Falcons sign Ryan to $72M contract
By Peter King, SI.com
In a stunning contract sure to have ramifications up and down the first round of the NFL draft, the Atlanta Falcons have signed QB Matt Ryan, the third pick in April's draft, to a six-year, $72 million contract with a hefty $34.75 million bonus.
The Falcons obviously wanted to get Ryan in camp without a holdout. The franchise is eager to lift black cloud that has hung over the franchise since Michael Vick was jailed in a shocking dogfighting case and coach Bobby Petrino jilted the team with three games left in the season, leaving for Arkansas.
Ryan is expected to compete for the starting job with Falcon roster holdovers Joey Harrington and Chris Redman. Obviously, it's only a matter of time before he wins the job as Atlanta's quarterback of the future.
NFL teams had been trying to hold down rookie salaries this year, and Miami's signing of No. 1 pick Jake Long to a reported five-year, $57.75 million contract with $30 million guaranteed was a step in the right direction because it contained approximately the same guaranteed money as last year's top pick, JaMarcus Russell, received from the Oakland Raiders. But $34 million guaranteed for the third pick will surely draw the ire of other teams and general managers trying to hold the line.