ATLANTA — The Falcons are moving on from the Matt Ryan era, a league source tells 11Alive.
The Falcons are finalizing a trade of the longtime franchise quarterback, the Indianapolis Colts.
Ryan was due to receive a $7.5 million bonus if he remained on the Falcons' roster past 4 p.m. Monday, and there was wide speculation the team would move to trade the quarterback before that bonus kicked in.
In a statement, Falcons owner Arthur Blank said Ryan "has been the epitome of a franchise quarterback during his time here in Atlanta" and "represented this organization with great class, professionalism and leadership, both on and off the field, over the past 14 years."
Falcons coach Arthur Smith said in his own statement he had "so much respect for Matt Ryan" and was "thankful for our time together," with the trade signaling "another step" in trying to "improve our team for the long term."
The team later announced it had agreed to sign quarterback Marcus Mariota to a two-year contract as Ryan's evident replacement.
Monday's deal marks an end to a remarkable career in Atlanta for "Matty Ice." Ryan, according to ESPN's Schefter, "just felt like the time had come to move on from Atlanta" and agreed to a trade to Indianapolis "because he felt like the Colts have a roster that's built to win now."
By contrast, the Falcons have not had a winning season since 2017 - with seven wins in three of the last four years. And this offseason Atlanta already lost their top wide receiver, Calvin Ridley, to a yearlong suspension and Russell Gage, second on the team in receptions last year, to Tampa Bay in free agency.
He played 14 seasons with the Falcons, starting immediately as a rookie after being taken third in the draft - and winning Offensive Rookie of the Year - in 2008.
Ryan made four Pro Bowls and was the 2016 NFL MVP. He led the Falcons to the brink of a Super Bowl championship in Super Bowl LI before the team collapsed in an instantly infamous loss.
Across his 14 seasons, he compiled a 120-102 record for Atlanta, completing more than 5,200 of his 8,003 pass attempts for 59,735 yards. He threw 367 touchdowns to just 170 interceptions.
In all, it is a statistical record that ranks him easily as the greatest quarterback in Falcons franchise history.