Matt Ryan Reveals How Long He’d Like to Play for Colts

The Indianapolis Colts quarterback carousel continued this offseason with the team acquiring Matt Ryan and shipping Carson Wentz to Washington. For the fifth time in five years under head coach Frank Reich, the Colts will start a different quarterback in Week 1.

With Ryan turning 37 years old in May, there’s no guarantee Ryan will last any longer than the previous four Colts quarterbacks. But clearly, Ryan is aiming to be in Indianapolis much longer than a single season.

When sports writer Peter King of NBC Sports asked the quarterback if he’s more likely to be “one-and-done” or “six-and-done” with the Colts, Ryan left little doubt which one he’d prefer.

“I would hope six-and-done! My mindset is not for one year. It’s really not,” Ryan said. “Still feel great. I still feel like I’m playing very well. Feel like camp has gone great. Obviously you never know what’s gonna happen. But I would say it’s more likely six than it is one.”

If Ryan plays six seasons with the Colts, he will be in the league through his aged-42 season.

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Ryan Tells King He Feels Re-Energized

Ryan built a Hall of Fame resume in 14 years with the Atlanta Falcons. He won a league MVP and led the Falcons to their first Super Bowl appearance in nearly two decades.

But Ryan didn’t lead Atlanta to even eight wins in any of his last four seasons with the team. The Falcons roster deteriorated around him over the last few years, and Ryan appeared to lose a step in 2021.

Now in Indianapolis, though, Ryan told King he feels pretty energized being on a new team. Not only from a football perspective, but Ryan says getting to know his new teammates has been invigorating.

“It’s not just a handful of new guys coming in, as I dealt with every year in Atlanta. For me, everyone’s new,” Ryan said. “You feel like you’re making new friends, getting a feel for the city and going around and meeting people.

“Then there’s an added challenge of learning players on the field that when you’ve played with guys for a long time, that doesn’t come up in OTAs.”

Ryan added that getting to know guys like Jonathan Taylor and Michael Pittman Jr.  has taken him back to when he was a rookie in 2008. Ryan also talked to King about adjusting to a new playbook.

King reported that Ryan hasn’t requested to incorporate anything he used to do in Atlanta into Indianapolis’ playbook. Instead, Ryan has simply been learning Reich’s playbook.

Ryan’s Restructured  Contract

After acquiring Ryan in March, the Colts converted $12 million of Ryan’s 2022 compensation into a signing bonus. ESPN’s Field Yates reported that created $6 million in salary cap space.

Spotrac reports Ryan’s cap hit for the Colts is $18.7 million for this upcoming season. But next year, Ryan’s cap number will be almost double — $35.2 million.

As of August 24, the Colts are ranked 10th in salary cap space for the 2023 season according to Spotrac. But with four expected starters set to become free agents — Quenton Nelson, Yannick Ngakoue, Matt Pryor and Brandon Facyson — the Colts are going to need as much salary cap space as possible.

One way to create more salary cap space would be for the Colts to extend Ryan with a new contract and lower his cap hit for 2023. Of course, whether Indianapolis will do that will depend on how well Ryan plays this fall; Indianapolis won’t want to kick salary too far down the road on a quarterback approaching 40.

But the Colts brass has also indicated this offseason that Ryan will not be a one-and-down quarterback in Indianapolis. Owner Jim Irsay said on April 30 that the organization views Ryan as “very possibly as a 3-year thing.”

While that’s technically still closer to one year than six, something will seemingly have to go wrong this fall in Indianapolis for Ryan not to be the team’s quarterback next year.

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