Tony Romo over the past year, there seems to be a basic structure to how the Falcons will do their deal. I also looked at some of the recent contracts the Falcons signed with their own top-end free agents.