March 3, 2013
In Atlanta and Baltimore, many tens of millions of dollars worth of deals happened Friday that had nothing to do with Matt Ryan.
And everything at the same time.
The Falcons quarterback benefitted directly from the $120.6 million deal agreed to by Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, a deal which he's in better position to get after a series of moves by his own team.
According to D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the Falcons cleared nearly $16 million worth of salary cap room with the releases of John Abraham, Dunta Robinson and Michael Turner.
While part of the proceeds will go to keeping their own core (players such as safety William Moore and others), and part will go into bringing in replacements (potentially a pass-rusher such as Dwight Freeney or Osi Umenyiora, or a running back like Steven Jackson), they're going to be tucking away part for a rainy day as well.
Ryan's entering the final year of his rookie contract, and while he doesn't have a Super Bowl win or MVP trophy on his resume, he does have a enough to make a strong case to be paid just like Flacco - beginning with the fact no quarterback in the league has more regular season wins since 2008.
The Falcons generally acknowledge they're going to deal with Ryan's contract before the season starts, but they have a new bar to clear, and a little more room with which to make it work thanks to their other moves.