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New Stafford Deal Complicates Impending Ryan Contract

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Just when the market appeared to be set for Falcons QB Matt Ryan's new contract, Matthew Stafford and the Detroit Lions came along and complicated things a bit. Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images.
Just when the market appeared to be set for Falcons QB Matt Ryan's new contract, Matthew Stafford and the Detroit Lions came along and complicated things a bit. Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images.

The potential contract extension for Atlanta Falcons QB Matt Ryan just got a little more complicated thanks to Matthew Stafford and the Detroit Lions.

The Falcons have been in ongoing negotiations with Ryan's representatives this offseason with the intention of getting their franchise quarterback under contract for the foreseeable future. Ryan is entering the final year of his rookie contract in 2013 and is expected to command the next $100 million contract in the NFL.

Ravens QB Joe Flacco, Packers QB Aaron Rodgers and Saints QB Drew Brees have recently set the bar in the NFL by signing contracts that have paid the three an average of $20 million per season. As a point of contention, each has won a Super Bowl and Matt Ryan has not. While Cowboys QB Tony Romo recently signed a deal that pays him an average of $18 million per season, the speculation is that Ryan's representatives have continued to look for a deal in the $20 million neighborhood.

Here is the point where the new Stafford deal complicates the Ryan negotiations.

With two years remaining on his deal, Lions QB Matthew Stafford signed an extension that will pay him about $18 million per season over the course of the final three years of his deal.

The market has once again been emphasized: $20 million is for Super Bowl winners, while franchise quarterbacks without that level of accomplishment are expected to take less. For all of Matt Ryan's regular season success, he has the same amount of playoff wins as Romo and one more than Stafford.

The Falcons do have options moving forward. If Ryan chooses to bet on himself as Flacco did last offseason, he is in line to land that $20 million per season deal next year. Otherwise, Ryan will be subject to the franchise tag, which would keep him in Atlanta for the 2014 and potentially the 2015 season if a new long-term deal cannot be reached.

The Falcons are hopeful that a deal will get done in the coming weeks. But with training camp right around the corner, time is running out to get Ryan under contract before it becomes a 2013 season distraction.