INDIANAPOLIS — The Indianapolis Colts have been squarely focused on the future of their quarterback position.
And that future is not expected to include Matt Ryan.
Indianapolis is planning to release the veteran quarterback and 2016 NFL Most Valuable Player, a team source confirmed to ESPN on Tuesday, which will bring an end to a disappointing single season as the Colts’ starter.
The move comes just days before Ryan was due a $10 million roster bonus on Friday and will clear more than $17 million in salary cap space.
Ryan and the Colts agreed to a restructured contract last year that called for $12 million of his 2023 base salary to be guaranteed, meaning the Colts will remain on the hook for that sum.
Ryan was traded to Indianapolis in March 2022 from his longtime team, the Atlanta Falcons. But the Colts’ decision, widely lauded as a savvy move at the time, turned out to be ill-fated. They went 4-12-1 last season, and Ryan was benched on two occasions — once for Sam Ehlinger and then for Nick Foles.
The Colts finished the season 31st in scoring largely because of their poor quarterback play.
Left undetermined is whether Ryan plans to continue playing. Ryan, who turns 38 in May, said following the season that he’d like to consider his options. But he added that he wanted to step away and take a break before making any final decisions.
Whatever he decides, Ryan’s legacy is secure. He’s one of just two players in league history with 10 consecutive seasons of at least 4,000 passing yards. He’ll be most remembered for quarterbacking the Falcons team that succumbed to the New England Patriots after initially holding a 28-3 lead in Super Bowl LI, but he also turned in his best season that year.
Ryan ranks seventh in career passing yards (62,792), ninth in passing touchdowns (381), fifth in completions (5,551) and seventh in passing yards per game (268.3). Ryan, the Falcons’ all-time leading passer, will go down as one of the franchise’s finest players. He’s far and away the franchise leader in passing yards, touchdown passes and quarterback wins.
The four-time Pro Bowl selection and 2008 Offensive Rookie of the Year is also renowned for his durability; he’s missed just three games because of injury in his career.
WSB-TV in Atlanta first reported on the Colts’ decision to release Ryan.