Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons reach 5-year contract extension

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. — Pro Bowl quarterback Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons have agreed to terms on a five-year contract extension.

Falcons spokesman Reggie Roberts said Thursday that the deal was being finalized as Ryan led the offense through practice Thursday on the first day of training camp.

A person familiar with the situation says Ryan’s extension is for $103.75 million deal, with $59 million guaranteed. The person says Ryan will average $20.75 million during the first three years of the extension. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the terms of the deal had not been announced.

“I’ve always not worried about the business side of it,” Ryan said at a press conference Thursday evening. “I’ve always thought as a player if you’re worrying about those sorts of things, you’re taking away from what you’re here for.

“I think for the most part I was confident that it would get done in a timely fashion. I think both sides were. I didn’t stress about it too much.”

Ryan, 28, is entering the sixth and final season of his original rookie contract and will earn a $10 million salary.

Ryan, the NFL’s No. 3 overall draft pick of 2008, last season was invited to the Pro Bowl for the second time. He completed 68.6 percent of his passes, tops in the NFL.

“I’d say right now that we’re real glad that we didn’t (draft a) defensive tackle with the third pick in 2008.” general manager Thomas Dimitroff said. “Matt provides us with all the leadership traits that we seek on the field and off the field as well.”

Coach Mike Smith agreed.

Matt has done some wonderful things as a football player since he got here in 2008. He’s a big reason for the success we’ve had. He’s made me a better football coach, and I look forward to working with him for a long, long time. I say it all the time — you win in the locker room first, and Matt has done a great job for us over the last five years.”

Ryan rallied Atlanta to victory six times last season, giving him 22 career game-winning drives in the fourth quarter or overtime — most in the league since he was named the league’s offensive rookie of the year in 2008.

The quarterback is 56-22 in his NFL career, but dropped to 1-4 in the playoffs after the Falcons lost the NFC title game at home to San Francisco six months ago.

Ryan’s agent, Tom Condon, also represents Drew Brees and Peyton Manning — veteran NFL quarterbacks who signed big contracts last year. The New Orleans Saints guaranteed Brees $60.5 million and the Denver Broncos guaranteed Manning $58 million.

Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco, who led the Ravens to a Super Bowl title in February, signed the richest contract in league history, a six-year deal worth $120.6 million that guarantees $52 million.

Flacco had leverage for a better contract because he was eligible to become an unrestricted free agent.

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