Heading into the 2022 NFL offseason, the Atlanta Falcons are in a similar situation that they faced in the 2021 offseason in regards to their quarterback position. The Falcons are clearly in the midst of a rebuild, but still owe starting quarterback Matt Ryan $91 million over the next two years ($48.662 million cap hit in 2022 and a $43.6 million cap hit in 2023.) That contract is hard to move even if Ryan’s 2021 stats were more than good enough (3,555 passing yards, 19 touchdowns, 11 picks, 67.3% completion rate) to warrant interest from multiple playoff hopefuls. It is not impossible to move Ryan’s deal, though (see Jared Goff) and if the Falcons are motivated to move the best quarterback in the history of their franchise, these are the three teams that would have the best chance to pull it off.
Three best trade destinations for Falcons QB Matt Ryan in the 2022 NFL Offseason
3. Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers check-in at number three on the list because of their need to replace Ben Roethlisberger and their decent amount of cap space. Pittsburgh is currently sitting on $32.07 million in cap space (ninth-most in the NFL) and can create more room with a few cuts. This is a team that is built to win now, something that Ryan is surely looking for in his next stop. Although Ryan’s 2021 numbers would be a huge improvement on Roethlisberger, it is fair to wonder if Ryan is the type of talent that will put Pittsburgh over the top in the way that Matthew Stafford has helped the Los Angeles Rams. If the Steelers do not determine that Ryan can make that type of impact on the franchise, it will be hard to bite the bullet on the salary and picks that it would take to get him. If they do, though, we could be seeing “Matty-Ice” in black and yellow for the remainder of his career.
— Atlanta Falcons (@AtlantaFalcons) February 1, 2022
2. Denver Broncos
The Broncos will be in the hunt for a quarterback throughout the 2022 NFL offseason and figure to be in on just about every available QB in free agency and the draft. Denver is projected to have around $40.38 million in available cap space (6th in the NFL) and their starting quarterback from 2021, Teddy Bridgewater, is a free agent. It is no secret at this point that they will be in pursuit of Aaron Rodgers should he become available, but if Denver strikes out on that front, look for them to be heavily involved in the sweepstakes for San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and also check in with the Falcons on Ryan. If it comes down to those two, Garoppolo and Ryan, it’s hard to pass up the future Hall-of-Famer for an oft-injured game manager (sorry Jimmy G.)
Most career starts as NFL QB (+playoffs)
1. Tom Brady – 363
2. Brett Favre – 322
3. Drew Brees – 304
4. Peyton Manning – 292
5. Ben Roethlisberger – 270
6. Dan Marino – 258
7. Elway – 252
7. Rivers – 252
9. Tarkenton – 250
10. Eli – 246
11. Matt Ryan – 232
12. Aaron Rodgers – 227
— Scott Kacsmar (@ScottKacsmar) February 2, 2022
1. Indianapolis Colts
Much like the hunt for the services of Rodgers and Garoppolo, it is going to be the Colts that can offer the most to any potentially available quarterback. They have the most cap space $37.7 million, out of any team that doesn’t already have a quarterback of the future and have a clear hole at the position. Colts general manager Chris Ballard was given the chance to say that Carson Wentz was their unquestioned starter and failed to do so…on multiple occasions. That means that he is looking for an upgrade and will take one if it becomes available. Ballard knows that his defense, offensive line, and running game are all Super Bowl-ready. If he can get a quarterback like Ryan, it may be exactly what they need to take the next step and become a playoff team. As we saw with the Cincinnati Bengals this season, if you can get to the playoffs, anything can happen. The Colts must first focus on getting a QB that can take them there, and Matt Ryan could be the man for that job.