Falcons fans split over Matt Ryan trade, more confident after narrow win over Lions

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Despite an unbalanced defeat against the 49ers in week 15, the Atlanta Falcons are still very much alive in the playoff race. While it will take a little bit of magic, like a 2-0 finish against the Bills and Saints and several other Wild Card contenders who lose the rest of the way, it’s still possible for Atlanta to reach the playoffs. That’s quite a feat for a team considered the worst in the league by DVOA.

After a victory over the lowly Detroit Lions In Week 16, the Falcons improved to 7-8. That’s already a 3-win improvement from 2020 with what looks to be an overall worse list. While Arthur Smith certainly deserves his fair share of criticism for the offensive struggles, he also deserves a few props for consistently beating bad teams on the schedule.

After the win over Detroit, we again asked Falcons fans to take our SB Nation Reacts poll. We asked fans about their confidence in the leadership of the team, as always, but also asked a question on a topic that has been raised a lot in recent weeks: Should Atlanta consider swapping Matt Ryan this offseason?

It’s no surprise, but Falcons fans are pretty divided over their preference for Ryan. Currently, fans seem to prefer trying to swap Ryan in the offseason: 55% said they would support such a swap, while 45% would rather keep Ryan.

I can certainly see the appeal for both sides. With Aaron Rodgers reportedly planning to stay in Green Bay and Deshaun Watson’s legal situation still unresolved, the once promising QB trading market has cooled considerably. If Atlanta was interested in putting Ryan on the bench, this might be a good time to do it. Much would depend on trade compensation, as the Falcons would need to eat $ 40 million deadcap – although they would save another $ 8 million – and have no other quarterback options on the roster. .

With Ryan only under contract until 2023, the team has the decision to take this offseason. Atlanta options are limited. An extension is the best way to remove the cap over the next few years, but would add a lot more guaranteed money to Ryan’s contract. An empty-year restructuring could wipe out as much as $ 11 million this year, but would continue to expand caps in the future. A trade could bring in significant assets, but doing it before June 1 only saves $ 8 million. Movements after June 1 would save a lot more money (around $ 22-25 million), but it’s hard to close a deal that late.

We also asked fans about their confidence in the leadership of the team after Sunday’s win over Detroit.

The Lions’ victory gave Falcons fans a little boost, rising to 64% confidence in the team’s leadership. It’s a nice rebound after confidence plummeted into the 50s following the loss to San Francisco. As you can see from the graph, fan confidence has been ubiquitous this season, largely due to the team’s nearly 0.500 record and high and low style of play.

With two games to go in the season, there is still an opportunity for Atlanta to end with a winning record and possibly even sneak into the 7th seed. The Falcons will need to pull off the upheaval against the Bills – a game in which they’re around 14 underdogs – then complete the sweep on the hated Saints. I won’t say it’s likely, but it is possible!

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