After 14 years in Atlanta, the Falcons have traded veteran quarterback Matt Ryan to the Indianapolis Colts for a 2022 third-round draft pick.
No matter how fans feel about Ryan’s time in Atlanta, his impact on the city of Atlanta can’t be denied. During his time here, he had some monumental moments.
In 2016, Ryan was scorching hot as he won the AP MVP award and the AP Offensive Player of the Year Award. He threw for 4,944 yards, 38 touchdowns and only seven interceptions.
As Falcons fans will never forget, they reached the Super Bowl that year. After holding the infamous 28-3 lead, the New England Patriots fought their way back to win 34-28.
The list of records Ryan set while playing for the club can go on and on, but to list a few: Ryan owns the most passing yards (56,474) through a player’s first 14 seasons in NFL history, and his 117.1 passer rating in 2016 was the sixth-highest in a single season in NFL history.
Additionally, his 56 wins in his first five seasons set the record for the most by any starting quarterback in NFL history.
It was common knowledge that Ryan and the club eventually would part ways, but nobody knew when exactly it would be. During Super Bowl week, Falcons owner Arthur Blank spoke on the future of Ryan with the club.
“At some point, there will be a sunset for him, but exactly when that is, I can’t tell you because I really don’t know,” said Blank on the team’s official website.
Blank also went on to speak about Ryan’s future with the team.
“[Ryan] loves the game. He loves the Falcons. He loves the city, and he wants to stay here,” “That’s a decision the coach and general manager will make. But we have no reason to think he won’t continue to be playing quarterback for us.” said Blank.
Many rumored the Falcons would take a QB in this year’s draft to begin the process of moving on, but when the grand jury ruled not to bring criminal charges on Deshaun Watson, it was open season.
Watson had expressed interest in coming to the Falcons, and the team knew it was now or never. After not landing Watson, sources reported the Falcons would “[turn] their attention to making Ryan feel wanted.”
By that point, it was apparent the time had arrived for both parties to go their separate ways. Following Ryan’s departure from the city, the club signed former Heisman-winning QB Marcus Mariota.
Mariota has had a subpar NFL career. During his time with the Tennessee Titans, he posted a 29-32 as the team’s starter.
Despite his lack of great statistics, Mariota still has a lot of upside. The Falcons’ O-Line is very lackluster, so Mariota’s mobility will be beneficial for the team’s success.
Ryan will be 37 years old heading into the 2022-23 NFL season, but he’s remained one of the most durable quarterbacks in the league despite his age.
He’s only missed three games throughout his career. Every year, Ryan remained one of the league’s most sacked QBs.
He took at least 40 sacks in four straight seasons, including a whopping NFL-high 48 in 2019. With the much-improved O-Line and the fantastic run game, Ryan will be set to show what he’s still capable of going forward.