Matt Bush, FISM News
Matt Ryan was drafted by the Atlanta Falcons as the third overall pick in the 2008 NFL Draft. He started all 16 games that season and for the past 14 years the Falcons have not had to think twice about who their starting quarterback would be. On Monday, everything changed with the Indianapolis Colts receiving Ryan’s services via trade while giving up just a third-round pick in return.
Matt Ryan, or “Matty Ice” as his fans call him, is probably most remembered for being on the wrong side of the most incredible comeback in Super Bowl history. Ryan was the 2016 NFL MVP and subsequently led his Falcons to Super Bowl LI against the New England Patriots and Tom Brady. The game was a blowout in the first half, and it looked to be all but in the bag for Atlanta when the teams entered the locker room at halftime. In the second half things changed as Tom Brady further enhanced his legacy leading the Patriots in scoring 31 unanswered points and an overtime win.
Ryan is the latest NFL quarterback to make the news in one of the craziest offseasons for quarterbacks in recent history: Tom Brady retired and unretired a few days later; Russell Wilson is now a Bronco; DeShaun Watson went from the Texans to the Browns; Aaron Rodgers very loudly stayed in Green Bay; Kyler Murray scrubbed the Cardinals from his social media just to add them back again; Ben Roethlisberger retired after 18 years; and the Washington Commanders ended up with Carson Wentz.
The NFL is known as one of the most stable and most popular professional sports leagues in the world, so to see this kind of movement amongst quarterbacks in the league is unprecedented. The money that is being paid is also unprecedented with DeShaun Watson getting $231 million in guaranteed money and multiple top-tier quarterbacks making close to $50 million per year.
With all of the changes going on with signal callers in the NFL, the AFC has ended up with what might be the best conglomerate of quarterbacks in the history of NFL football. With Mahomes leading the pack in Kansas City, you could put Jacksonville’s Trevor Lawrence outside of the AFC’s top-10. Any team in the NFC other than the Packers, Cowboys, and now Buccaneers would likely take Lawrence with no questions asked. In fact, with Aaron Rodgers the lone exception, the AFC probably has four of the best five quarterbacks in the NFL.
If the upcoming NFL season is anything like the last few weeks of free agency, it could be one of the best and wildest in the past few years.