The Falcons just made a trade for Rams receiver Van Jefferson a couple of weeks ahead of the NFL trade deadline, which makes it the perfect time to revisit the Calvin Ridley trade.
ESPN revisited and re-graded the 2022 NFL trade deadline. Seth Walder had some interesting takes on the deal with the Jaguars, some of which are just hindsight and lack context.
Original grade for the Falcons: B-
New grade for the Falcons: C
Atlanta and Ridley probably were both looking for a fresh start, so it’s understandable that this trade happened. The Falcons surprisingly decided to make the move last trade deadline, locking in compensation for a player whose future was unknown.
With the benefit of hindsight, I’m sure they wished they had waited until the 2023 league year to put him on the market. Once he was reinstated, I have to think he would have garnered more of a return.
I wouldn’t give the Falcons a good grade by any means because the thought of letting a bonafide WR1 go for anything less than a first-round pick is highway robbery. After all, look at the recent deals for Tyreek Hill, Davante Adams, and A.J. Brown.
Now, Calvin Ridley hadn’t played in quite a long time and isn’t on the level of the first two even at his best, but netting only second-round and mid-round picks still isn’t proper compensation in a vacuum.
With context, it makes a bit more sense. Ridley hadn’t played for half of the 2021 season and then was suspended for the entire 2022 season with his future in doubt. There was absolutely no guarantee that he would be reinstated for the 2023 season, so the Falcons took what they could at the time of shopping him.
Obviously, in hindsight, the Falcons should’ve held on to him until he was reinstated and driven up the price. The Falcons decided to secure their draft capital and do right by Calvin Ridley, dealing him to a team that he wanted to go to.
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