Matt Ryan is clearly at the center of football media attention today as he battles against the San Francisco 49ers for the right to play in the Super Bowl two weeks from now. However, Ryan has apparently been involved in some other newsworthy business behind the scenes, according to NFL.com.
Marc Sessler reported today that Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons are currently working on a new deal that will likely make the former Boston College standout one of the highest-paid quarterbacks in the NFL. According to Sessler:
Ryan's set to make $10 million in the final year of his contract in 2013. We wouldn't be surprised to see the 27-year-old starter land a multiyear deal worth close to $100 million. That's the price tag for an elite passer.
Ryan's value is only expected to rise if he can lead Atlanta to the Super Bowl this season. In fact, these contract negotiations are probably just added motivation to a player that can close in on a championship and a major payday at the same time.
Pat Yasinskas of ESPN.com said in October:
They finally have made this Ryan’s team. Under new offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter, the Falcons have become much more of a passing team. They’re letting Ryan throw deep and, although critics once said that wasn’t a strength, he’s thriving.
Fans in Atlanta are more excited about the Falcons than they ever have been. Owner Arthur Blank knows he has a good thing going with Ryan, Dimitroff and coach Mike Smith. Blank has visions of a new retractable-roof stadium in downtown Atlanta and you can bet he envisions it packed every Sunday.
The way to make sure that happens is to stay ahead of the curve. Lock up Ryan before his play drives up the price tag even more.
Ryan currently has a regular season record of 56-22 as a starting quarterback in the NFL, but he did not win a playoff game until he faced off with the Seattle Seahawks last week.
This will definitely be a story to follow over the coming weeks and months, but it seems like Ryan has finally solidified himself as the franchise quarterback that is so coveted around the National Football League, and it would be wise for the Falcons to get this deal done as early as possible.
Brian Murtaugh is a former Cleveland Browns featured columnist on Bleacher Report. He is also the founder of National Football Direct, where this article is featured.