Knowing that a new coaching staff would lead the Atlanta Falcons in 2021, veteran quarterback Matt Ryan read the writing on the wall and understood that both he and star wide receiver Julio Jones could be shopped to potential buyers when he commented in October: “We rent these lockers; we don’t own them.”
Ryan reiterated that adage when speaking on Tuesday and also commented on Atlanta using the fourth pick of the 2021 NFL Draft on Florida Gators tight end Kyle Pitts instead of an available signal-caller.
“In one respect you understand that if you play well for long enough, these are the conversations that are going to come up,” Ryan explained, per Michael Rothstein of ESPN. “I understand that I’m not going to play forever, but I also have the mindset that I’m still playing really well and have a lot of good football in front of me.”
Ryan turned 36 years old on Monday and is the unquestioned starter for Atlanta. Jones’ status isn’t so certain, though, as general manager Terry Fontenot admitted last month he’s fielded calls for the 32-year-old receiver.
“I love Julio. I’ve been so lucky to play with him for the past decade, and he’s an unbelievable player,” Ryan said of Jones, per Kevin Patra of the NFL website. “I don’t get involved in this side of it. From a teammate, from a player standpoint, he’s my teammate. He’s my guy. And you let the other side of it shake out how it is. But I know this: He’s always ready to go. He’s an incredible competitor and one of the best to ever do it at his position. So he’ll have himself ready to go. There’s no question about that.”