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Why Was Matt Ryan Benched?

The Indianapolis Colts have yet to find a reliable quarterback since it was revealed that Andrew Luck was retiring. They most recently used Matt Ryan, a former Atlanta Falcons quarterback, but rumors just leaked that the Colts will bench him in favor of Sam Ehlinger, his backup.

In Indianapolis, Matt Ryan won’t be the starting quarterback anymore. Sam Ehlinger, the Colts’ backup quarterback, will take the reins to resuscitate the team’s sluggish offense. In the 2022 NFL offseason, the Colts traded a third-round pick to the Falcons for Ryan. The 37-year-old was expected to provide the team with quarterback consistency, but he has fallen short of expectations.

Matt Ryan

Matt Ryan (Credits: ESPN)

The Colts are now hoping that Ehlinger, who has started as quarterback seven times during Frank Reich’s five seasons with the organization, can succeed where Ryan failed. But the main question arises, why was Matt Ryan benched? Let’s find out!

Why are the Colts benching Matt Ryan?

Due to Matt Ryan’s subpar performance, the Colts are benching him. Since what NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport calls a “Grade 2 shoulder separation” would have required a change, either way, Reich explained that the switch to Ehlinger wasn’t due to that injury alone. According to Reich, who was quoted by Adam Schefter of ESPN, “Right now, the move is for Sam to be the starter for the rest of the season.”

Through seven games with the Colts, Ryan has had difficulty. He was able to guide the Colts to a 3-3-1 record and currently leads the NFL with 203 completions, but he has made far too many poor decisions. In the NFL, Ryan is first in interceptions (nine), fumbles (11), and sacks taken (24). That triple frequently causes Indianapolis’ drives to slow out, and it occasionally scores points for the opposition’s defense.

For instance, in Week 7, he threw a pick-six against the Titans that helped Tennessee go from a 3-0 deficit to a 10-0 lead. In the Colts’ 19-10 defeat, that proved costly.


The Colts’ scoring average has been only 16.1 per game when Ryan has been the quarterback. Only the Broncos, Steelers, and Bears have a lower ranking in the NFL than that, which is at this point. Simply, he was the quarterback, and their offense wasn’t running well. Ryan wasn’t to blame for all of the offense’s issues.

Due to the retirement of Anthony Castonzo, the departure of Mark Glowinski, and the regression of Ryan Kelly, the club has mostly been unable to protect him with its offensive line, which has declined since its peak in 2020. In the meanwhile, the Colts have also struggled to run the ball. Despite having Jonathan Taylor, they only average 81.0 yards per game, which ranks third-lowest in the NFL.

Ryan is under a great deal of strain as a result of that. However, the Colts lack the funds to make a complete roster makeover, so they are counting on the addition of Ehlinger to the starting lineup to make a difference which is the main reason why Matt Ryan was benched.


The former Texas quarterback’s mobility may make him better able than Ryan to avoid pass rushers behind a porous line, while his legs may help the team’s sluggish running game. Ryan’s tenure as Indianapolis’ starter, in either case, seems to be over. The only remaining uncertainty is if he will join the club in 2023.

Where does Matt Ryan go from here?

Matt Ryan’s future with the Colts and with the league more broadly is in doubt as a result of his benching. Ryan’s tenure with Indianapolis may be coming to an end because it’s unlikely that he would start again for the Colts in practically any scenario.


Even if he doesn’t get a lot of playing time, the organization still owes him a sizable sum of money, so he could stay to collect that. It will be interesting to watch whether Ryan moves on to another team. His tenure as the starting quarterback appears to be drawing to a close after a rather illustrious career in the NFL.

Matt Ryan contract

Ryan is under contract with the Colts until the 2023 NFL season, but they will have little trouble getting rid of him. According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, Ryan’s deal was reworked when he was acquired by the Colts and included a $24.7 million guarantee for 2022. This reduced his cap charge to $18.7 million and freed up $6 million on the team’s salary cap.

The Colts will owe Ryan $12 million in guarantees for the 2023 season as a result of that restructuring. He will get an additional $7.2 million in guarantees in addition to a $10 million roster bonus if he remains on the roster on the third day of the NFL’s league year, which starts on March 17, 2023.

Matt Ryan

Additionally, if Ryan gets hurt, the $17.2 million is guaranteed, according to ProFootballTalk. The Colts may thus ensure that they won’t be responsible for covering his salary the following year by taking him out of the starting lineup. That will enable them to let him go, and his unpleasant $35 million cap hit.


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