In an offseason that’s featured some high-profile quarterbacks landing with new teams, the latest movement is Matt Ryan being traded from the Atlanta Falcons to the Indianapolis Colts. Indy reportedly only gave up a 2022 third-round pick to get their replacement for Carson Wentz.
Ryan’s departure comes shortly after the Falcons strongly pursued acquiring Deshaun Watson but ultimately came up short.
From a Philadelphia Eagles perspective, there are two major takeaways from this Ryan trade.
1 - The Eagles will face Ryan again in 2022.
The Eagles will play the Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium this season. Indy upgraded by going from Wentz to Ryan. Just how much of an upgrade? That’s up for debate. But Ryan makes the Colts at least somewhat more formidable. He should benefit from a supporting cast that’s stronger than it was in Atlanta.
That being said, it’s not like Ryan is super intimidating. The Exton, PA native is coming off a year with a 90.4 passer rating ahead of his age 37 season. The Eagles limited Ryan to the following stat line in Week 1 last season: 21/35 (60%), 164 yards (4.7 average), 0 TD, 0 INT, 71.6 passer rating. Ryan surely wasn’t helped by the Eagles’ defensive line wrecking the Falcons’ porous offensive line.
Ryan is the best quarterback that a Jalen Hurts-led team has gone up against and won. We’ll see if Hurts can help the Eagles outpace Ryan on the road once again this year.
2 - The NFC continues to lose QB talent.
The Eagles would’ve preferred to acquire Watson or Russell Wilson. But, after missing out on them, the next best thing was to see them not playing in the NFC. Wilson newly joined the AFC while Watson remained in the other conference. And now Ryan is AFC-bound as well.
Here’s how I’d rank the current NFC starting QBs:
1 - Aaron Rodgers
2 - Tom Brady
3 - Matthew Stafford
4 - Dak Prescott
5 - Kyler Murray
6 - Kirk Cousins
7 - Jalen Hurts
8 - Carson Wentz
9 - Trey Lance (assuming Jimmy Garoppolo is traded)
10 - Justin Fields
11 - Jared Goff
12 - Marcus Mariota (expected to go to the Falcons)
13 - Jameis Winston
14 - Daniel Jones
15 - Sam Darnold
16 - Drew Lock
One could make an argument Wentz should be above Hurts but they’re at least in a similar tier, no? There’s also potential for the likes of Lance and Fields to move up but they’ve yet to prove much at the NFL level. And it’s worth noting these rankings will need updating if Baker Mayfield and/or Jimmy G are in the NFC.
The Eagles have benefited quite a bit from playing in one of the league’s worst divisions in recent years. Now they have the potential to benefit from playing in a conference that’s clearly inferior to the quarterback-loaded AFC.
Bonus: Ryan’s $40.5 million dead cap hit for the Falcons surpasses the NFL record-breaking $33.8 million amount that the Eagles were left with after trading Wentz to Indy last year.