Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan reportedly believes he has "several good years" of football remaining in his career.
ESPN's Jeremy Fowler reported Sunday on SportsCenter that the Falcons could be comfortable with Ryan as their franchise quarterback beyond this season, saying:
"[Matt Ryan] has told multiple people close to him, in and around the Falcons, that he feels he has several good years left, that he can still play at a high level. So, the Falcons did extensive homework on Trey Lance and the other quarterbacks that they considered with the fourth overall pick. But they believe, and they're totally comfortable rolling with Matt Ryan for this year, possibly longer. They feel they have weapons, Kyle Pitts now, a quarterback-friendly system with new coach Arthur Smith and it should be an improved defense. So, this is a team they feel they'll be on the rise and Ryan will be better-positioned to have more success."
Ryan has been the Falcons' starting quarterback since they selected him with the No. 3 pick in the 2008 NFL draft. He's been named to four Pro Bowls and won the 2016 NFL MVP, but the Falcons haven't recorded a winning season since 2017.
Atlanta went 4-12 in 2020 and was in position to draft a franchise quarterback with the No. 4 overall pick but instead selected Florida tight end Kyle Pitts. The team also chose to keep veteran wideout Julio Jones despite trade rumors, signaling plans to move forward with the current core—at least for the 2021 season.
The cap ramifications of moving on from Jones and Ryan become far less problematic next offseason. Atlanta would save $8.1 million from its cap by trading Ryan and $3.8 million by moving Jones in 2022.
It seems likely the Falcons would shift to a larger-scale rebuild next offseason if the team fails to make a significant improvement under first-year coach Arthur Smith.