Calvin Ridley hasn’t played in the NFL since October 24, 2021. The gifted receiver, who had put together a career year in 2020, stepped away from the Falcons after that 2021 game against the Dolphins to focus on his mental health.
Heading into an offseason where it seemed the Falcons would trade him, Ridley was instead suspended for the entire 2022 season for gambling small sums on NFL games while he was away from the team. In November, the Falcons traded him to the Jaguars for a heavily conditional pair of draft picks.
That’s a whirlwind, wild saga that the Falcons and Ridley have been through, and now Ridley can finally apply for reinstatement and get back on the field for the Jaguars. It looks like he’s ready to do so, and naturally, that has some draft pick implications for Atlanta.
❤️— CALVIN RIDLEY (@CalvinRidley1) February 15, 2023
Per NFL.com, the Falcons stand to receive a fifth round pick so long as Calvin Ridley is reinstated by a certain date—that date hasn’t been reported—and could wind up with a sixth round pick if there’s some kind of significant delay and/or no reinstatement. The major compensation is tied to Ridley’s performance in 2023, as the Falcons get a fourth rounder if he simply makes the team, a third rounder if he hits (still unknown) playing time markers, and a second rounder if the Jaguars wind up giving him a new deal. It’s in everyone’s best interest for Ridley to do what he did from 2018-2020 with the Falcons and play extremely well, in other words.
There are conflicting reports out there about whether the Falcons are simply getting a fifth rounder outright or will need to wait to see when Ridley is reinstated lest they land a sixth round pick, but either way it’s a day three selection for Atlanta in 2023. That adds to the other eight picks Atlanta currently possesses, which includes six day three picks in total. I’d expect them to land the fifth rounder, because I can’t fathom a reason even the NFL would elect to delay or shut down reinstatement for a player who took an entire year off for what amounted to small potato bets.
We wish Ridley well in Jacksonville, both because he’s a terrific player who has been through a lot and because a great 2023 will lead to better draft compensation for the Falcons in 2024. Hopefully he’ll be reinstated soon enough.