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Matt Ryan has no intention of leaving the NFL this offseason after a disappointing year with the Indianapolis Colts.
The 37-year-old is under contract one more season and is scheduled to receive a base salary of $19.2 million and a $10 million roster bonus in 2023.
“I still love to play,” he said told reporters Monday. “I think… obviously I’m under no obligation here or anywhere. I have to see how it develops [with the coaching search]. But I still love to play. To be honest, I still like that there’s a lot of good football in my body.”
Ryan’s future with the Colts, and perhaps the NFL as a whole, may not be in his hands.
His stock trended lower at the end of his run with the Atlanta Falcons, but no one predicted his rapid decline in 2022.
In 12 starts, the four-time Pro Bowler threw for 3,057 yards, 14 touchdowns and 13 interceptions, and he fumbled the ball 15 times. His 43.0 QBR ranked 25th among qualified quarterbacks, per ESPN.com.
At the very least, it’s hard to imagine Indianapolis bringing him back for 2023. He is said to be looking at $35.2 million against the cap. Cutting it before March 17 would trigger only $18 million in dead money while saving the remaining $17.2 million.
Even if Ryan had played better, a release would still make sense as the Colts desperately need a long-term plan at quarterback rather than going from one short-term stopgap to the next.
Assuming he’s not long after Indy, Ryan might not have many options elsewhere.
A quarterback with his experience and track record can be attractive to a competitor who needs a quick fix. Post 2022, however, one can wonder if his on-field returns are now so limited that they could effectively force him into retirement.
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