Calvin Ridley is back on the football field for the first time in nearly two years after stepping away from the Falcons during the 2021 campaign and then serving a year-long suspension for gambling in 2022.
From the training camp videos, it looks like Ridley is back, which only benefits the Falcons. Atlanta was given a fifth-round pick from Jacksonville for his services. In addition to the fifth-rounder, the Falcons can garner a second-round pick if the Jaguars and Ridley agree on a new deal, which seems likely based on how he looks in the Summer.
However, there were rumors prior to his suspension that the Eagles were nearing a deal to acquire Ridley. Obviously, that never happened, but a new piece of information was revealed via Jeff Howe of The Athletic. Apparently, Terry Fontenot and the Falcons gave Ridley the option to choose from six or seven teams that made acceptable offers.
The day of the Nov. 1 trade deadline, Ridley said the Falcons gave him a list of six or seven teams that made acceptable offers, and he chose the Jaguars.
“I think it’s a perfect spot for me,” Ridley said. “I had an opportunity to choose from a bunch of different teams, and that’s why I chose this one. I felt like it was Florida, back home. I liked the roster a lot — Christian Kirk, Zay Jones, Evan Engram, Etienne, Trevor, (Jamal) Agnew. I love the roster.
Now, this is important for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it was the right thing to do for a player that was dealing with mental illness and needed to be in an environment that wouldn’t threaten that side of his game. Secondly, players talk, and this will spread around the league.
The Falcons treat players right and are a desirable organization to play for under the new regime. Calais Campbell chose Atlanta over several other Super Bowl contenders, which was a shock to the rest of the league. The future Hall of Famer has accomplished everything except raising the Lombardi; something that is very unlikely to happen with the Falcons.
However, it signaled to the rest of the NFL that the Falcons were a destination for free agents, and this news about Calvin Ridley only furthers that notion. It’s great to see Terry Fontenot and Arthur Smith do right by the players, who are so often taken advantage of in this league.
Photographer: Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire