On multiple occasions, Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff has stated the team's foremost priority this offseason is a contract extension for quarterback Matt Ryan, the NFL's MVP in 2016.
While he'd like for a deal to be done sooner rather than later, he knows that it doesn't always work out that way.
"I'm not concerned," Dimitroff said when asked about Ryan's contract at the NFL combine in Indianapolis on Wednesday. "Like I've said before, our focus is on Matt and getting him secured here for years to come. He wants to be with us, we want him to be here. As I've said, I don't think it's a complicated situation. I think it's a significant situation. He's a very important part to the organization. There's no timeframe on it right now.
"I think you would like to go into the season making sure that things are secured but there's no timeframe as far as people saying, 'Well, do you want to get this done before free agency?' Of course you'd like to get it done tomorrow, just because it's a load off your mind."
There are a few different reasons why getting a deal done quickly could benefit the Falcons. Quarterback contracts continue to get larger, and that is expected to remain the case with players like Aaron Rodgers, Kirk Cousins and Ryan in line to get new deals. Most recently, Jimmy Garoppolo became the highest-paid player in the NFL after signing a five-year $137.5 million deal with the 49ers - and he's only started seven games in his entire career.
Each new record-setting deal for a quarterback only provides an agent with a new number for his client to beat.
"We're very aware of what's going on, and I think a lot of quarterbacks right now are really honed in on what's going to be happening in the future," Dimitroff said.
Dimitroff has also said he believes an extension for Ryan will help free up salary cap space for the Falcons to re-sign some of their other players in the near future. That flexibility could also open up more options in free agency. If one goal of Ryan's extension is to create more flexibility with the salary cap, it provides the Falcons with another incentive to reach an agreement quickly.
"Matt Ryan's situation has some play in dictating where we are and how creative we are in either free agency or re-signing some of our other players," Dimitroff said. "We have some tough decisions to make, of course. Anytime you're signing a top-tier quarterback you're going to be faced with some complications, and that's just the way it is."