Matt Ryan to Indianapolis: Five biggest takeaways from Colts-Falcons trade

Matt Ryan just became the latest big-name quarterback to switch teams, as the Atlanta Falcons agreed to trade the longtime franchise face to the Indianapolis Colts on Monday.

In exchange for Ryan's services, the Colts are sending out third-round picks (82 overall) in this year's draft, according to NFL Network's Mike Garafolo, Tom Pelicero and Ian Rapoport.

The latest spin of QB Carousel fills a void in Indy and creates another in Atlanta. Kevin Patra rated Ryan's acquisition of Colts as the five largest acquisitions.

1) The Colts take another big swing at the quarterback

The search is on for Chris Ballard to replace Andrew Luck. The General Manager is shooting to the moon for a third straight season with an experienced signal-caller. Two years ago, Indy brought down Philip Rivers on a one-year deal. Rivers was good enough to bring Indianapolis back season after season, but at that stage of his career, that was never going to be a long-term solution. Ballard then made a big trade for Carson Wentz, believing that Frank Reich could bring the former No. 2 overall back to the form that had given him squarely in the MVP discussion when the two met in Philly in 2017. were working together. It quickly blew up in Indy's face. Wentz went down the stretch, struggled in offense and proved he was not a difference-maker - failing to reach 230 yards in any of his final five games.

Now Ballard is taking another massive swipe at answering the QB puzzle that has puzzled him since Luck's abrupt retirement in August of 2019.

Ryan is in the fall, but the 2016 NFL MVP can still throw all while he's protected. His subtle pocket movements keep him alive, and he makes far better decisions than Wentz. Ryan could still catch fire for the stretch and play at a top-10 level. He hasn't lost his downfield ability, which is usually the first thing an aging QB goes for. At least, he is a medium level starter who can offense deftly. If the Colts had gotten anything close to that production from QB position last season, they would have made the postseason. Zero questions.

Trading for Ryan is Ballard's best move to convert Luck. He offers a playoff-caliber roster that Wentz lacked in the type of leadership. But it's not much different from the time the rivers were brought in—just a few extra years of lease.

But if it's a third swing and miss from a GM, owner Jim Irsay's patience may finally run thin.

2) the falcons fly it

After Deshan Watson's pursuit failed, Atlanta decided to blow up the entire operation. Ryan was the last piece to put up with the Flacons in the NFL's not-good-but-not-awful purge. Without the experienced MVP, ATL 2023 could struggle for the No. 1 overall selection. The WR core is in shambles with Calvin Ridley being suspended for the year. The O-line remains a big question mark. Outside of Kyle Pitts and Cordrell Patterson, there isn't one intriguing player on offense. The defense's studded cornerback has a few pieces. Terrell, defensive tackle Grady Jarrett and newly signed corner Casey Hayward, but it remains a rebuilt, questionable group. Now with a hole in the QB, the Falcons are in rebuilding mode. Perhaps Arthur Blank can spare some Home Depot tools to rebuild. A willingness to trade Ryan into a $40.5-plus million dead cap indicates that second-year GM Terry Fontenot is ready to completely reset the deck.

Shortly after Ryan was traded, Atlanta captured Marcus Mariota, giving the Falcons a vet with early experience to bridge them to the next phase of rebuilding. It's like the Lions taking on Jared Goff last season, although the move to Atlanta came at a much lower cost than Detroit. Mariota is a QB who can drive the offense, but probably isn't winning too many games to hurt his chances of getting a high draft pick to select the next franchise signal-caller.

3) Baker Mayfield's landing spots are shrinking

Mayfield reportedly wanted to go to Indy, possibly for the same reasons it's a cushy landing spot for Ryan: The Colts offer a playoff-ready roster with QB-friendly coaches. Now the soon-to-be ex-Brown quarterback will have to consider other options. Teams Still Needing QBs: Carolina, Detroit, Houston, Seattle.

Given their desire to remain in win-now mode under 70-year-old Pete Carroll, the Seahawks make a lot of sense. Mayfield has proven he can lead a run-first offense and keep Seattle competitive with DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett as his WR.

Under Matt Roulette, Carolina can't figure out what she wants in QB, but wouldn't it be fun (or sad, depending on your point of view) with Sam Darnold and Mayfield battling it out during training camp?

Houston and Detroit look like they are comfortable running back their QB positions and are waiting to draft a future signal-caller rather than trade it to Mayfield, who wants a new contract.

Wherever Mayfield ends up, it will not be his top destination, having missed the opportunity to be traded for the young QB and instead picked the soon-to-be 37-year-old.

4) Indy has given a thank you card to the Washington Commanders

The Colts could swing a Ryan trade partly as the Commanders sent two third-round picks (a conditional who could become a second-rounder) to Wentz, taking the QB's hefty pay. Without that piece of the puzzle, a move doesn't happen for Ryan. In acquiring Ryan, Indy had to flip one of their third rounders to Atlanta and use the cap space to sweeten the new QB's deal. Seems like an easy trick.

After Wentz was traded by the Colts, reports emerged from Indy that the brass was disappointed in the QB as a leader. Now the Colts are upgrading to a highly regarded Ryan. To understand what kind of person he is in the locker room, look no further than how he handled the Falcons who went after Watson.

Even in a trade not involving Washington, the commanders still somehow come out on the losing end.

5) Chris Ballard must remain aggressive

Trading for an older quarterback comes with the presumption that you are in win mode right now. Couple that with an owner who's probably still troubled months later with his club's surprise Week 18 loss to Jacksonville in the season, and you can bet there are still steps to be taken. Indy has a dazzling hole in the left tackle and is in dire need of adding momentum at the receiver to complement Michael Pittman Jr. On defence, the corner is needed. The draft can help with depth, but after Monday's move, Ballard needs to move on. While the free-agent pool has been selected, a playmaker like Will Fuller on the outside can deliver boom-or-bust potential. Darius Leonard is already recruiting Julio Jones—with whom Ryan clearly has an affair. Questions about his health are likely to be the biggest issue with Julio taking a big swing.

After Indy missed the post season, an enraged Jim Irsay promised a change. It took until March for those big moves to begin, but after turning away Wentz and importing Ryan, the Colts are up and running. Now Ballard has to put the pedal down.

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post