It’s not too often that a wide receiver of Calvin Ridley’s caliber is made available in the trade market, and the possibility that he could be on the move this offseason has understandably generated a lot of buzz and interest around the league.
Yahoo! Sports NFL insider Jordan Schultz has reported that there are “multiple teams” who have expressed interest in Ridley, specifically naming the Cleveland Browns and New England Patriots among them. It’s no great surprise that teams are interested, but it’s always interesting to see who those teams are. The offseason rumor mill is swirling a few days before the NFL’s legal tampering period is set to begin, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see more names added to this list between now and the weekend.
Ridley played in just five games for the Falcons this past season, as he elected to not play the rest of the season to focus on his mental well-being. Atlanta placed him on the Non-Football Injury list following Week 8. In his five games of action, the University of Alabama alum finished with 31 receptions for 281 receiving yards and two touchdowns.
At just 28 years of age and under team control for another season for a below-market rate, Ridley is the type of player whom contenders are salivating over. Teams like the Patriots and Browns are obviously hoping to tap into the 2020 version of the former first round pick, where Ridley was named as a Second-Team All-Pro selection following a season where he recorded 1,374 receiving yards and nine touchdowns in 15 games.
Multiple teams getting into a bidding war for Ridley’s services is a very good thing for the Falcons, however, should they choose to part ways with the four-year NFL veteran. Trading Ridley for picks would also clear $11.1 million in cap space off of Atlanta’s books, and they’d like receive significant draft capital in return.
The Patriots are in possession of the 21st overall pick in this year’s draft as well as picks 54 and 85, along with their fourth rounder, two sixth rounders and seventh round pick. The Browns, meanwhile, have picks 13, 44 and 78, along with another third round compensatory selection, two fourth rounders and their own picks in the fifth, sixth and seventh rounds. They’re also in possession of Detroit’s seventh rounder.
Other teams ranging from the Eagles to the Raiders have been rumored to be interested in Ridley, but we haven’t heard any reports just yet that they’re calling to gauge Atlanta’s interest. If the Falcons are looking to move Ridley, we could see things heat up in the very near future, but we’re still waiting for any concrete indication that a move is coming.
Again, we still don’t have that. In his most recent press conference, General Manager Terry Fontenot provided no concrete update on Ridley, who remains away from the team, saying recently that:
“As an organization, we’ve done the best job we could to support Calvin and do everything we can for him. I know he made the statement when he did, and that we made a statement during the season as well. Up to this point, nothing has really changed.”
In his short time with the Falcons, Fontenot has demonstrated that he is willing to trade big named stars, evidenced by his trade of Julio Jones to the Tennessee Titans last offseason. We’ll see if Ridley returns to the Falcons or if he’s headed elsewhere in a trade.