DULUTH, Ga. — Matt Ryan isn’t focusing on contract talks as he appears destined to become the NFL’s next $100 million quarterback.
The six-year, $66 million contract Ryan signed with Atlanta as a rookie in 1998 expires after the 2013 season. General manager Thomas Dimitroff recently said the Falcons hope to finalize a new deal with Ryan before the season.
Ryan said Monday that the timetable “is not something I worry about.”
“I understand the nature of the business and how everything operates,” he said at his Matt Ryan Celebrity Am Classic at TPC Sugarloaf. “At the same time, my focus has always been to just try to prepare myself to just play and let all the other stuff take care of itself.”
Ryan led the Falcons to the NFC championship game last season – his fourth appearance in the playoffs in his five seasons.
Drew Brees, Tony Romo and Joe Flacco have recently signed five- or six-year deals worth at least $100 million. As the most recent Super Bowl winner, Flacco became the game’s highest-paid player with his $120.6 million deal.
Dimitroff has said Ryan “isn’t worried about it right now because he knows there is something around the corner, as we do. I am hoping that we can agree to something going into the season.”
Coach Mike Smith said last month at the NFL owners’ meeting that he expects Ryan to be the team’s long-term leader.
“From my point of view, we all know that Matt Ryan is going to be the quarterback for a long time in the Atlanta Falcons organization,” Smith said. “He undoubtedly in my mind is an elite quarterback. He’s played that way through his first five years.”
Ryan isn’t looking to leave the Falcons.
“I want to be here in Atlanta,” he said. “I love this place. I love the organization and I’m sure it will take care of itself.”
The Falcons have already made changes in the offseason.
“I think Thomas and his staff have done a great job this offseason,” Ryan said. “You never like to see people go, especially when you have such great guys like Dunta (Robinson), John Abraham and Michael Turner who have been extremely productive for us. You move on, that’s part of the business, and I think they’ve done a great job addressing some of the areas they felt like they needed to address.”