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.