UPDATE (1:45 p.m. ET): The Atlanta Falcons are trading quarterback Matt Ryan to the Indianapolis Colts for a 2022 third-round draft pick, according to multiple reports Monday afternoon.
ORIGINAL STORY: Despite losing the Deshaun Watson sweepstakes, the Atlanta Falcons still are moving on from their veteran quarterback.
FOX Sports’ Jay Glazer on Monday reported the Falcons and Colts were “trying to work out a trade” that would send Matt Ryan to Indianapolis.
“Not completed yet but trying to finalize,” Glazer tweeted. “… Atlanta and Colts have been talking about this trade for Matt Ryan for a few days, still a couple of hurdles to finalize but hoping it gets done here soon (Monday).”
The Colts needed a new starting quarterback after trading the disappointing Carson Wentz to the Washington Commanders ahead of NFL free agency. The 36-year-old Ryan started all but three games over the last 14 seasons and is a former NFL MVP, but he’s set to carry an enormous $48.7 million salary cap hit this season, $40.5 million of which would be absorbed by Atlanta as dead money if he’s traded before June 1.
Ryan passed for 3,968 yards and 20 touchdowns with 12 interceptions in 2021, averaging 7.1 yards per attempt and posting the worst QBR (46.1) of his career.
The Falcons reportedly were considered finalists (along with the New Orleans Saints) to land Watson before the Houston Texans quarterback reversed course and chose to be traded to the Cleveland Browns. The only Atlanta quarterback currently under contract is 2021 undrafted free agent Feleipe Franks, who did not attempt a pass as a rookie.
Trading Ryan could open the door for Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield, out of the picture in Cleveland following Watson’s arrival, to join the Falcons. Mayfield reportedly eyed Indianapolis as his preferred landing spot.
NFL Media’s Mike Garafolo also pegged Marcus Mariota as a potential QB target for Atlanta.
For the Colts, Ryan will be their sixth Week 1 starter in the past five seasons, following Scott Tolzien, Andrew Luck, Jacoby Brissett, Philip Rivers and Wentz. Indy looked like a dangerous playoff contender this past season before collapsing in the final two weeks, culminating in a Week 17 loss to the last-place Jacksonville Jaguars that kept it out of the postseason.