New coaches, new GMs and ageing quarterbacks

There’ll be two teams going into the off season with spots to fill at both GM and coach and quarterbacks who would be considered veteran. Both the Falcons and the Lions have parted ways with front office and head coaches. The Falcons have Matt Ryan (35) installed as long term quarterback, the Lions have Matthew Stafford (32). Both have multiple years left on their contracts and in todays market, their salaries aren’t astronomical, but they aren’t cheap either; Ryan’s hit on the cap this year is $18m but next year that goes up to $41m. Stafford’s cap hit is $22m this year and a smidgen under $35m in 2021. (contract details from

The question asked is, what will happen to both. They’re both cornerstone pieces of their respective teams, the definition of ‘franchise quarterbacks’ but whilst Ryan has been to a Super Bowl and won a league MVP.

When you look at their career stats as quarterbacks then there really is not a lot of difference:

Pass Completion Rate65.4%62.5%
Total TDs338274
TDs per game1.691.71
Total INTs155142
INT Rate2.1%2.3%
Total Yards54,24943,901
Yards per game271274
Stats per ESPN and correct as of 3rd December 2020

Both have had likely future Hall of Fame wide receivers to pass to in their time in Calvin Johnson and Julio Jones. Ryan also benefited from having tight end Tony Gonzalez and Roddy White for a number of years. Outside of the emergence of Kenny Golladay in Detroit you’ll be hard pressed to find other weapons that match those two (and don’t get me started on the lack of running game in Detroit for years and years)

Whoever the new GMs are that come in, the first thing they’re likely to do is look at where their respective teams are picking the draft. Unfortunately for both with 4-7 records they’re picking around the 9 or 10 spot currently – probably not enough to get you one of the top three QBs of Trevor Lawrence, Justin Fields or Trey Lance. A Zach Wilson or Kyle Trask could be an option though, but as with every draft, the GM needs to weigh up the risk of a new QB versus what they’ve got and if I’m outside that top five position I’d stick (and even if I were inside, I’d have a serious thoughts about strengthening elsewhere whilst looking later on for a long time successor).

There is also the coach to consider in who they bring in. Again though the GM could (and probably should) have influence there – depending on which position gets filled first by the respective owners. It would be futile to match either of these quarterbacks with a Greg Roman who’s had good success with very mobile quarterbacks such as Kaepernick and Lamar Jackson. Both can move, but not like that!

If the new GMs were to move on from the veterans, what would they expect to get in terms of draft value? Well, given the influx of maybe five quarterbacks into the first round of the draft next year you might say that their value would be diminished. There are teams outside the top ten that might consider bringing one of them in though. The 49ers could manufacture a reunion between Matt Ryan and Kyle Shanahan – a combination that took the Falcon’s to the Super Bowl. The Saints will be on the lookout for a replacement to Drew Brees if we’re to believe that Taysom Hill isn’t the long term answer. Who knows what will happen between the Cowboys and Dak. And there are plenty more such as the Patriots, Bears, Broncos (maybe) or the Giants if Daniel Jones isn’t the answer. I would say for either Stafford or Ryan, you’d be looking at a 2nd or 3rd round pick. If it’s any less then throw in another player as well (a 5th and Garoppolo was mentioned on our last podcast for the 49ers to get Stafford).

Will they move on? I doubt it. They’re both solid options at the position, top 15 QBs in the league on their day and both teams have needs elsewhere which the future GMs should address first (pass rush for both for example!)

Main Image: “Matt Ryan” by Brook-Ward is licensed with CC BY-NC 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit

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