After earning MVP recognition with one of the most efficient seasons in NFL history, Matt Ryan's statistical production dipped slightly in 2017. Although his numbers dropped, Ryan's overall level of play remained at a very high level and at least one reporter believes he will bounce back in 2018.
Joining "NFL Total Access" this week, NFL Network reporter Steve Wyche explained why, among all of the quarterbacks who signed big deals over the offseason, Ryan is the one who will justify the money the Falcons spent.
"I'm going with Matt Ryan," Wyche said. "I'm going with the guy who's making the most cheddar, because I look at the fact that in Year 1 when he had Kyle Shanahan his numbers were very pedestrian: 21 touchdowns, 16 interceptions – 'What's wrong with Matt Ryan?' Comes back the next year and wins the MVP. Year 1 with Steve Sarkisian last year: 20 touchdowns, 12 picks – 'What's wrong with Matt Ryan?' I think he's coming back. I think they're going to take care of Julio, he's going to be fired up. We know all of the weapons but Mike, defensively, the Falcons are loaded. And if they can increase their takeaways, Matt Ryan is going to have plenty more short fields to operate on."
The Falcons signed Ryan to a five-year, $150 million contract this offseason, making him the highest-paid player in the NFL. Atlanta's investment in Ryan is as much about their belief in his future as it is his success in the past. The holder of nearly every franchise passing record, Ryan helped usher in an era of sustained achievement the team had never seen prior to selecting him third overall in the 2008 NFL Draft.
Although NFL Network analyst Michael Robinson chose San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo as the player he believes offers the most return on investment, he did say that out of the quarterbacks recently signed to big deals Ryan is the one "that could possibly get a championship before the other ones."