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Raise Your Hands If You Deserve A New Deal

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Matt Ryan is still waiting for a new deal from the Atlanta Falcons. Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images.
Matt Ryan is still waiting for a new deal from the Atlanta Falcons. Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images.

Coming into the 2013 NFL offseason, one of the major storylines has been the new contracts for quarterbacks around the league. Quarterbacks Joe Flacco of the Ravens, Tony Romo of the Cowboys, Aaron Rodgers of the Packers and Matt Ryan of the Falcons were all expected to receive new deals. As the NFL turns its attention away from the draft and toward the opening of training camps this summer, only Ryan remains without a new deal.

With a 56-22 regular-season record over five seasons, Ryan has proven himself to be among the best young quarterbacks in the NFL. Turning just 28 in May, Ryan has already led the Falcons to their best continuous run of success in franchise history. Entering the final year of a six-year, $72 million contract, Ryan is set to count $12 million against the Falcons salary cap in 2013. For a Falcons team currently in need of cap room to add veterans to their roster, a new deal would seem like a foregone conclusion. But, like most things in the NFL, production still matters.

For all of Ryan’s regular-season success, the Falcons are just 1-4 in the playoffs during his era. Only a last-second field goal from kicker Matt Bryant allowed the Falcons to escape with a win after blowing a second-half lead to the Seattle Seahawks in the 2012 playoffs. General managers around the NFL have established an unwritten rule when it comes to quarterback salaries: $20 million per year is for Super Bowl winners. Ryan has not yet reached that level of accomplishment.

So what’s holding up Matt Ryan’s new deal?

More than likely, it’s an amicable difference of opinion over what he’s worth. Ryan is certainly worth every penny he can receive from the Falcons. If his career continues at this rate, he will easily be the greatest Falcon of all time. But in terms of NFL salary cap dollars, paying him the same salary as Super Bowl winners brings added pressure for goals yet to be obtained.