Veteran quarterback Matt Ryan will play his first prime time game of the season on Thursday when his Indianapolis Colts take on the Denver Broncos.
One of the talking points for commentators and fans will be Ryan’s big move in the offseason. He was traded by the Atlanta Falcons to the Colts after 14 seasons and a Super Bowl appearance.
Here’s a look at how that trade went down:
Why was Matt Ryan traded?
Ryan’s time with the Falcons came to an end largely because of his team’s pursuit of Deshaun Watson, according to ESPN. As top officials courted the controversial quarterback, Ryan began making an exit plan.
“Ryan never has publicly expressed anything more than slight irritation about this,” the article said.
But Ryan’s friends and supporters have done so on his behalf, noting that he didn’t deserve to be tossed aside. He had deep roots in the Atlanta community, and had hoped to play for the team for his full career.
“Nobody wants to go through that and feel disrespected,” said Todd McClure, a longtime friend of Ryan’s and retired Falcon, to ESPN. “I love my Falcons, but the way that whole deal went down was a slap in the face.”
When was Matt Ryan traded?
Ryan was ultimately traded in March, about a month before the 2022 NFL draft. The Falcons received a third-round draft pick in exchange for the quarterback, which they used on linebacker DeAngelo Malone.
Ryan has acknowledged that he essentially hand-picked his trade destination, after doing research into which teams have a legitimate chance to win the Super Bowl.
“When the notion of a trade finally became real, Ryan sought to land someplace that would enable him to compete for a championship. After his own exhaustive research — including culling intel from former Colts quarterback Peyton Manning — there was just a singular answer in Ryan’s estimation: the Colts,” ESPN reported.
When will Matt Ryan retire?
After the trade, the Colts restructured Ryan’s contract, but they did not extend it. He’s currently under contract through 2023.
Ryan, who, at 37, is one of the oldest active NFL players, has said he isn’t sure yet when he’ll retire, and that he’ll play as long as his body will allow him to.
“As long as I feel good and feel like I can play well, I’m going to try and play,” he said in March, according to the Indy Star.
Ryan and the Colts are off to a 1-2-1 start this season.