Colts finally move on from Matt Ryan, freeing up a lot of cap space

Indianapolis Colts v Dallas Cowboys
Indianapolis Colts v Dallas Cowboys / Cooper Neill/GettyImages

On the eve of the NFL’s new league year, the Indianapolis Colts have finally decided to release quarterback Matt Ryan, freeing up a lot of cap space.

This was an inevitable move for the Indianapolis Colts but one it took the team a long time to arrive to. However, on the eve of the new league year, it has finally been reported that the Colts will release veteran quarterback Matt Ryan. This comes a year after Indy traded for Ryan with two years remaining on his contract. After just one underwhelming season, Indianapolis is moving on.

When Ryan first arrived, the hope was that he could be the team’s starting quarterback for at least the final two seasons of his contract. After a strong offseason, the Colts entered the year with a lot of optimism and high expectations, and Ryan was a big reason why. However, things quickly went downhill. Ultimately, Indianapolis finished the season 4-12-1 and Matt Ryan was benched multiple times throughout the year.

Matt Ryan ended up playing just 12 games, and although he completed 67% of his passes for 3,057 yards and 14 touchdowns, he also threw 13 interceptions and fumbled the ball 15 times. While Ryan could’ve certainly been better, the Colts didn’t provide him with the quality offensive line and strong rushing attack that he thought he was inheriting.

That's part of the reason why Ryan is confident he can still be productive in this league if given the right circumstances. He’ll now enter free agency in search of those circumstances and the Colts will move on with increased cap space after moving on from parts of Ryan’s contract.

How much cap space did the Colts clear after releasing Matt Ryan?

Unfortunately, Ryan still has an $18 million cap hit but Indianapolis did clear $17 million by releasing the veteran quarterback. Ryan’s release, coupled with the trade of Stephon Gilmore, has cleared around $27 million in cap space for the Colts.

With the official start of free agency coming on Wednesday, March 15, Indy will be able to go after several players to help improve the roster. As far as what the team will do at quarterback, the 2023 NFL Draft is the most likely option but there are still veteran options as well, primarily Lamar Jackson.

READ MORE: Colts make free agency history