Giving Credit to Jon Ryan
I am the type of guy that likes to give credit where credit is due. In Seattle, there is one guy that lacks a whole load of credit that has not always been given in the past. That man is Jon Ryan. Some teams in the NFL have their own version of “ol’ reliable,” like Matt Bryant in Atlanta, Dan Bailey in Dallas, and Adam Vinatieri for the Colts and Patriots his entire career. The Seahawks version of ol’ reliable has to be Jon Ryan. Ryan has been with the Seahawks for 10 seasons now, playing in every single game except one during his debut year with Seattle back in 2008. Through an entire decade with the Seahawks, Ryan has punted 770 times for 34,492 yards, with his career long marked at 77 yards back in 2011. In 2017, He got close to that mark with a 74-yard punt. Every single year, Seattle finds itself backed up in its own end zone every now and then, in desperate need of a clutch punt. And, almost every time, Jon Ryan finds a way to boot the ball with his ferocious leg with excellent execution. Ryan punted 92 times (second highest total in his career) last year, which was probably due to a struggling Seahawks offense that stalled almost more than ever over the past decade. Even with the big increase in punts and his age on the rise, Ryan was still able to continue kicking his consistent clutch punts, as well as put up a solid 45-yard punt average.
Jon Ryan also allows Pete Carroll to have other options on fourth down that other teams do not have the luxury of. Ryan is an incredible athlete for a punter and is absolutely jacked when it comes to his body tone. This gives Pete Carroll to have the threat of a fake punt in his back pocket. Remember the 2014 NFC Championship game when Jon Ryan literally saved the Seahawks’ season? Jon Ryan was able to take off to the left during a fake field goal and deliver a perfect pass to Garry Gilliam that gave the Seahawks hope in a so-far dreadful game of football for the Seattle offense. This insane play allowed the Seahawks to be in position to still have the slimmest of chances at the end of the game that resulted in Seattle making the Super Bowl back-to-back years. I remember watching this play, as I probably screamed louder than I ever had before, except maybe when Richard Sherman tipped the pass to Malcolm Smith a year before in the 2013 NFC Championship to win the game.
Jon Ryan simply has been one of the most consistent players on the Seahawks roster over the past decade, and he has never skipped a beat. Any player that can play every single game every single year has to be qualified as a reliable, trustworthy player that all teams pray to have filling their rosters each year. At the punter position, Jon Ryan has been able to fill that role as a reliable punter without any doubt. The thing is, it may be time for the Seahawks to part ways with Jon Ryan to save some money. I am not sure how the Seahawks front office currently feels about Ryan at the moment, but his current contract keeps him on the team through 2019 without further transaction. Ryan’s cap number for 2018 is at $3.2 million and $3.6 million in 2019. This price just seems a bit high for the direction the Seahawks are heading this offseason. As a die-hard Seattle fan, I believe Seattle should keep its ol’ reliable player and find a way to keep him with his current contract or at the very least sit down and talk to Ryan about renegotiation on his current contract. This is not a case of sentimental value, but it is hard to find a trustworthy player like Jon Ryan on any given day, especially at the punter position. And, with the vast changes on the offensive side of the ball for Seattle, having a solid punter definitely would not hurt.
Another case to keep Jon Ryan around in Seattle would be to ensure at least a half-quality special teams. If Seattle even dares keeping Blair Walsh around (let’s get on our knees and pray that they don’t), having a quality punter is a must. The question mark at the place kicker position makes me feel like Seattle simply has to keep Jon Ryan around to make sure the special teams situation in Seattle is not a complete disaster. Seattle may wind up having huge problems with place kicking again, so it would not be a good look on the Seahawks’ coaching staff if the punting is sub-par. Keeping Jon Ryan around would avoid those problems.
Jon Ryan is just 36 years old, so as long as he wants to keep playing football, his built body will certainly keep him rolling effectively for another four to five years. I say this because kickers like Matt Bryant, Phil Dawson, and Adam Vinatieri all were easily able to keep playing into their early 40s. Also, Shane Lechler, one of the better punters in the NFL, is currently 41 years of age and is still doing a phenomenal job for the Houston Texans. This gives me no reason to believe Jon Ryan would not be capable of doing the same thing. With rising age, Seattle may be able to talk Ryan into a more feasible contract, as well.
All in all, Jon Ryan is a significant piece to the Seahawks special teams core, and it would be a big loss to lose him in the future. But, to follow the main purpose of this article, I want Seattle and really all NFL fans to give credit to a punter that has had a great, long career in the NFL. I have never really read a piece about Jon Ryan that gives him the proper credit he deserves, so I hope this enables Seattle fans to have an open mind when it comes to keeping him around. Not only has Ryan been able to put up consistent, solid numbers year after year, he also has provided sparks to lagging Seahawks offenses that embodied memories into our minds forever. The 2014 NFC Championship fake field goal pass, the fake punt against the Rams on Thursday Night Football a couple years ago, and the simple but critical fake field goal against the Redskins in 2014 are all examples of huge sparks that Jon Ryan has created for the Seahawks over the years. No matter what comes in the future for the underrated punter, let’s all give Jon Ryan the credit he has deserved for so long.