INDIANAPOLIS -- The Atlanta Falcons have made some decisions.
They are going to extend quarterback Matt Ryan's contract and wave goodbye to defensive tackle Dontari Poe after one season.
The Falcons have opened negotiations with Ryan's agent, Tom Condon, which could lead to the NFL's first $30 million per year contract.
Ryan is set to enter the last year of his $103.75 million contract, but the team wants to lock him up for the future.
"The initial talks were positive, of course," Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff said Wednesday at the NFL Scouting Combine. "We both know where Matt needs to be [financially]. He needs to be here and he wants to be here and as I said, I don't think it's a complicated situation."
The five-year, $137.5 million deal that unproven Jimmy Garoppolo recently signed with the 49ers has changed the marketplace for quarterbacks. Garoppolo's deal averages $27.5 million per year.
"It's amazing to see where the cap has gone over the last 10 to 12 years and where the quarterback numbers are and where other numbers are when we start looking at franchise tag numbers," Dimitroff said.
Ryan's salary-cap number for 2018 is $19.25 million, which could be reduced to between $9 million and $12 million depending on the structure of the deal. If the Falcons can re-sign Ryan before the new league year starts March 14, they would have more money to spend under the expected $178-$180 million salary cap.
While the Falcons plan to keep Ryan, they are expecting to lose Poe, who is headed for free agency and will likely receive a "lucrative" offer.
Dimitroff acknowledged that it will be tough to keep Poe, who will be in high demand by a lot of teams with a lot of salary-cap space.
"Dontari did a heck of a job for us this year," Dimitroff said. "We really liked his impact for us especially in the run game of course, understanding that it may be a one-year deal."
Poe played last season on an incentive-laden contract, which had a base salary of $8 million. He bet on himself and had a solid season. He played 868 defensive snaps, the second-highest on the team behind Grady Jarrett's 870. He also played eight snaps on offense.
Reserve linebacker Kemal Ishmael and wide receiver Taylor Gabriel will not be re-signed by the team and will enter free agency.
"Ish will head to the market," Dimitroff said.
Gabriel played with the Falcons the past two seasons.
The Falcons plan to retain left guard Andy Levitre, but will work to restructure his contract.
The Falcons also plan to pick up the fifth-year option on defensive end Vic Beasley Jr., while looking into securing long-term deals with left tackle Jake Matthews and Jarrett.
The Falcons also have started talks with kicker Matt Bryant.
"We are confident that will get done quickly," Dimitroff said.
"We are really pumped about what Austin can do," Falcons head coach Dan Quinn said. "He played a good snap count this year with, I believe, 49 catches. He's got athleticism. He's a good matchup getting onto safeties and [linebackers]."
Greg Knapp, who was with the Falcons under former head coach Jim Mora, was hired as the quarterbacks coach replacing Bush Hamdan, who left to become the University of Washington's offensive coordinator.
"We were really challenged to find the best fit for us, the best fit for Matt [Ryan] and for [offensive coordinator Steve] Sarkisian," head coach Dan Quinn said. "Greg has a terrific background from Houston, Atlanta with [backup quarterback Matt] Schaub, being in Denver and working with Peyton [Manning] in that system. He has a lot of experience in the system that we run."