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Colts' Matt Ryan Says He's Not Considering Retirement: 'I Still Love Playing'

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 9, 2023

ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 04: Matt Ryan #2 of the Indianapolis Colts warms up before kickoff against the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium on December 4, 2022 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images)
Cooper Neill/Getty Images

Matt Ryan isn't intending to walk away from the NFL this offseason following a disappointing year with the Indianapolis Colts.

The 37-year-old is under contract for one more season and slated to collect a $19.2 million base salary and a $10 million roster bonus in 2023.

"I still love playing," he told reporters Monday. "I think... obviously I'm not committed to anything, here, wherever. I gotta see how it shakes out [with the coaching search]. But I still love playing. Honestly, I still like there's a lot of good football in my body."

Ryan's future with the Colts, and perhaps the NFL as a whole, might be out of his hands.

His stock was trending downward during the end of his run with the Atlanta Falcons, but nobody foresaw his rapid decline in 2022.

In 12 starts, the four-time Pro Bowler threw for 3,057 yards, 14 touchdowns and 13 interceptions, and he fumbled the ball 15 times. His 43.0 QBR ranked 25th among qualified quarterbacks, per ESPN.com.

At the least, it's difficult to see Indianapolis bringing him back for 2023. He's due to count for $35.2 million against the cap. Cutting him before March 17 would trigger just $18 million in dead money while saving the remaining $17.2 million.

Even if Ryan had played better, releasing him would still make sense because the Colts badly need a long-term plan at quarterback instead of pivoting from one short-term stopgap to the next.

Assuming he isn't long for Indy, Ryan may not have many options elsewhere.

A quarterback with his experience and track record can be attractive for a contender in need of a quick solution. After 2022, it's fair to wonder, though, whether his on-field returns are now so limited they could effectively force his hand on retirement.