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NFL notes: Falcons QB Matt Ryan gets five-year contract extension; Cowboys’ Jason Witten retires

Matt Ryan is the NFL’s first $100 million man. The Atlanta Falcons quarterback became the league’s highest-paid player Thursday by agreeing to a five-year contract extension that could be worth as much as $150 million.

A person familiar with the deal, speaking to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the terms were not released, confirmed that Ryan is assured of receiving at least $100 million. That surpasses the total compensation of the $84-million, three-year guaranteed deal that quarterback Kirk Cousins received from the Minnesota Vikings.

If Ryan receives the full terms of the contract, he would receive an average of $30 million a year, also more than Cousin’s $28 million yearly payout.

Cousins’ stunning deal set the target for Ryan’s negotiations with the Falcons, though it might be a short stay at No. 1.

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The Green Bay Packers are trying to complete a new deal with their franchise quarterback, Aaron Rodgers, who will likely be looking to surpass Ryan’s figure.

That’s of no concern to the Falcons, who took care of their major offseason priority by locking up Ryan once his current deal expires after the 2018 season. He’ll make $19.25 million in the final year of that contract.

“This extension was our primary focus this offseason,” general manager Thomas Dimitroff said in a statement. “Matt has been a pillar of stability for this franchise for a decade, and it is a great feeling knowing that he will remain at our helm for five more years.”

Ryan was the third overall draft pick in 2008 and has been the Falcons’ starting quarterback ever since. He has only missed two starts over the first decade of his career, passing for 41,796 yards with 260 touchdowns while begin voted to the Pro Bowl four times.

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No quarterback has passed for more yards in the first 10 seasons of his career.

“It’s hard to believe it’s been 10 years already,” said Ryan, who will turn 33 in a couple of weeks. “While we have accomplished a lot, our goal remains what it was the day I got drafted, and that’s to bring a championship to our city and fans.”

Witten retires to broadcast booth

Jason Witten is retiring after 15 years with the Dallas Cowboys, choosing the TV booth just as friend and longtime teammate Tony Romo did a year ago.

Witten says the “time has come to pass the torch.”

Just days from turning 36, Witten walks away as the leader in games, catches and yards receiving for a franchise with five Super Bowl wins, but none since the 1995 season. He and Tony Gonzalez are the only tight ends in NFL history with at least 1,000 catches and 10,000 yards.

Witten is tied with Ed “Too Tall” Jones, Bill Bates and the late Mark Tuinei for most seasons by a Dallas player. He’s the only one of those four without a Super Bowl.

Witten was flanked by Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and coach Jason Garrett as he announced the decision.

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Etc.

Defensive tackle Akeem Spence has been acquired by the Miami Dolphins from the Detroit Lions for a late-round draft pick in 2019. The Dolphins swung the deal announced Thursday to plug a hole created when they released five-time Pro Bowl tackle Ndamukong Suh for salary cap reasons. …

An arrest warrant for New York Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson for skipping a court hearing stemming from an alleged Florida traffic violation has been rescinded. Broward County court records show a judge cancelled the warrant Thursday, two days after it was issued. Details weren’t immediately available and his attorney, Ed O’Donnell, didn’t immediately return a call and email from the Associated Press. The charge stems from a January incident in Sunrise, Florida, when Anderson was charged on nine counts. The original felony charge of fleeing and eluding police with lights and sirens active was reduced on April 7 to misdemeanor reckless driving.


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