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NFL news & notes on Matt Ryan, Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Super Bowl

The NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero says Atlanta doesn’t plan on trading the veteran QB.

Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

Another quarterback who could have been on the market during the NFL offseason is reportedly staying put.

The NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero says the Atlanta Falcons intent on keeping veteran Matt Ryan with the team for the 2021 season.

“From what I am told, Matt Ryan is not going anywhere. The Falcons have not had any trade conversations with any other team about Ryan or their star wide receiver, Julio Jones, and every expectation is both players are going to be on the roster in 2021.

“It makes sense for a couple of reasons. One, the Falcons just hired a head coach, Arthur Smith, who’s going to run a variation of the same offense in which Ryan won the MVP four years ago (under then-offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan). And number two, there would be a significant cap penalty for moving on from either of these players. Ryan alone would count over $44 million in dead money on the 2021 cap if he were traded before June 1.”

That should bury any rumors about a reunion between Ryan and Shanahan in the Bay Area. Unless the San Francisco 49ers somehow trade for Deshaun Watson or make an unexpected deal for Kirk Cousins, it looks like Jimmy Garoppolo will be the Week 1 starter in 2021.

The 35-year-old Ryan completed 65% of his passes last season for 4,581 yards, 26 touchdowns and 11 picks. The Falcons struggled to a 4-12 finish and brought in Arthur Smith to be their new head coach.

Another veteran QB could be on the open market in free agency. Ryan Fitzpatrick joined the Pat McAfee Show and was asked about his future plans:

“This offseason, we already saw it with (Jared) Goff and (Matthew) Stafford obviously,” Fitzpatrick said. “Who knows what’s going to happen with Deshaun (Watson). There’s rumors everywhere in the quarterback market, but there are a lot of teams looking for a new quarterback or new quarterbacks. For me, personally, I have to take every offseason and reassess. These last two years have really re-lit that fire under me and I still want to play and I enjoy being out there playing.”

The 38-year-old went 4-3 for the Miami Dolphins during the 2020 season, completing 68.5% of his passes for 2,091 yards, 13 touchdowns and eight picks. Fitzpatrick was benched in favor of rookie Tua Tagovailoa but still made some massive plays for Miami down the stretch, including this pass with time running out against the Las Vegas Raiders that kept the team’s playoff hopes alive:

Fitzpatrick could be an option to backup Jimmy Garoppolo. The 49ers’ QB has missed 23 starts over the past three seasons and Fitzpatrick would be able to come in and serve as a quality backup in case of injury. Depending on the cost, this is something that Shanahan and general manager John Lynch could explore.

The Super Bowl won’t be the same as previous years but the NFL is allowing a substantial amount of fans into Raymond James Stadium for the showdown between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Kansas City Chiefs.

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport says there will be 25,000 in attendance for the Super Bowl with 30,000 fan cutouts.

Do you think the Niners should target Fitzpatrick in free agency? If Garoppolo is the 2021 starter, who do you think would be a good backup?