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What Matt Ryan’s contract says about his future with the Colts

The Colts have made a bold move in the middle of the playoff race.

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The Indianapolis Colts have benched quarterback Matt Ryan and replaced him with Sam Ehlinger ahead of their Week 8 home game against the Washington Commanders. There were a lot of voices in the room making the decision, but whomever made the final call, the decision is done and we might have seen the last of Ryan on the field for the Colts.

Ryan’s contract calls for a $12,705,882 base salary in 2022 with all of it fully guaranteed. He signed for one more year with a $19,205,882 base salary in 2023 and a $10 million roster bonus. $12 million of the base salary is fully guaranteed while the remaining base salary and the full roster bonus have injury guarantees.

Pro Football Talk noted that the $17,205,882 that is guaranteed for injury and becomes fully guaranteed if Ryan suffers an injury that prevents him from passing a physical by the third day of the 2023 league year next March. The amounts become guaranteed at that point and a failed physical would prevent the team from avoiding those guarantees.

It’s possible the Colts eventually decide nobody else on the roster is the answer and it’s time to go back to Ryan. That seems highly unlikely given what we’ve heard and seen to date. PFT speculated on whether we see him traded or if a roster cut happens at a timely spot when another team would claim his contract off waivers.

The Colts remain firmly in the thick of the AFC playoff race. They’re 3-3-1 and sitting in ninth place, just outside the wild card race. It’s a bold move to bench Ryan, and at this point, it seems like backup Nick Foles has a better shot at getting on the field than Ryan.