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In the 2008 NFL Draft, the Atlanta Falcons struck gold when they tabbed then-Boston College quarterback Matt Ryan to replace former number one overall draft pick Michael Vick following off-field issues.
In the 13 seasons since Matt Ryan has cemented his name as the Falcons‘ best quarterback in franchise history, and it’s hard to argue anyone better.
Yet, as the signal-caller prepares to enter his 14th season, fans of both the team and in the media world are in unison about one instance: the team must draft his replacement, and it should come with Nike Matt Ryan Jersey, one of these prospects touted by scouts.
Let’s pump the brakes right there, folks.
It is honestly baffling why nobody can definitively come up with a reason why Ryan must be gone now, if not by next year. Whenever someone is broached with the question, usually the response is anywhere from “Ryan’s washed up” to “He’s a choker; singlehandedly responsible for 28-3”.
But where’s the real information fans need: the production totals?
Atlanta fans, it’s hard to deny this fact: Matt Ryan has never had a defense rank in the top-10 except for one season: 2017- the year after Game Matt Ryan Jersey, he won the league MVP and brought us to our second Super Bowl appearance in franchise history.
Lest we also forget: the year after said defense’s prowess, Ryan managed to essentially match his numbers made in the MVP season, and the team went 7-9.
Also, last time someone checked, Ryan has something not even the great Tom Brady or Peyton Manning could ever say on their already-sealed Hall of Fame resumes:
While it’s true that stats mean nothing without championships nowadays (a frankly ridiculous mindset), in the earlier days, it was consistency at the position that kept a player in their position.
Where has Ryan truly played badly for an entire season? 2015 might come to mind, but the team started 5-0 before imploding and finishing 8-8. Also, that was the first year under Shanahan, and there were growing pains.
Maybe even 2013, which was the only other time in his career the team finished worse than 6-10. That year came off the Matt Ryan Jersey Ebay, NFC title game loss to the 49ers, which some will blame on a missed holding call (but no Congressional filibuster, New Orleans).
So two years of 13, the argument is there. But what about the rest? Three straight years of making the postseason, Rookie of the Year, being part of the NFC’s gatekeeper team until 2017, the list goes on and on.
The argument is prevalent that the team needs to think about the future, and it’s not unreasonable to think otherwise. However, his contract will prove otherwise for at least three years, as evidenced by Atlanta needing to do yet another restructure just to get under the cap.
Unless Ryan just completely falls off a cliff, the writing is on the wall, folks: Arthur Smith and Terry Fontenot are going with the best player available at the fourth overall pick. And if they get that tight end out of Florida in an offense that already requires respect to the league’s best receiver and route runner, fans won’t be calling for Ryan’s job in Atlanta in 2022.
Rather, they’ll be trying to call for their team to try and weasel the Falcons into eating a dead cap that’s worse than what Philadelphia had to trade Carson Wentz.
Final thought here, Falcons fans: our division has Brady, yes. But what would you rather want: a proven veteran to lead our team into potential playoff contention or a rookie who might not even pan out?