The holdout begins…

Well if you don’t know, our new first round pick Matt Ryan is represented by super-agent Tom Condon, who is a sort of guru among agents for quarterbacks. He represented Brady Quinn, Matt Leinart, Byron Leftwich, and Drew Brees. And what do all of these guys have in common? They all held out trying to get their contracts done.

That’s Condon’s go-to move. Hold out his player. Granted, I don’t believe Alex Smith or Eli Manning held out, but both were No. 1 picks, so neither should have held out. But if a guy is a quarterback drafted in the first round that isn’t a No. 1 pick and is repped by Condon, it seems a strong possibility that they will hold out.

This won’t earn Ryan any fans in Atlanta if (or should I say when) he holds out. Maybe we’ll get lucky and the Rams will get an early deal done with Chris Long which represents a firm ceiling for negotations with Ryan and Condon. But frankly, that seems the only way that the Falcons will get Ryan into camp on Day 1 in my book.

But the fact that Ryan doesn’t come into camp on time, may not be completely negative. Frankly, the more time he misses the less likely that he’ll be asked to play early in his career. There are some rumors among the fan base that the new brass is poised to start Ryan in Week 1. I think that’s highly doubtful, but just in case it’s not, a holdout will more than likely nix such ideas.

I’d be willing to bet if we could rank every Falcon fan based on their love for Matt Ryan, I would probably be in the top five. But despite this, I don’t want to see him starting right away. That would be a terrible decision, and would tell me that we made the wrong hire in Mike Smith if that happens. The only way Ryan should be starting early in the season is if Chris Redman and Joey Harrington are both injured, D.J. Shockley is dead, and Kordell Stewart is hospitalized getting that keloid burned off the side of his face. I like Ryan a lot, but Peyton Manning he is not. And the powers that be in Atlanta have to do everything, and I mean everything in their power to come up with reasons why he should not play as a rookie.

But that’s about the only positive I can spin out of a holdout for Ryan. Otherwise, the benefits of him coming to camp on time definitely outweigh that single positive of him holding out. The more reps in practice he gets, the more comfortable in the offense he gets. The quicker and better he builds a rapport with some of his receivers. And while I don’t want Ryan to start as a rookie, it’s obviously in the Falcons best interests to prepare him for that possibility (or even likelihood).

Both Leinart and Brees missed about two weeks, Leftwich 18 days, and Quinn 11 days. I’m hoping that Condon sets a new record, one being the shortest holdout of a non-No. 1 quarterback to sign. I’m shooting for less than a week. Arthur Blank is the kind of guy that is going to make sure a deal gets done before things get too protracted. If only for PR purposes. Since the majority of Falcon fans (not me) think it was PR that drove the team to draft Ryan in the first place.

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Aaron Freeman
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2 Comments on "The holdout begins…"

  1. Anonymous | May 2, 2008 at 5:30 pm |


    I think the deal for Ryan will be done two weeks before camp starts. AB will pay a “make it to camp premium” this year. The question is how high Condron think he can raise that premium. I think it will be a 10% above what it would be if the Falcons played hardball.


  2. I hope you’re right. Holdouts have become relatively common for the Falcons since the Reeves/Harold Richardson Era of rookie contract negotiations.

    Condon has earned a nice living doing this in the past, and I don’t expect AB to be the one to ‘break’ him.

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