Would Matt Ryan be a good fit for the Arizona Cardinals in 2023?
The Arizona Cardinals front office should consider signing Matt Ryan, especially now that the other quality free agent quarterbacks have gone elsewhere.
After almost two weeks into the free agent signing period, most of the quarterbacks that were coveted will continue their careers with new teams with new opportunities to continue and possibly renew their careers. Baker Mayfield signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as he will be the man to succeed Tom Brady after a very successful tenure in Tampa.
Sam Darnold's career hasn't been spectacular to say the least, but he will continue his career as a member of the San Francisco 49ers next season and entering the season as their starting quarterback is a real possibility if Brock Purdy or Trey Lance aren't ready to go. Former 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo will be the Las Vegas Raiders signal caller next season as he agreed to a three-year deal worth over $72 million.
So, with many of the top options already signed, what are the Cardinals plans entering next season? One intriguing option for general manager Monti Ossenfort to consider is Matt Ryan. Many may consider Ryan to be old and washed up, but that's far from the truth and it's believed that he could still help a team in some capacity even if it's in a role as a back up.
Let's not forget that he did win MVP back in 2016 while leading the Falcons to the Super Bowl. Ryan is far from an average player and he may be exactly what the Cardinals need.
Why Matt Ryan is a good fit for the Arizona Cardinals
As an aging veteran, Ryan is no longer considered a top tier player at his position, but he could still serve as a mentor on a team with a young quarterback. This would be an idea situation for the 37-year-old, and the Cardinals as Ryan could provide professionalism and leadership while serving as the perfect example for Kyler Murray as he goes through rehab.
Ryan played in 12 games as a member of the Indianapolis Colts, and while he had a mediocre season by his normal standards, his numbers really wasn't as bad as some of the other starters around the league, but disappointing nonetheless. More than likely, Ryan won't demand a high salary and should be satisfied just to be on an NFL roster.
He is a smart player who takes what defenses give him, but he is only effective if his offensive line holds up. That was mostly the issue in Indy, as he was the seventh-most sacked quarterback in the NFL, and played in three less games than Russell Wilson and Justin Fields, who were sacked more than any other quarterbacks.
If Ryan can come in and perform well enough, the Cardinals could surprise a lot of people. Ryan performs best when when he is backed by a stellar run game at his disposal where he can implement the play-action pass.
The Cardinals have plenty of weapons who Ryan can spread the ball around to. They have one of the best receivers in the NFL with Deandre Hopkins (if he stays in the desert), a legitimate speed threat in Marquise Brown, the versatile Rondale Moore, the highly underrated Greg Dortch, and tight end Zach Ertz as a safety valve at tight end.
In order for Ryan to be successful, the Cardinals offensive line must give him time in the pocket in order for him to go through his progressions. Also, his running backs have to be effective with every carry in order for opposing defenses to respect the play-action pass.
Without these two things working for him, Ryan will be forced to make plays while scrambling which isn't exactly his strong suit. If the offensive line breaks down and if he is under duress, it will lead to inconsistency, bad throws and turnovers.
Ryan must also trust the playmakers that he has around him. Last season in Indy, he oftentimes made too many safe throws at crucial times in the game, especially when they were playing from behind as he missed out on opportunities to make game changing plays by throwing to his receivers on shorter routes, or checking down to the running back. With the right coaching and the correct scheme, it all can be fixed.
The vision would be for Ryan to keep the Cardinals respectable until Murray is healthy enough to assume the starting role. If he is able to do that, especially in the ultra competitive NFC West, then he could possibly prolong his career a little longer and even earn a starting role with another team if he proves himself.