Fight or flight: In extreme times, what where do Jones and Ryan Fall?

Illustration by Myah Anglin |The Signal

Well. Dang. We saw both extremes of the quarterback carousel. The Detroit Lions got back quite the haul for Matthew Stafford (two first-round picks, a 2021 third-round pick, and Jared Goff himself). On the other hand, the Philadelphia Eagles got a ball of string and maybe some chips (a 2021 third-round pick and a conditional 2022 second overall pick.

What did we learn from that? 

One, to be thankful that, for all the crap we have gone through as Falcons fans that we have not had to deal with the egotistical clashes, cap mismanagement and ultimately a top-to-bottom organizational mess. And two, trades will become weirder as the new league year approaches. 

Wentz’s value dropped following his abysmal 2020 campaign, while Detroit gave up a haul for Stafford, a franchise icon. With those principles in mind, let us get into this week’s Fight or Flight.

Fight: Two for 2022.

As I’ve gone on record to say, I do not want the Falcons to get rid of Julio Jones or Matt Ryan in 2021 and that this upcoming year should be their last run. 

But they are under contract for the next two years, and if Ryan is playing good enough, why not keep them? 

With heavy quarterback turnover early this off-season, the Falcons may cut ties with theirs next.

Then again, why not let both Ryan and Jones finish their contracts in Atlanta? 

There are worse options and, unless the Falcons get a supreme offer, there is not much incentive to move them unless their production drops off a cliff in 2021.

If the Falcons’ future franchise quarterback is not quite ready, Terry Fontenot and Arthur Smith do not receive a great offer, then what? If the Falcons come close to another Super Bowl, do not be surprised if they strongly consider letting the duo finish off their iconic careers under their current contracts.

Jones has a cap hit of $23 million in 2021, 19 million in 2022 and 2023.With a dead cap hit of $38 million for the 2021 season that decreases to $15 million in 2022 and an out in 2023 in which his dead hit would be $7 million dollars. While Ryan’s has a hit of $40 million for 2021 and then decreases to $26 million in 2022, (his dead cap charges are $49 million in 2021 with an out in 2022 for $26 million in 2022.) All that being said it is possible for them to be finished for 2022, but do not be surprised if one or both return.   

Flight: Top Two and not One.

That said, I would prefer that they manage to get adequate compensation for Jones and Ryan and aim for a deal like the Stafford-Goff one.

The Falcons’ cap situation will not look perfect overnight, and if the quarterback of the future pans out, he will make a hefty amount on his second contract. Add in Calvin Ridley’s expected extension, and rebuilding through the draft seems paramount. 

While getting compensation for Jones and Ryan is the goal, if it is a meager offer like the Eagles or something Fontenot does not like, 2021 may not be the end for the Falcons’ legends.