Further Review

Steve Hummer's Further Review blog offers comments, asides and quick hits on the state of sports

Don’t worry about Ryan, he’ll get his share of QB mad money


Oddly, I have been able to sleep quite soundly of late, even as the clock ticks and Matt Ryan has not yet achieved official tycoon quarterback status.

I have wasted not a single moment reading between the utterances of the interested parties to the latest contractual dance. Because they are all just long, rambling palindromes, making identical nonsense whether read forward or backward. There is no knowledge to be drawn from them, only the vague impression that is everything is going to be OK. Which it will be. They are to speech what New Age is to music. 

Better to reserve your concerns for other rich people in the news. Like Mark Zuckerberg. Or Nicki Minaj and Cardi B and the state of the alleged feud between them. I just so want them all to get through these difficult times.

I will worry about the state of Elon Musk’s space program before I do the state of Ryan’s future earnings. Neither the Falcons nor Ryan are built to play chicken over the course of this, his last season under contract. 

This is what may be diagnosed as NFL quarterback-salary fatigue. As a positional group, quarterbacks surely will not be satisfied until they consume all the salary-cap money there is, and then take every last Bitcoin for dessert.

Look, we know what’s going to happen here. It’s inevitable. Ryan is going to cost Arthur Blank more than the guy who said to him, “I’ve got this great idea for a new kind of retractable stadium roof.”

We have seen far less accomplished quarterbacks sign this year for many millions more than Ryan is scheduled to make in this the final year of his contract ($19.2 million). It has been more than a little mind-bending. Reality has simply taken a few months off.    

No one disputes that quarterback is an important position, perhaps the most important in any sport (your NBA elites like James and Westbrook and Harden may argue). That said, shouldn’t the highest paid among such an important position be demonstrably important people?

Minnesota threw $28 million a year for three years at Kirk Cousins. San Francisco will pay Jimmy Garoppolo $27.5 million. When Matthew Stafford signed a five-year extension with Detroit that will pay him $27 million, that seemed unbelievable. But quickly, that number is becoming a base.

Those three top-paid quarterbacks do have one important trait in common. Number of postseason victories between them: Zero.

Garoppolo has a resume of seven whole NFL starts. Ryan has 158.

Oh, the Super Bowl-winning quarterback – Nick Foles – had a base salary of $1 million last season. There just is no rational relationship between pay and production out there in the alternate universe of the NFL workplace.   

Actually, the longer Ryan has waited to sign, the better for him, as these other lesser players have pushed his market value well above the tree line of sanity.

So, I’ll worry about everything else rather than Ryan’s future. He’ll sign something soon that will make him justifiably Atlanta’s highest paid athlete – Freddie Freeman is reportedly making $21 million this season – and push him comfortably beyond the Kent Bazemore Line ($19.3 million).  


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About the Author

Steve Hummer writes sports features for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He covers a wide range of sports and topics.