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Matt Ryan goes from a rebuilding job in Atlanta to a critical asset in Indianapolis

The writing was on the wall for quarterback Matt Ryan to part ways from the Atlanta Falcons. The 2016 Most Valuable Player spent 14 years with the organization. However, Ryan’s tenure with the team was in jeopardy when the Falcons decided to make a move to acquire Deshaun Watson.

With Atlanta deciding to pursue Watson, it was an indicator that Ryan’s tenure with the team was ending. However, there were conflicting reports on which team was in the lead to land the highly coveted quarterback. Some reports stated that the Falcons became the front runner to land Watson, while others reported that he was still undecided on which team he would join.

On Friday afternoon, a decision had been made by Watson. He informed everyone that he wanted to become a member of the Cleveland Browns. Previous reports had indicated that the Falcons and the Saints were the last two teams in the hunt to acquire the former Houston Texan. However, the Browns inserted themselves back into the conversation when they offered Watson a guaranteed $230 million-dollar contract. With Watson’s decision to finally join another team, all signs pointed to what the future of Ryan would look like in Atlanta.

Many had believed that damage had already been done, and it was only a matter of time for the Matt Ryan era to be over in Atlanta. The Indianapolis Colts became the projected front runner to acquire the former league MVP on Monday. The Falcons announced that they had traded Ryan in return for a 2022 third-round draft pick. Atlanta immediately announced Ryan’s replacement when they signed Marcus Mariota to a two-year deal worth $18.75 million.

With the wide receiver Calvin Ridgley suspended for the entire 2022 season due to placing bets on NFL games and former teammate Russell Gage signing with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, all signs point towards the Falcons going into rebuilding mode. Ryan’s time with the organization was coming to a close, but it was not clear when it would eventually occur.

“Let’s make this clear. At some point, we need to understand that Father Time does get us all, and at some point, we have to make a clear succession plan for the next quarterback,” team owner Arthur Blank said. “Teams in the league that has done that successfully really are in a good position. The ones that haven’t are the ones that struggle for a number of years as they flip in and out of quarterbacks that are not really the ultimate answer.” The decision to pursue Watson accelerated Ryan’s final days with the Falcons, and now a new era begins in Indianapolis.

Is Matt Ryan an Upgrade Over Carson Wentz?

Yes, Matt Ryan is an upgrade over Carson Wentz. Despite Wentz’s stellar season where he threw for 3,563 yards, 27 TDs, and only seven interceptions, he is yet to return to his 2017 form. Ryan brings a more polished element at the quarterback position compared to Wentz. As a result, the Colts believe that they are very close to being an elite team in the AFC.

Adding Ryan to the most crucial position gives them a fighter’s chance in the highly competitive AFC. Recently, the conference has witnessed an uptick in elite talent on offense. Today, the AFC has players such as Russell Wilson, Justin Herbert, Patrick Mahomes, and now wide receivers Davante Adams and JuJu Smith-Schuster.

All of those players mentioned play in the AFC West. There’s a strong possibility that Indianapolis will be facing one of those teams in the AFC West for a playoff spot next season. If the Colts can use the draft to find a reliable wide receiver that can go along with Wentz, the stout offensive line, and running back Jonathan Taylor, the Colts can become more than just a formidable team in the AFC.

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Meet Derrick Branch, the founder and chief wordsmith at Strike 7 Sports. With a sharp focus on the NFL and the NBA, Derrick's expertise in sports is matched only by his passion for sharing it with others. He holds a bachelor's degree in journalism and mass communications from the prestigious University of Arizona Global. Let his insightful and engaging writing take you to the heart of the action.

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