Matt Ryan traded to Colts: Falcons send former NFL MVP to Indianapolis for third-round pick

Matt Ryan is on his way to a new NFL home as the Indianapolis Colts get ready to roll out the red carpet for his arrival. The Atlanta Falcons threw the weight of the entire city behind their field to take on former Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson, before seeing their efforts fail spectacularly after the former Pro Bowler came back and accepted a historic deal from the Cleveland Browns, but then questions remained. what would happen to the broken relationship between the Falcons and Ryan.

Those questions have now been answered by the Falcons, who have signed a deal with the Colts to send the four-time Pro Bowl quarterback to Indy as the replacement for Carson Wentz in 2022 in exchange for a 2022 third round, CBS Sports NFL insider Jason La Canfora has confirmed.

The two sides have reportedly been in talks with the Colts since they heard the news of Watson’s decision, if not a little earlier, but there was much to discuss in the negotiations. After cutting Ryan’s $7.5 million guaranteed roster bonus — which was three days ago but postponed to Monday because the Falcons awaited Watson’s decision to allow a potential trade from Ryan — they had until 4 p.m. ET to either ship Ryan out of Atlanta or pay him what’s due.

In addition, from a general standpoint, Ryan will owe a total of $23.75 million in cash next season and the Falcons will be forced to pay a NFL Record $40.5 Million in Dead Money

Ryan leaves the Falcons after spending 14 seasons with the team and joined them as the league’s third overall pick in 2008, with 59,735 passing yards and 367 touchdowns to 170 interceptions. He would eventually lead the team to the Super Bowl, but the infamous 28-3 collapse at the hands of Tom Brady and the New England Patriots remains the biggest blemish on his otherwise hefty QB resume.

Complicating things a bit in this trade was the fact that the Colts weren’t the only suitors for Ryan, with La Canfora also noting that the Seattle Seahawks were working to win the race for the former NFL MVP. The Seahawks love their very own NFL blockbuster which is Russell Wilson’s trade to the Denver Broncos for a package with quarterback Drew Lock, and it would be interesting to see if Lock gets sent to the Falcons, originally out in public in pencil written as QB1 for next season but in fact yet another potential asset to include in a subsequent trade.

There’s another wrinkle in all of this, too, and that’s Baker Mayfield.

Mayfield, who issued a not-so-veiled suicide note prior to trading for Watson, initially demanded a trade when Watson told the Browns they were out of the sweepstakes, but Cleveland gave him a firm “no” before landing Watson later. and told Mayfield he was free to find a trading partner. Rumor has it that Mayfield was eyeing the Colts as his best landing spot, but after landing Ryan, Mayfield will now head to Atlanta…or Seattle…and, if it’s the latter, Lock his way to find the first ??

But wait, there’s more.

The Falcons quickly filled the vacancy left by Ryan’s departure by bringing free agent Marcus Mariota on board for a two-year deal, with the former second overall pick set to reunite with head coach Arthur Smith, the two then partnered with the Tennessee Titans have spent. The move will allow Smith to at least keep the Falcons competitive in real time while keeping an eye on Ryan’s true successor, while the Colts may soon consider a free move that can reunite Ryan with his former offensive compatriot and colleague. Atlanta legend Julio Jones, who was released by the Titans this off-season; in what all becomes an NFL lesson in six degrees of separation.

In what was a whirlwind during the first few days of 2022 NFL free agency, the last falling domino — that is, Ryan — will now knock over the remaining dominoes as well.

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