Timing, not talent, helped Matt Ryan become the NFL’s highest-paid player

It might seem logical for the NFL’s highest-paid player to be the league’s best player, too.

But that obviously wasn’t the case when Matt Ryan of the Atlanta Falcons became the NFL’s first $30 million man, even though he isn’t the best quarterback or the best player in the league,

Ryan, though, was able to take advantage of good timing.

He’s only 32, young enough to get a big deal, while Tom Brady has a history of taking below-market deals and Aaron Rodgers’ current deal isn’t up yet.

Is Ryan worth the money? Well, any player is worth what a team will pay him.

And Ryan has his supporters.

Mark Bradley, a veteran columnist for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, made the case for Ryan to be included in the list of elite quarterbacks.

He noted Ryan saved the franchise in the aftermath of Michael Vick’s problems and led the team to the playoffs six times in his first 10 years. He has been an MVP and four-time Pro Bowler and been durable, missing only two games.

On the other hand, Ryan went 1-4 in his first five playoff games in his first five seasons from 2008 to 2012 (getting only two points in a 24-2 loss to the Giants in 2011), then missed the playoffs three years in a row, going 4-12, 6-10 and 8-8 from 2013 through 2015. Coach Mike Smith was fired after the 2014 season.

The Falcons finally made the playoffs again in 2016 and won two playoff games to get to the Super Bowl. But then came 28-3 in the Super Bowl against New England, which is the stat he’s most noted for. Granted, Ryan was a victim of Kyle Shanahan’s playcalling, but elite quarterbacks don’t blow 28-3 leads.

Then last year, the Falcons made it as a wild-card team and beat the Los Angeles Rams 26-13 before losing to the Eagles, 15-10.

So what’s next for Ryan? What will his legacy be? Will the second half of his career be better than the first half? Will he win a Super Bowl?

Bradley flatly predicts the Falcons will win a Super Bowl with Ryan, although he adds that might require a different offensive coordinator.

That’s no sure thing, even though Ryan said “the best is in front of us’’ at a news conference after getting the big deal.

Bradley even said Ryan should be on the list of the top 25 quarterbacks of all time, maybe the top 20.

Considering the fact there are 27 quarterbacks – by my quick count — in the Hall of Fame, (not counting George Blanda, who was also a kicker), Ryan isn’t in the top 25, much less the top 20. He certainly isn’t in that company. He’s yet to show he is a Hall of Fame candidate, although he has time to get into the conversation.

Ryan probably won’t be the highest-paid player for long because salaries keep escalating.

But he was lucky to be in the right place at the right time to get the deal, even though he’s not as good as his salary.

3 thoughts on “Timing, not talent, helped Matt Ryan become the NFL’s highest-paid player”

  1. So Matt Stafford and Cousins were worth their money? This article is riddled with personal biases that are quite fathoming. You produced 0 statistics. So, since he hasn’t won a ring you don’t qualify him as “worth his salary” but there are a few other notable HF quarterbacks that never won a Super Bowl. It may not fit this articles narrative if you mention those though right?

  2. HATER!! If Yoh Were A Trye Falcons Fan And Football,You Would Know That Matt Ryan Deserves EVERY Cent…Check Bis Stats And Had He Had Better Defenses In His Career He Too Would Have Won A Super Bowl,Matty Ice Has Only Had a Top 10 Defense Once In His Career,And Twice In The Top 20…Pay Attention….Every Playoff Game Matt Ryan Lossed…He Lost To The Eventual SuperBowl Team Fact Check: He lost To Arizona in 08(lost super bow to steelersl) lost to the giants (beat patriots in super bowl, Lost To Packers(won super bowl) Lost To The 49ers( beat ravens in super bowl) Lost To Eagles (beat PATS in the super bowl)…Unfortunately For Matt He Has Ru I to The Hot Team Alot In The Playoffs,But Watch The Next 6yrs…He Os Definitely A Top 20 To 25 QB IN NFL HISTORY,Fastest Player To 40,000 Passing Yards,35 Game Winning Drives,260TDs And He Still Got Time To Add PLENTY OF ACCOLADES,So Temper Yourself With Matt Ryan ,Unless You Know His History…Matts 1st Career Pass Was a 62yrd pass,Dude Is Not AScrub,Has Had Unfortunate Luck And Bad Defenses Throughout His Career,He Has Stabilized A Franchise That Only Had 5 Playoff Apperances Be4 Be Got Here…We Have Had 6 Playoff Appearances Out Of The 10yrs He Been Here….THATS WHY HE GOT PAID

  3. Talent didn’t help him?? If he didn’t have any talent he wouldn’t be around long enough or be in the right place to take advantage of the timing. People love to crap on MR2 for what he isn’t or hasn’t done. His is a borderline HOF at this point and a very good QB. Why can’t people just appreciate that.

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