Matt Ryan is set to enter his 15th season in the NFL, moving up the all-time passing yardage ranks in the process. While Ryan is on the verge of entering the top five in passing yards in NFL history, the Atlanta Falcons quarterback will soon set a league record based on the salary of his current contract.
Ryan is set to have a cap number of $48,662,500, the largest salary cap hit for a player in NFL history (per ESPN's Field Yates).
His cap number balloons from $26,912,500 to $48,662,500 from 2021 to 2022, the fourth year of the five-year, $150 million contract extension he signed in 2018. Ryan has two years left of his deal, having a cap number of $48,662,500 this year and $43,612,500 next season.
The Falcons could release Ryan and save $8,137,500 in salary cap space this year. If the Falcons waited until after the 2022 season to move on from Ryan, the franchise would save $28 million in cap space. Ryan currently takes up 23.4% of the Falcons' salary cap space for 2022.
Ryan is coming off the fewest passing yards he's had in a season (3,968) since 2010 and fewest passing touchdowns (20) since his rookie season in 2008. The 67% completion rate was the highest for Ryan since 2018.
Ryan has thrown for 59,735 passing yards in his career, the eighth-most in NFL history. He needs 4,354 yards to surpass Ben Roethlisberger for fifth in NFL history, which he could reach during the 2022 season. Ryan's 367 passing touchdowns are ninth all-time, 83 behind Aaron Rodgers for fifth. He needs just 33 touchdown passes to become the eighth player to reach 400 for his career.
Ryan's historic cap hit will be surpassed at some point by two younger quarterbacks who have signed massive extensions. Josh Allen currently has a $51,272,281 cap hit in 2025 and Patrick Mahomes currently has a $59,950,000 cap hit in 2027.