Matt Ryan is the best quarterback in the league who is yet to win a Super Bowl. As such, the Falcons would be foolish to let him hit the free-agent market after the 2014 season. More than that, it's economically intelligent to press the issue of an extension as soon as possible.
On the Falcons Central podcast that I did with Aaron Freeman of FalcFans.com on June 4, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's D. Orlando Ledbetter was our special guest. He suggested that the Falcons are waiting for after this week's organized team activities to start negotiations with Ryan.
And while that makes a ton of sense to do, they should have been negotiating since Joe Flacco signed his six-year, $120 million deal earlier this offseason. He's the cautionary tale of what happens when your general manager is too stubborn to get the deal done.
According to his agent, Joe Linta, Flacco was willing to sign a deal for five additional years that averaged $16 million a year—the only hang-up being $1 million in the final year of the deal, according to USA Today's Jim Corbett. Unfortunately for the Ravens, Flacco outperformed that before it even came to fruition.
But that's what winning a Super Bowl will do.
Right now, the Falcons have a Super Bowl-caliber team. And while Matt Ryan isn't a Super Bowl-winning quarterback yet, he's definitely got more than enough ability to become one many times over. If the Falcons are smart, they won't let this deal slip through their fingers.
Comrade Thomas Dimitroff has already been quoted saying that the Falcons are confident that a deal will get done with the talented quarterback, according to ESPN's Pat Yasinskas. Well, let's just hope they don't make a $35 million mistake and let Ryan get by.
A projected deal for the former Boston College Eagle should range in the $18-to-23 million range per season. But for this example, let's say that the Falcons don't sign Ryan this season and just allow him to carry a $10 million cap charge for the 2013 season.
They would risk completely losing the man they have built a Super Bowl contender around. They would also risk the long-term future of the franchise's solid cap situation. Right now, based on my calculations, the Falcons are projected to be around $27-to-30 million under the cap for the 2014 season.
If Atlanta structures it right, they would have no problem fitting Ryan under the cap and building their cap future around him. They could easily absorb cap hits around $25-28 million in 2015 and beyond. However, they should try to extend him now so those hits are closer to $24 million than $29 million.
Is Matt Ryan worth a Joe Flacco deal?
Ryan's new deal is going to break the bank regardless of when they sign it. But it's always more economically feasible to get the deal done sooner rather than later.
In economic projections, future values and present values are always considered. Cap planning is no different. In making sure that the star quarterback's cap values are properly executed to build a roster around, the Falcons need to sign him as soon as possible.
Quick, pronto and in a hurry.
[Other random speed cliche.]
You get the picture.
All stats used are either from Pro Football Focus's Premium Stats, ESPN, CFBStats or the NFL. All contract information is courtesy of Spotrac. All recruiting rankings come from 247Sports.com.
Scott Carasik is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. He covers the Atlanta Falcons, NFL and NFL Draft. He also runs DraftFalcons.com.