I started preparing a post rooted in the idea of the Bears making a push for Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan. Chicago has a need, Atlanta has reasons to explore getting out from under Ryan’s contract to jump-start a rebuild, and PFF suggested a fit could be had if both sides worked hard enough at it. To be clear, it wouldn’t have been an easy deal to swing. Not with the Bears’ assets, and not with the contract the Falcons and Bears would’ve had to make concessions about when crossing the finish line. However, it might have been worth it for both sides. And at minimum, it was something worth exploring.
However, it doesn’t even sound like we’ll get to the exploration stage:
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) February 2, 2021
“I’m told that Matt Ryan is not going anywhere,” reports NFL Network insider Tom Pelissero. “The Falcons have not had any conversations with any other team about Ryan, or their star wide receiver Julio Jones. And every expectation is that both players is going to be on the roster in 2021.”
For the sake of this post, we’ll focus on the Ryan stuff. Firstly, the note that Atlanta hasn’t received interest from Ryan elsewhere is a bit surprising. Sure, the Falcons could be wary of trading Ryan based on getting smacked with a cap hit north of $40 million in dead money if they traded him this season. But dead cap money didn’t stop the Rams and Lions from swapping Jared Goff and Matthew Stafford in a deal. Nevertheless, it’s still an understandable reason as to stand pat. Moreover, the Falcons new coaching staff installing an offense similar to what Ryan thrived in under Kyle Shanahan is another reason as to why the quarterback isn’t being made available. Good for the Falcons. Bummer for teams looking for quarterback help.
But it’s not all bad. Atlanta sticking with Ryan cuts two ways. On the one hand, it keeps a talented signal caller off the table. It’s one less player for the Bears (or any other team in search of a veteran) to target. But on the other hand, the Falcons could emerge as a possible trade-up partner for a team like Chicago. Atlanta owns the fourth overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. And if that is a spot where BYU’s Zach Wilson and/or Ohio State’s Justin Fields is available, then the Bears should be blowing up the phone lines in an attempt to make a deal for either of those top prospects. I imagine Chicago wouldn’t be alone if one (both?) is available. But that’s a different conversation for a different post.
In the meantime, I’m crossing Matt Ryan off my list of quarterbacks who could be attainable this offseason. However, I’m doing so in pencil. And in the margins, I’m jotting down ideas regarding trading up to the fourth pick (if that’s what it comes to).