Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay eyes multi-year future with Matt Ryan at quarterback

INDIANAPOLIS — The Colts aren’t viewing new starting quarterback Matt Ryan as a band-aid for a year in the role, owner Jim Irsay said Saturday.

The addition of Ryan from Atlanta in March could have initially been compared to when the Colts signed veteran Philip Rivers for a year in 2020 until they hopefully found their long-term answer to the post. But if Irsay gets his way, Ryan will be their starter for the next few seasons.

“Matt is different from Philip, it’s definitely different from that,” Irsay said. “It’s not Andrew Luck’s writing, but it’s different from Philip. We knew Philip was going to be a sort of one-year thing and we view that as most likely a three-year thing. Who knows . It’s hard to put a number on that.”

The Colts wanted to sever ties with Carson Wentz so badly after just one season that they traded him to the Washington Commanders without knowing who their starter would be next season. Indianapolis was out of the game for Ryan until the Falcons tried to land Deshaun Watson from Houston. Watson elected to be traded to Cleveland, but the Falcons knew they had to leave Ryan after 14 seasons with the franchise.

The Colts traded a 2022 second-round pick and a 2022 seventh-round pick to the Commanders for Washington’s 2022 second-round pick, 2022 third-round pick and a conditional 2023 third-round pick for Wentz .

“Part of the problem going forward was that there were no clear answers when we walked away from Carson,” Irsay said. “That was the biggest dilemma. I really emphasized that it was essential that we looked at it that way, the cold, hard reality that we would find answers for.”

Ryan’s presence has already been felt within the Colts organization in a short time. Offensive coordinator Marcus Brady said Ryan, the NFL’s most valuable player of 2016, was “almost a coach to himself” during the team’s offseason practices.

“I can’t say enough about Matt Ryan,” Irsay said. “There’s no way I can sit here and explain to you, unless you’re watching [general manager] Chris [Ballard] and [coach] Franc [Reich] and different people in this organization are watching and seeing the difference that’s happening right now because Matt Ryan is in this building. His professionalism, his stature still at 36 and coming here and we’re really lucky.”

The Colts will feel good if they manage to secure multiple seasons of Ryan, 36, as it will give them time to try and find their next franchise quarterback after the Wentz experiment turned out to be a gigantic failure. .

“We’re hoping Matt can be here for four years, maybe,” Irsay said. “We certainly have our radar for a young man who can be the long-term future.”

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