Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
While Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan and Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco came into the league together in 2008, Ryan's rookie deal was one year longer. As a result, Flacco is swimming in cash right now while Ryan and the Falcons continue to work to see if they can avoid a contract year in 2013 and a potential franchise tag situation in the spring of 2014.
Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio reported this week that "casual talks currently are occurring, with an expectation that things will heat up after the July 4 holiday."
If Ryan doesn't come to terms with the Falcons this summer, he'll enter 2013 knowing that every throw he makes could make or cost him big bucks. That worked out well for Flacco, who became a Super Bowl MVP in his contract year, but Ryan might not react to that pressure in the same way.
And if Ryan does come to terms with the team before the start of 2013, he'll be faced with having to live up to a contract that will surely make him one of the richest players in the league. That's pressure too, especially when you have just a single playoff victory in five tries.
Forget the money; he'll have a ton of pressure on him regardless next season. The franchise is starving for a Lombardi Trophy, and the 28-year-old Ryan is smack dab in the middle of his prime.