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Why the Colts cut Matt Ryan: Monster cap savings key to Indianapolis’ decision to move on from veteran QB

In the post-Andrew Luck era, the Indianapolis Colts have managed to convince themselves every year that they can compete. After taking swings on Jacoby Brissett, Philip Rivers and Carson Wentz, the team decided they needed another crack at hitting a home run.

Enter Matt Ryan. 

The former league MVP looked the part of a 37-year-old quarterback teetering on the edge of retirement. Ryan was being ushered out of Indianapolis before the season even ended — as he was benched by Frank Reich and then interim head coach Jeff Saturday, for Sam Ehlinger and Nick Foles.

Instead of knocking it out of the park, general manager Chris Ballard couldn’t help but strikeout again. Finally — after Ballard completed the NFL’s version of baseball’s golden sombrero, there was no other choice but to move on and rebuild. 

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After years of searching for a older veteran to steady the ship, the Colts have admitted defeat and appear primed to go down the draft route in next month’s draft.

Why did the Colts cut Matt Ryan?

It’s always the money. Ryan carried a $35 million cap hit into 2023 for his age-38 season. By choosing to cut Ryan, the Colts freed up another $17 million in cap space. Couple that with the Stephon Gilmore trade the team made earlier today and suddenly, the Colts have freed up an additional $27.1 million in space to work with. 

Ryan posted a career-low in touchdowns, 14, and a career-high in fumbles, 15, in addition to completing 67 percent of his passes. He threw 13 interceptions and passed for 3,057 yards in 12 starts. 

The former Falcon might instead opt for retirement, thanks to a clause negotiated into his contract that will pay Ryan $12 million, whether he plays or not, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

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Ryan spent part of the NFL Playoffs in the CBS studio, taking part in their pregame coverage. There is no indication whether he will opt for a media role going forward, but the 15-year veteran could hang up his cleats if no team comes calling.  


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