Falcons betting favorites to sign Calvin Ridley, if he leaves Jaguars in free agency

NFL: OCT 15 Colts at Jaguars

The Falcons obviously need to find a quarterback this offseason. It will dominate headlines, but two other pressing needs are wide receiver and edge defender, and an old friend could fill one of those voids — Calvin Ridley.

Atlanta traded the former 2018 first-round pick to the Jaguars, but it came with several stipulations in regards to the compensation received in the deal.

Currently, the Falcons own the Jaguars’ 2024 third-round pick due to playing time and production marks that Ridley hit in 2023, but if Jacksonville extends him, that selection will turn into a second-rounder. However, signs are pointing to Atlanta getting stuck with the third.

“Per terms of the 2022 trade with Atlanta to acquire Ridley, Jacksonville’s third-round pick due to Atlanta turns into a second-rounder if Jacksonville extends Ridley’s contract. That’s why Jacksonville would need to wait until after the new league year begins to avoid giving up a second, because at that point any deal would be a free agency signing and not an extension. But that gives Ridley time to talk with other teams during the negotiating window, unless he and Jacksonville can work out a loose agreement and wait,” Jeremy Fowler said.

The only incentive the Jags have to extend Ridley is to remove the possibility of a bidding war and subsequently losing him in free agency, and according to betting outlets, the Falcons could be the club that signs him away from the Jaguars. If Ridley and the Jags cannot agree to a deal, the Falcons have the best odds of landing him, per BetOnline.

The 29-year-old amassed 1,016 yards and caught six touchdown passes on 76 receptions, which disappointed some in Jacksonville. However, much of the Jaguars’ shortcomings shouldn’t be attributed to Ridley.

The Falcons have an obvious need for a receiver, and with a new coaching staff in Atlanta, the possibility of a reunion doesn’t seem as unlikely as it was with Arthur Smith at the helm.

Raheem Morris was Ridley’s position coach from 2016 to 2019, so the familiarity is there for both sides. It would be crazy if the Falcons ended up signing Calvin Ridley in free agency about a year after trading him.

Photographer: David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire

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