Matt Ryan Traded to Indianapolis Colts

by Keith Lott
Matt Ryan Traded to Indianapolis Colts

Another one! (DJ Khaled voice). Matt Ryan has been traded by the Atlanta Falcons to the Indianapolis Colts for a third-round pick.

The Colts continue to find one-year rentals at quarterback hoping to get lucky.

They are still missing a few pieces on offense with offensive linemen Eric Fisher and Mark Glowinski free agents. T.Y. Hilton is also currently a free agent and Indy's wide receiver depth chart is not very good or deep.

The Falcons are in complete rebuild mode after trading Julio Jones last year, Calvin Ridley being suspended for the upcoming season and now trading Matt Ryan. However, they are stuck with a $40 mil dead cap hit on Matt Ryan this season. Despite that gross number, it's a $9 mil savings that they desperately need.

While Ryan gives the Colts stability for another season, the AFC is a super conference with almost every good team getting better. Will this be enough to even win the AFC South division?

Matt Ryan Traded to Indianapolis Colts

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Ryan’s Career With the Falcons

Matt Ryan was the third pick in the 2008 NFL Draft out of Boston College, behind Jake Long (Dolphins) and Chris Long (Rams).

I don't know if you forgot, like I forgot until I wrote this article, but Matt Ryan was the NL MVP in 2016. He threw for 4,944 yards, 38 touchdowns and just seven interceptions. That was the year the Falcons blew a 28-3 lead over Tom Brady's Patriots in Super Bowl LI.

Ryan has thrown 30+ touchdown passes just three times in his 14-year career with the most recent time coming back in 2018 when he was 33 years old. Ryan will turn 37 before the 2022 NFL season kicks off.

Over the last three seasons, Matt Ryan owns a 4.0% touchdown rate. That's on par with Tua Tagovailoa and Mitchell Trubisky, among quarterbacks with 600+ pass attempts (not including Trevor Lawrence's rookie season) - bottom 10 among 34 "qualified" quarterbacks.

Ryan's adjusted net yards per attempt of 6.18 is just slightly better than Carson Wentz, Baker Mayfield and Jared Goff. still below the median.

The numbers aren't much better for Ryan if you exclude last year's mess of a season for the Atlanta Falcons without Julio Jones and just five games from Calvin Ridley.

Ryan’s 2022 Fantasy Football Impact

The veteran leadership under center should never be overlooked. But it means little in Fantasy Football.

Ryan, like Carson Wentz last year, is not going to be asked to do very much on offense. Wentz's average intended air yards per attempt was right smack in the middle, according to Next Gen Stats. However, it was almost a full yard more than Ryan's IAY in Atlanta last season.

I imagine we will see the Colts offense operate very similarly to what we saw last year with a heavy focus on handing the ball off to Jonathan Taylor and peppering Michael Pittman Jr. with targets.

Mo Alie-Cox will have an increased role as he returns to play tight end with Jack Doyle now retired.

Matt Ryan will live as a weekly streaming option for Fantasy Football managers.

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Falcons Rebuild

Atlanta has a couple of directions they can go heading into the 2022 NFL season.

They can sign or trade for a veteran quarterback looking for a chance to start - like Marcus Mariota or Baker Mayfield - or they can just let Feleipe Franks play out the year in a tank season.

I don't see a guy like Jimmy Garoppolo agreeing to play for a rebuilding franchise at this point in his career.

UPDATE - Falcons sign Mariota to a two-year deal!

No matter what direction they go, they will have to start to look towards the two upcoming quarterback draft classes. They have the eighth pick in this year's draft but if Malik Willis, Kenny Pickett, Matt Corral or Desmond Ridder are not who they desire, Bryce Young and C.J. Stroud should be entering the draft next year.

The Falcons do have two weapons in Cordarrelle Patterson and Kyle Pitts, so there is something to be desired. They will be playing from behind often and garbage time points do count. However, the offensive line is a mess and the running back depth chart is crowded with Patterson, Mike Davis and now Damien Williams.

With six picks in the top 114 this year, Atlanta can pick and choose which holes to plug via the draft.

Conclusion

The Falcons did what they had to do and can now focus on rebuilding their franchise. I actually love the timing of this for them because by the time they are ready, the Bucs, Saints and Panthers will all probably be tearing down whatever is left of today's rosters.

For the Colts, this keeps them in the hunt for the AFC South. This move, however, does not make them Super Bowl contenders in my opinion. Had they traded for Russell Wilson or Deshaun Watson, that would have been a difference-maker.

But they need to figure out a permanent solution at the quarterback position. Andrew Luck retired prior to the 2019 NFL season and since then Jacoby Brissett, Philip Rivers, Carson Wentz and now Matt Ryan have played quarterback for them.


Check out our other free agent and trade breakdowns - Deshaun Watson, Russell Wilson, Carson Wentz, JuJu Smith-Schuster

Click here for our latest 2022 NFL Mock Draft.

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