The Once Again title refers to an article I wrote last summer.
There are now two top draft picks signed from the 2008 NFL draft, both of which are clients of Tom Condon. A week before the draft, the number 1 pick Jake Long signed a 5 year $57.75 million deal with the Dolphins, $30 million of that was guaranteed. That deal also made Jake Long the highest paid offensive lineman in the NFL.
Matt Ryan, the number 3 pick, just signed a 6 year $72 million deal, with $34.75 million in guarantees, making Ryan the highest paid rookie ever. Ryan may not have been the first pick, but he sure was paid like one.
I don’t think it is so surprising that Ryan received a bigger contract than the number 1 pick, considering Long is an offensive tackle and Ryan is the top rated quarterback. But what is somewhat surprising is that his deal is bigger than last year’s number 1 pick: JaMarcus Russell.
Last season Russell and the Raiders came to terms on a 6 yr $61 deal, with $32 million in guarantees. But Russell had to holdout well into training camp to complete that deal. This mega deal for Matt Ryan speaks volumes of how much the Falcons love him.
I understand that every year teams have more money to operate with, and if Ryan was the top pick it would be very understandable. But to have the 3rd pick in this year, sign a considerably larger deal than last years top choice is surprising. There is no reason the 3rd pick should be paid more than a number 1.
I believe this deal has a lot to do with the Atlanta Falcons overall situation rather than just the potential of Matt Ryan. As we all know, the Falcons took a huge hit at both the quarterback position as well as from a PR standpoint. The Falcons made it a priority to get Ryan signed and in camp ready to compete for a starting position. Everyone saw the debacle the Raiders went through last season with Russell, and the Falcons just could not afford to make that same mistake. A rookie quarterback holding out of training camp all but eliminates his chances of seeing considerable playing time as a rookie. The Falcons know this, and know Chris Redman and Joey Harrington are not even close to the answer.
If a little bit of over-spending is necessary to get your future quarterback in camp and competing for a starting job, then so be it. The Atlanta Falcons made the right call by getting their guy signed, and once again Condon made another client a very rich man.