Matt Ryan Is Worth Every Penny of His New $103.75 Million Contract

Knox BardeenNFC South Lead WriterJuly 25, 2013

Atlanta Falcons team owner Arthur Blank sat on stage Thursday with general manager Thomas Dimitroff and head coach Mike Smith to sing the praises of their newly re-signed quarterback, Matt Ryan.

“I’ll be having a private meeting with Matt a little later tonight to talk to him about becoming an investor in the new stadium,” said Blank. “We’re going to do that or maybe talk about the naming rights.”

Ryan doesn’t have that kind of coin, but he does have a new five-year, $103.75 million extension with $59 million guaranteed. And he’s worth every penny of it.

The accolades are proof enough.

Ryan’s led the Falcons to a 56-22 record in his five seasons in Atlanta. Those 56 wins are better than any other quarterback in NFL history during the first five years of a career. Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco is second on that list and Pittsburgh Steelers field general Ben Roethlisberger is third, two and five wins behind, respectively.

When it comes to winning percentage in his first five seasons, Ryan ranks third all-time with a .718 showing. He trails only Tom Brady (.769) and Peyton Manning (.766) on that list, arguably two of the best quarterbacks in NFL history.

There are several other statistics that show why Ryan deserves this money, even though Ryan humbly said in his post-contract-signing press conference, “Both sides (Ryan was speaking about his agent and the Falcons front office) think I’m much better than I really am.”

Here’s the laundry list. And just like laundry day when you can’t find all your black socks, this isn’t a complete list.

According to the "Falcons' Fact Book," at 33-5 (.868) Ryan has the best career home winning percentage (minimum 25 starts) of any quarterback who began his career in the Super Bowl era.

After Atlanta’s Week 8 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles in 2012, Ryan tied Roethlisberger as the second-fastest quarterback to the 50-win plateau. It took them both 69 games. Brady was just a bit quicker; it took him 65 games.

One of the more telling marks of Ryan’s new $103.75 million value is his fourth-quarter and overtime moxie, the juice he’s got that earned him the nickname “Matty Ice.”

Ryan has put his team on his back late in games on so many occasions. Since 2008 (Ryan’s rookie campaign), he’s led 22 come-from-behind wins that started in the fourth quarter or overtime. That’s the most of any NFL quarterback since 1966.

On Thursday, Ryan joined three other quarterbacks who signed large new deals in the previous months.

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers signed a five-year extension worth $110 million with $54 guaranteed. Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo was given a six-year extension worth $108 million with $55 million guaranteed, and Flacco got $120.6 million over six years with $52 million guaranteed.

Ryan might not be ready to overtake Rodgers as the best quarterback in the NFL, but he definitely has every right to be mentioned with this group. And his flat-rate average of $20.75 million per extension year is higher than both Flacco’s ($20.1 million) and Romo’s ($18 million).

Ryan and Flacco will forever be compared because they both entered the league as first-round signal-callers in 2008, Ryan taken with the third overall pick and Flacco at No. 18. Flacco has a 9-4 playoff record with a Super Bowl ring. Ryan’s 1-4 in the playoffs and has a history of not getting it done in the postseason.

But outside of playoff success, Ryan’s the better quarterback.

Ryan’s completion percentage of 62.7 percent is 2.2 points higher than Flacco’s at 60.5. Ryan’s thrown 25 more touchdown passes, only four more interceptions and has accumulated 1,324 more passing yards.

NFL Network Analyst Bucky Brooks, a former player and scout, had Ryan and Flacco in a dead heat last July. Flacco got the nod with his arm and athleticism, while Ryan won in game management and clutch factor. The Falcons, with Ryan's new contract on Thursday, showed with their pocketbook which side of the Ryan-Flacco fence they fall on.

Money talks.


Unless otherwise noted, all quotes and statements were obtained firsthand.

Knox Bardeen is the NFC South lead writer for Bleacher Report and author of 100 Things Falcons Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die. Be sure to follow Knox on Twitter.