Last week, Joe Flacco rode the wave of his Super Bowl to the biggest contract in the NFL. He's about to rack up $120.6 million over the next six seasons, passing Drew Brees' mark of $20 million per season. Up next could be Atlanta Falcons' quarterback Matt Ryan.
Ryan is entering the final year of his six-year $72 million contract and, according to an AJC report, is about to make bank.
“He should average at least $21 million, $22 million or $23 million,” said Joel Corry, a former sports agent who covers football business for the nationalfootballpost.com.
Under Corry’s forecast, a six-year deal for Ryan would fall somewhere between $126 million and $138 million with more that $60 million of it guaranteed.
Wait, what? Are we talking about the same quarterback who just won his first playoff game? There's a reason Flacco and Brees set contract highs: They've both won a Super Bowl. Mark Sanchez has more playoff wins than Ryan.
In the NFL, it may not really matter. The Falcons are going to have to re-sign Ryan and if that's the kind of money he wants, they're going to have to pay it or suffer until they find another above-average quarterback.
That said, the consequences for a long-term deal with a quarterback who can't take a team to a Super Bowl can be devastating. There's no reason to lump Ryan in that group — aside from the fact that he hasn't done it — because he's a talented quarterback. But if he continues to not win Super Bowls and the Falcons are paying $25 million per year, they'll be stuck in the realm most Atlanta teams go through year after year: good, but not good enough.
Can you handle any more of that, Atlanta?