Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan became the highest-paid NFL player earlier this month when he signed a 5-year, $150 million deal. While the news was surely celebrated by the 33-year-old Ryan, another NFC quarterback was likely happy to hear the news.
Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff appeared on Andrew Brandt’s podcast The Business of Sports and discussed Ryan’s contract. As he explained the timing of Ryan’s new deal, he discussed how Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers shared his input back in February.
“I saw Aaron interestingly enough at the Super Bowl, in the airport,” Dimitroff told Brandt. “And he said to me, we don’t know each other that well, but [Rodgers said], ‘Just get this deal done with Matt first so I can get on with my life.’”
The reason for Rodgers’ interest in Ryan signing an extension is simple enough. The 34-year-old Packers quarterback has two years left on what was a 5-year, $110 million contract, which expires after the 2020 season. Rodgers is assumed to be the next quarterback to sign a massive deal, with NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reporting it will likely happen in July.
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As Dimitroff explained, Rodgers signing before Ryan would have greatly complicated the negotiations with Ryan.
“I thought that was a good thing, because that’s all we needed, for Aaron to go first and try to navigate through all this,” Dimitroff said. “[But] we knew that wasn’t going to be the case.”
Dimitroff told Brandt the Falcons always planned to wait until after the 2017 season to secure Ryan for the long term, although he did toy with the idea of doing so during the free agency period.
As time went on, Dimitroff said it became apparent that Ryan’s representatives were letting other big quarterback signings play out before coming to terms on the new deal.
“We realized in the end that they were waiting to see what was going on with Kirk Cousins, coming off what [Jimmy] Garoppolo and what San Fran did,” Dimitroff said.
The contract Ryan ultimately agreed to trumped what Cousins and Garoppolo received for their respective teams. However, Ryan’s reign as the league’s top-paid player will likely come to an end once Rodgers’ new deal is completed.