Originally written on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 11/6/14

ATLANTA - SEPTEMBER 20: Quarterback Matt Ryan #2 of the Atlanta Falcons against the Carolina Panthers at Georgia Dome on September 20, 2009 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
With Falcons Mini Camp wrapping up Thursday and the 2013 training camp schedule released, all eyes are on star QB Matt Ryan to see how he has recovered since coming up ten yards short against the San Francisco 49ers, blowing a 24-14 lead in the second half of the NFC Championship game. Matt Ryan grabs his left, non-throwing shoulder after a hard hit in the NFC Championship game. On his final drive, Ryan took a hard hit from 49ers linebacker Ahmad Brooks, injuring his left (non-throwing) shoulder.  The next two downs resulted in incomplete passes and an incomplete season for the #1-seeded Falcons. Ryan avoided surgery on his separated shoulder and Head Coach Mike Smith assures fans that Ryan will be back, “beyond 100 percent”. More importantly, Matt Ryan’s contract expires at the end of the 2013 season so the question remains: Will Matt Ryan finally be given the monetary respect he deserves? Ryan has proven he is an elite quarterback, leading the Falcons to another 13-win season and finally getting his first career playoff victory against Seattle before losing to the 49ers in the NFC championship game. His stats are on par with quarterbacks like Super Bowl champion Joe Flacco and the Cowboy’s Tony Romo, both of whom just received massive contract extensions. In fact, Flacco’s contract, a six-year $120.6 million contract, makes him the highest-paid player in the NFL. Flacco’s contract comes in wake of an impressive 2012 season that led the Baltimore Ravens to their first Super Bowl victory in twelve years. Photo: Chris Graythen/Getty Images In comparison, Ryan is the same age as Flacco and is five years younger than Tony Romo. Over his past four seasons, he has gradually stepped up his game each year. His rookie season, Ryan threw for 2916 yards and 22 touch down passes. The 2010 season saw an increase to 3705 yards and 28 TD passes. Finally, in 2011, Ryan exceeded the 4000-yard mark for the first time and threw 29 TD passes. Though he led the Falcons to a 13-win season, he still had yet to garner that exclusive elite quarterback status due to his lack of playoff victories. After the 2012 season in which he threw for an impressive 4719 yards and 32 TD passes that led the Falcons to the NFC Championship game, many think that Ryan has finally reached the exclusive club of elite quarterbacks. While Ryan may have gained the respect of fans, players, and the media, the final piece of respect that he needs in order to be compared to the likes of Packers QB Aaron Rodgers or Saints QB Drew Brees is a hearty contract extension. By the looks of the Atlanta Falcons’ salary cap, the organization has the ability to give Ryan the contract extension he deserves. Ryan is the only star player who is up for an extension in the 2013 season, and even though star players like wide receiver Julio Jones, running back Jacquizz Rodgers, cornerback Asante Samuel, and linebacker Sean Weatherspoon all have contracts that expire after the 2014 season, the fact that the Falcons are currently about $20 million below their expected salary cap (according to Over-the-Cap) shows that the organization has the space to reward Ryan with a wealthy contract extension. The only factor that seems to stand in the way of the Falcons establishing Matt Ryan as an elite quarterback (at least in monetary terms) is the recent desire to acquire the seven-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle, Richard Seymour. Though the Falcons and Seymour were both interested, negotiations have subsided due to the inability of the two sides to reach a salary agreement. Though the addition of Seymour would help the Falcons’ defense, the inability of the Falcons to come to terms with Seymour alludes to the notion that they are holding out for an impressive contract for QB Matt Ryan. According to various reports, conversations have already occurred between Ryan and the Falcons’ organization with the expectation for negotiations to heat up just like the Atlanta weather after July 4th.
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Report: NBA exploring moving start of Finals up

Isaiah Thomas: Danny Ainge wants my input on free agents

Brian Matusz suspended eight games for substance on arm

Report: Ray McDonald arrested again for domestic violence

Baseball players in the military: A tribute


'Free Tom Brady' rally draws about 150 Patriots fans

LeBron's triple-double leads Cavs to win in OT thriller

Report: Adrian Peterson will skip Vikings first OTAs

Corey Brewer: We got our butt kicked, it was embarrassing

Brian Kelly hints Notre Dame will have fast offense

John Madden: Last play of Super Bowl will 'torment' Pete Carroll

The Talented Mr. Blatt

The curious case of Frank Kaminsky

Is the Cavs' Matthew Dellavedova a dirty player?

LeBron lifts Cavaliers to brink of Finals, but are they ready?

Will Phil Jackson give himself a chance to succeed with Knicks?

Most valuable non-QB for each NFL team

Federer unhappy with security after fan comes on court

WATCH: LeBron throws down ferocious dunk in traffic

WATCH: Al Horford ejected for elbowing Matthew Dellavedova

Seahawks fan starts GoFundMe for Russell Wilson's contract

Billy Donovan thanks Florida fans with full-page ad

WATCH: Daniel Cormier gets into it with Ryan Bader

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Could the NBA Finals be moved up?

The Talented Mr. Blatt

Is Dellavedova a dirty player?

Ballplayers in the military: A tribute

Most valuable non-QB for each NFL team

WATCH: LeBron's ferocious dunk in traffic

Kelly drops hint about ND offense

John Madden: Last SB play will 'torment' Carroll

Eight biggest surprises of the MLB season

Bryan Price ejected before first pitch

Vin Scully narrates marriage proposal

Pats fan's obituary defends Brady

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.