Earlier this week, NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported that veteran quarterback Matt Ryan and star wide receiver Julio Jones will likely remain with the Atlanta Falcons, largely because their contracts are, mathematically speaking, nearly impossible to trade this offseason.
During a Thursday appearance on NFL Network, Falcons owner Arthur Blank appeared to confirm Pelissero's story.
"I’d be shocked, completely shocked if he is not. It really has nothing to do with his contract. Matt has played at a very high level for us since 2008 when we drafted him," Blank said, per Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk. "Matt can still play at a very high level, so we expect him to be a Falcon next year, fully. Same question was raised regarding Julio Jones, and we expect Julio to be a Falcon next year and play at a very high level as well. . . . They’ll both be with us."
The Falcons would suffer a dead money cap hit of more than $44 million upon cutting or trading Ryan before June 1, and Jones' dead money cap value is at more than $38 million for the 2021 season.
Those numbers would not necessarily prevent the Falcons from drafting Ryan's future replacement. Walter Football and multiple CBS Sports analysts predict Atlanta will select a quarterback with the fourth pick of the upcoming NFL Draft.