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The Journal Gazette

  • Associated Press Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan will become the NFL's first $100 million man, thanks to a five-year contract extension.

Friday, May 04, 2018 1:00 am

Falcons make Ryan game's richest QB

PAUL NEWBERRY | Associated Press

ATLANTA – Matt Ryan is the NFL's first $100 million man.

The Atlanta Falcons quarterback became the league's highest-paid player Thursday by agreeing to a five-year contract extension that could be worth as much as $150 million.

A person familiar with the deal, speaking on condition of anonymity because the terms were not released, confirmed that Ryan is assured of receiving at least $100 million. That surpasses the total compensation of the $84 million, three-year guaranteed deal that quarterback Kirk Cousins received from Minnesota.

If Ryan receives the full terms of the contract, he would receive an average of $30 million a year, also more than Cousin's $28 million yearly payout.

Cousins' deal set the target for Ryan's negotiations with the Falcons, though it might be a short stay at No. 1.

The Green Bay Packers are trying to complete a new deal quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who will likely be looking to surpass Ryan's figure.

That's of no concern to the Falcons, who took care of their major offseason priority by locking up Ryan once his current deal expires after the 2018 season. He'll make $19.25 million in the final year of that contract.

“This extension was our primary focus this offseason,” general manager Thomas Dimitroff said in a statement. “Matt has been a pillar of stability for this franchise for a decade, and it is a great feeling knowing that he will remain at our helm for five more years.”

Ryan was the third overall draft pick in 2008 and has been the Falcons' starting quarterback ever since. He has missed only two starts over the first decade of his career, passing for 41,796 yards with 260 TDs while being voted to the Pro Bowl four times.

No quarterback has passed for more yards in the first 10 seasons of his career.

“It's hard to believe it's been 10 years already,” said Ryan, who will turn 33 in a couple of weeks. “While we have accomplished a lot, our goal remains what it was the day I got drafted, and that's to bring a championship to our city and fans.”

Ryan, the league MVP in 2016, guided Atlanta to only the second Super Bowl appearance in franchise history. But the Falcons squandered a 28-3 lead late in the third quarter, losing to New England 34-28 in overtime.

This past season, the Falcons earned a wild-card berth and pulled off a first-round upset of the Rams in Los Angeles before falling to the eventual Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles in the divisional round.