Falcons owner: QB contracts a 'different world' from Home Depot days

Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank, co-founder of The Home Depot, has a net worth of $4.1 billion. But even a billionaire such as Blank admitted the quarterback contracts in the NFL these days are eye-opening.

The latest quarterback to cash in was Jimmy Garoppolo of the San Francisco 49ers, the league's new highest-paid player with a five-year, $137.5 million contract. ESPN's Adam Schefter reported the specifics of the deal. Garoppolo's $27.5 million per year tops the $27 million per year the Detroit Lions gave to Matthew Stafford in a five-year contract. And now that Garoppolo's deal is complete, other quarterbacks such as Kirk Cousins, Aaron Rodgers and Blank's own Matt Ryan are set to cash in with more lucrative deals.

So what's Blank's take on quarterbacks approaching contracts worth $30 million per year and $100 million guaranteed?

"What do I think about it? I think about when I retired from Home Depot [2001], I think my bonus that year was $1.5 million, and that was the second-largest retail group in the world when I retired," Blank said. "It's a different world in this industry, what the market is. And this is a partnership with our players."

Blank purchased the Falcons for $545 million in 2002. The franchise is now worth $2.48 billion. According to Forbes, the average NFL franchise is worth $2.5 billion. The salary cap is projected to be as high as $178 million for 2018. It was $167 million last season.

When asked prior to the Garoppolo deal whether he was prepared to make Ryan the highest-paid player in the NFL, Blank didn't commit. Ryan is entering the final year of a five-year, $103.75 million deal that included $59 million guaranteed.

"We're prepared to do what's right for Matt and do what's right for our franchise," Blank said. "We'll certainly keep Matt in a competitive range. He's certainly entitled to that. He's certainly one of the great quarterbacks in the NFL and he's been with us for 10 years. He wants to play a few years longer, and we'd love to see him do that.

"On the other hand, we've got a whole team to take care of. So it all has to be thought through and balanced out."