The Atlanta Falcons selected quarterback Matt Ryan with the third overall pick in the 2008 NFL Draft.
Since then, he has been their starter. In that time, Ryan has had some absolutely superb seasons. He’s also led the Falcons to great seasons as well, including reaching the Super Bowl just a few years ago.
All that being said, the Falcons have also had quite a few disappointing seasons. That includes 2019. This year, Atlanta started 1-7, then went to 3-9 before winning their final four games to finish 7-9.
That’s the problem, though. They can’t seem to get over that hump in a lot of these seasons. So with Ryan set to turn 35 before the start of next season, should the Falcons consider looking to trade the quarterback?
Since entering the league in 2008, Ryan has always been a quarterback I’ve loved. I will quickly come to his defense, and it’s not hard to defend him most of the time either. Just look as recently as his 2018 season.
That year, he posted a 69.4 completion percentage and threw for 4,925 yards. He also racked up 35 touchdown passes compared to just seven interceptions.
That’s not some random anomaly season either. In fact, in 2016 he had an even better year. That season, Ryan completed 69.8% of his passes for 4,944 yards and 38 touchdowns (still just seven interceptions).
While none of his other seasons were quite that dominant, Ryan has consistently remained one of the better quarterbacks in the entire NFL throughout his career. There’s a reason he was nicknamed “Matty Ice” after all.
All that being said though, what exactly has his tenure in Atlanta produced? In 12 seasons the Falcons are 109-83 in the regular season. That’s really good. However, they have just four playoff wins to show for it. And two of those came in 2016 when they made it to the Super Bowl (and blew the infamous 28-3 lead to the New England Patriots).
It just does not really feel like the Falcons are going anywhere with this team. And that includes Ryan at quarterback.
However, moving on is hard. With Ryan, they know they have one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. They also know that they will likely at least be a competitive team every year and have a shot at the playoffs.
Moving on from Ryan likely means a rebuild. If Atlanta is not sticking with a proven veteran they would probably want to look towards the draft for his replacement, not free agency.
So the question is, are they ready for that? Are they ready to give up on any hope at a Championship run in the immediate future, in hopes of building a winner in the slightly-more distant future?
Of course, this might depend on the haul they get in return. If it’s a King’s ransom, maybe they make the move. For a 35-year-old QB with four playoff wins though? That likely won’t be the case.
Due to that, the answer is no. Atlanta has Julio Jones. They have Devonta Freeman and Calvin Ridley. Austin Hooper is a free agent, but they have the inside track. Meanwhile, the defense boasts Vic Beasley Jr. and Grady Jarrett. They have Keanu Neal and De’Vondre Campbell.
This is a team with a lot of big names. A rebuild might not make sense. You have championship pieces, just need to figure out how to get that last piece of the puzzle and put it all together.
With that in mind, the answer is no. Now is not the time for the Falcons to look to trade Ryan. Not yet at least.