The Atlanta Falcons appear to be a club on the verge of a major reset. After starting the year with an 0-5 record that is currently good for last place in the NFC South, owner Arthur Blank relieved both head coach Dan Quinn and GM Thomas Dimitroff of their duties this past week. On top of the masthead getting some new pieces in the near future, eyes now move to the roster, where there could certainly be some significant changes on the horizon, possibly even under center.
Blank was asked specifically about Matt Ryan's future with the organization as it relates to bringing in a new coach and general manager, and the Falcons owner did leave open the possibility of the franchise moving on if that's what the new regime sees fit.
"Matt has been a franchise leader for us, a great quarterback, one of the leading quarterbacks in the last 13 years in the NFL," said Blank, via the official team website. "I hope he's going to be part of our plans going forward. But that will be a decision I won't make.
"Matt has the ability to play at a very high level, even at this age. Whether that's going to continue or not, I'm not sure. I appreciate his willingness to consider doing that, and the level of what he's played for us for 13 years, which has been incredible. I will have to see, but again, that's going to be a decision at the end of the day that will part of it up to the player and part of it up to the coaching staff. Whether or not Matt can keep himself together, God willing he'll be able to do that, and play at the level that he's capable of playing at."
As for Ryan, who has spent his entire 13-year NFL career with the Falcons, he's well aware of the ticking clock that every single NFL player faces. That said, he's focused on the here and now.
"We rent these lockers; we don't own them," Ryan said. "We have to go out and pay that rent and earn your spot day in and day out. Regardless of whether you're in Year 1 or Year 13, that's our responsibility as players all of the time is to go out there and perform, that's what we're paid to do. I don't worry about it, I understand where everyone is coming from, I understand where I'm at my career. But I also believe in compartmentalizing things and focusing on what's in front of us this week and the job that I have to do. We've got 11 ball games to go this season and we've got to find a way to get some wins and get back in the mix. That's where our mindset has to be at."
It should be noted that Ryan is signed through the 2023 season with the Falcons. If the team decided to move on, that would be a costly endeavor as he has a near $50 million dead cap hit for the 2021 season. After that, the Falcons could clear nearly $15 million off their cap for 2022.