The Matt Ryan era in Atlanta ended on Monday as the Falcons agreed to send the veteran quarterback to the Indianapolis Colts for a 2022 third-round draft pick, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Ryan, who had spent all 14 of his professional seasons in Atlanta, was due $7.5 million from the Falcons at 4 p.m. ET Monday — a figure the team was unwilling to pay considering the need to revamp large portions of the roster.
Per reports, the Colts were the most likely team to land Ryan as they searched for their next No. 1 man under center. After one unsuccessful season with Carson Wentz — whom they acquired from the Philadelphia Eagles last year — at the helm, Indianapolis traded the former No. 2 pick to the Washington Commanders earlier this month.
A Week 18 collapse against the Jacksonville Jaguars withheld them from a second-straight playoff appearance after making the Wild Card Round the previous year with veteran Philip Rivers calling the shots.
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It appears the Colts want to follow that same blueprint by bringing in a proven veteran like Ryan into the fold.
The 36-year-old had one of his worst seasons in nearly a decade in 2021, which shows just how effective of a quarterback he has been over the last decade. Over 17 games, the Boston College product completed 67% of his passes for 3,968 yards, 20 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions.
It was the first time since 2010 that Ryan failed to throw for more than 4,000 yards in a season. He currently ranks eighth all-time in NFL history with 59,735 passing yards and ninth with 367 touchdowns.
In Indianapolis, he will be presented with a supporting cast that could flourish with a proven arm under center, featuring star running back Jonathan Taylor and a talented young wide receiver in Michael Pittman Jr.
The Falcons now find themselves on the quarterback market, which has been plenty busy already this offseason. While the likes of Wentz, Russell Wilson, and Deshaun Watson have found new homes, Baker Mayfield could be available for the taking from Cleveland.
There will also be an opportunity to take a quarterback from the less-than-stellar quarterback prospect pool at the 2022 NFL Draft next month.