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Colin Cowherd Stirring Matt Ryan Controversy

Colin Cowherd had a segment on his show where he made the case for the Atlanta Falcons to keep Matt Ryan and not draft a quarterback at No. 4.

Cowherd has a lot of air time to fill every day, so he can get a bit long in his discussions and trying to make a point, but yesterday, he made the case for Matt Ryan as a plus quarterback in the NFL.

It’s a solid case. Matt Ryan is a plus quarterback in this league. Ryan gives Atlanta the best chance to win over the next two seasons.

He says that new general manager Terry Fontenot wants to draft a quarterback, and new head coach Arthur Smith wants to go with Matt Ryan. He later mentions Fontenot as “wanting to get rid of” Ryan.

It’s a bit of a straw-man argument that he’s making, because one can be pro Matt Ryan AND want to draft the quarterback of the future.

Matt Ryan will be 36 years old heading into the 2021 season. If the Falcons improve like they should, there may not be a time where they have a chance to draft an elite quarterback prospect without giving up a TON of draft capital. It cost the San Francisco 49ers three first round picks and a third round pick to move up to No. 3 in this draft.

That’s the value of a franchise quarterback prospect.

If Fontenot and Smith are successful doing their jobs in Atlanta, the Falcons won’t be picking in the Top 5 again for a long time, and even then there’s no guarantee that there will be one quarterback with the tools that at least five have in this draft.

We’ve said for a long time that if Justin Fields is available at No. 4, the Falcons should take him. That’s not a condemnation of Matt Ryan’s ability, only recognition of his age and limited time left in his career.

Trading down would be ideal for the Falcons this year. With so many holes to fill and limited space under the salary cap, adding high draft picks would be a plus. Fontenot has signaled his willingness to deal, and teams like the Dallas Cowboys could be interested.

While Cowherd is painting a picture of friction between Fontenot and Smith, he’s not taking into account that it is possible to want to draft a quarterback and keep Matt Ryan.

Scott Kennedy
Scott Kennedy is an Atlanta native and 20 year media veteran including time as Director of Scouting at, Managing Editor at 247Sports, VP Content Operations at Sports Illustrated and more. Scott has appeared as a recruiting and NFL Draft analyst on dozens of media including ESPN, NFL Network, USA Today, NY Times, and more.