The Indianapolis Colts are reportedly benching veteran quarterback Matt Ryan in favor of second-year quarterback Sam Ehlinger indefinitely—as it appears the franchise is prepared to quickly move on from the struggling aged starter at season’s end.
It now raises the question of what the salary cap implications will be after the Colts recently re-worked Ryan’s contract this past offseason shortly after acquiring the former league MVP and longtime Atlanta Falcons quarterback:
When the trade went down, Matt Ryan received a contract adjustment. Now, $24.7M this year is fully guaranteed and $12M was fully guaranteed in 2023, plus an additional $17.2M that is guaranteed for injury becomes fully guaranteed 3rd day of 2023 league year. https://t.co/PimaH3lnX1— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) October 24, 2022
Thanks to ColtsCapKyle, look no further:
Matt Ryan 2023 cap number: $35.2 million— Kyle Rapoza (@ColtscapKyle) October 24, 2022
Dead money- $18 million
IF he retires (before 3/18)- only $6 million dead money
It’s going to be a significant salary cap hit for the Colts unless Ryan elects to retire all together with his wife and two small children.
Something that’s not completely out of the realm of possibility given that Ryan would likely be competing and not handed a starting job in 2023—for any NFL team. He might decide to hang up the cleats for good rather than serve as a journeyman in his career’s twilight—having previously only played for the Falcons franchise before joining the Colts this season.
In fact, Ryan might even be relegated to a top veteran backup quarterback option at this late stage of his playing career—meaning the options to extend his football days may not be all that abundant or optimistic.
At any rate, the Colts are now taking the opportunity to see what they have with Ehlinger and whether he can be a potential long-term solution at the position.
Worst case, the Colts are now firmly in a rebuild and should Ehlinger struggle, can improve their draft position to select a top rookie quarterback in next year’s draft class—something that has already been long overdue the past few seasons.
That future highly touted quarterback prospect may be joining the Colts, accompanied by a very large Matt Ryan cap hit however in 2023.