Matt Ryan traded to Colts: Falcons send former NFL MVP to Indianapolis for third-round pick

Matt Ryan is on his way to a new NFL home as the Indianapolis Colts are ready to roll out the red carpet for his arrival. The Atlanta Falcons threw the weight of the entire city behind their home turf to acquire former Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson, only to see their efforts spectacularly fail after the former Pro Bowler returned and agreed to a historic deal from the Cleveland Browns, but questions then remained about what would happen with the fractured relationship between the Falcons and Ryan.

Those questions have now been answered by the Falcons, who have reached a deal with the Colts to send the four-time Pro Bowl quarterback to Indy as a replacement for Carson Wentz in 2022 in exchange for a 2022 third-round pick, initiated from CBS Sports NFL Jason La Canfora has confirmed.

Both sides have reportedly been in talks with the Colts since hearing about Watson’s decision, if not a little before, but there was a lot to do in the negotiations. After pushing back Ryan’s guaranteed roster bonus of $7.5 million – which was three days ago but postponed until Monday as the Falcons awaited Watson’s decision to allow a possible Ryan trade – they had until at 4 p.m. ET to ship Ryan out of Atlanta or pay him what’s owed.

Also, from an overall standpoint, Ryan owes a total of $23.75 million in cash next season and, if the contract stays as is, the Falcons will be forced to eat a gargantuan $40.5 million. dollars in dead money if this exchange is made. without any changes to the current agreement. Whether the Colts have agreed to take any of those hits remains to be seen, but more details on the specifics of the trade will shed some light on that.

This will represent the largest dead cap reached in NFL history of nearly $7 million, per ESPN.

Ryan leaves the Falcons after spending 14 seasons with the team, joining them as the league’s third pick in 2008, racking up 59,735 passing yards and 367 touchdowns for 170 interceptions. He would eventually lead the team to the Super Bowl, but the infamous 28-3 slump suffered at the hands of Tom Brady and the New England Patriots remains the biggest blot on his otherwise solid resume.

Making matters a bit more complex in this trade was the fact that the Colts weren’t the only suitors for Ryan, with La Canfora also noting that the Seattle Seahawks were working to win the race for the former NFL MVP. The Seahawks are fresh off their own NFL blockbuster, namely the trade of Russell Wilson to the Denver Broncos for a package that includes quarterback Drew Lock, and it would be interesting to see if Lock is sent to the Falcons. , originally written off as QB1 for next season but, in reality, becoming another potential asset to be included in a later trade.

There’s also another wrinkle to all of this, and that’s Baker Mayfield.

Mayfield, who issued a not-so-veiled farewell letter before the trade for Watson, first requested a trade when Watson told the Browns they were out of the contest, but Cleveland handed him a ‘no’ closes before later landing Watson and telling Mayfield he was free to find a business partner. Rumor has it Mayfield considered the Colts his best landing spot, but after landing Ryan, will he now push Mayfield to Atlanta…or Seattle…and, if it’s the latter, Lock would then find his way to the first??

But wait, there’s more.

The Falcons would also be interested in pursuing former second overall pick Marcus Mariota, per NFL Network, in what could reunite the free agent QB with head coach Arthur Smith, the two having spent time with the Tennessee Titans. Such a move would allow Smith to at least keep the Falcons competitive in real time while keeping an eye on the search for Ryan’s true successor, while the Colts may soon find themselves considering a free agency move that could reunite Ryan. with his former attacking compatriot. and fellow Atlanta legend Julio Jones, who was released by the Titans this offseason; in what becomes an NFL lesson in six degrees of separation.

In what was a whirlwind in the early days of the 2022 NFL free agency, the last domino to fall – that is, Ryan – is now poised to fend off the others as well.