Jeff Schultz

This AJC sports blogger takes things seriously when he has to, but he really would rather not

Arthur Blank: ‘no need to worry’ about Matt Ryan contract talks


It’s natural that concern is growing over protracted contract negotiations between the Falcons and quarterback Matt Ryan, but the owner of the team said there is nothing to worry about it.

Arthur Blank said Tuesday via email that there is no timetable for getting a deal done with Ryan, who is entering the final year of his contact.

“The most direct and honest answer is: no need to worry, good conversations are happening, they are positive and there’s no timetable for this,” the Falcons’ owner wrote.

Ryan is scheduled to earn $19.250 million in base salary this season. The Falcons missed their window to close a deal for an extension that might have lowered Ryan’s salary-cap figure before the start of free agency. The fact that a contract has not been finalized yet does not mean a deal won’t get done, but it could make things problematic down the road.

Some scenarios;
-- An extension is negotiated before the NFL draft (April 26-28) or shortly thereafter: This would give the Falcons an idea of their budget before having to sign their draft picks and for the remainder of free agency.

-- A deal is signed during training camp or into the season: This would at least give the Falcons some sense of salary-cap ramifications moving forward, as they begin project negotiations with Jake Matthews, Grady Jarrett, Tevin Coleman, Ricardo Allen and others who can become unrestricted free agents in 2019.

-- A deal isn’t signed before the 2019 season: The Falcons theoretically could still put the franchise tag on Ryan for the 2019 and even the 2020 seasons. But that would lead to more salary-cap problems and potentially could create friction between the two sides.

The Falcons never were going to be major free-agent shoppers this offseason. So while it’s not good that a deal hasn’t been done yet, Blank is correct in saying it’s not a major issue yet.

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About the Author

Jeff Schultz is a general sports columnist and blogger who isn't afraid to share his opinion, which may not necessarily jibe with yours.