With quarterback Aaron Rodgers agreeing to a new five-year, $110 million contract with the Green Bay Packers on Friday, the market is set for Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan.
Rodgers’ deal has $40 million guaranteed, with $62 million to be paid over the first three years of the deal. Rodgers’ average of $22 million per year tops the $20.1 million per year average of Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco’s deal (six years, $120.6 million).
So if the Falcons want to top Flacco, but not Rodgers, Ryan’s deal could end up being a six-year deal, for $126 million for an average of $21 million per year.
Joel Corry, a former agent, who covers sports business for nationalfootballpost.com, projected that a five-year extension averaging between $20.2 million and $21 million per year for Ryan would make for a six-year total that could land in the range of $111 million to $115 million.
Ryan is set to enter the last year of his original six-year, $66 million contract.
Talks have been amicable, and the Falcons said before the draft that would return to the negotiating table after the draft.
Ryan has a $12 million salary-cap number. If the Falcons and Ryan’s representative, Tom Condon of Creative Artists Agency, can work out a deal, his number would go down and give the team enough cash to help sign the rookie class.
The Falcons released veterans Michael Turner, John Abraham, Dunta Robinson and Tyson Clabo in order to make room for Ryan’s contract.
The Falcons are just $2.19 million under the salary cap.
Trufant’s jersey: Desmond Trufant, the Falcons’ first-round draft pick, took some time to reflect on his jersey-number selection.
The Tacoma, Wash., native has two brothers in the NFL and knew the significance of taking jersey No. 21 in Atlanta.
It was available because Christopher Owens left to sign with Cleveland in free agency, but the number is most closely associated with Hall of Fame cornerback Deion Sanders, who was enshrined in the team’s Ring of Honor in 2010.
“I thought about it,” Trufant said. “That was Deion Sanders’ number when he was here. He was a great player. I would just love to follow in a guy’s footsteps like that. It’s an honor to wear that number and to be here as well.”
Future starter: The Falcons have special plans for Trufant.
With the release of Dunta Robinson and with Brent Grimes leaving to sign with Miami during free agency, the right cornerback position is open.
“We expect that he’ll come in here and compete and win that position,” Falcons coach Mike Smith said.
Trufant likes Revis, Woodson: Trufant was asked which NFL players he tries to emulate.
“I try to be like two corners, honestly,” Trufant said. “One is Darrelle Revis. I like what he does with his technique, patience, strength and confidence. Then there is Charles Woodson because he can go in the slot. He’s versatile. I try to model my game after those two players.”
Trufant was asked to describe his own style of play.
“I feel that I bring a couple of different things,” Trufant said. “I can play outside and in the slot. I can play man corner and zone as well. I have quickness and change of direction. I’m physical. I’ll come up and tackle. I feel that I’m just well-rounded.”