In one of the more unexpected moves this NFL trade deadline, the Falcons have traded wide receiver Calvin Ridley to the Jaguars in exchange for what could be a fifth-round and second-round pick, as first reported by Mia O’Brien.
The 27-year-old is currently serving an indefinite suspension that will last at least through the remainder of the 2022 season after he was found gambling on NFL games, including a Falcons-Jaguars game, while he was on the non-football injury list due to his mental health.
Ridley can apply for reinstatement in February 2023, but the complex nature of the compensation makes this intriguing because if he’s not reinstated, the Jaguars gave the Falcons draft assets for nothing.
According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, the Falcons could receive as much as 2023 fifth-round and 2024 second-round selections from the Jags.
At the very least, the Falcons will receive a 2023 sixth-round pick. But if he’s reinstated, that becomes a fifth-rounder. The 2024 draft pick stays a fourth-rounder if Ridley is on the roster. It becomes a third-rounder if Ridley reaches certain incentives, which probably include games/snaps/etc. And the pick becomes a second-rounder if Jacksonville signs Ridley to a contract extension.
A former first-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, Ridley was a productive receiver in Atlanta, topping 800 yards in each of his first two seasons with 17 touchdowns. Ridley then finished the 2020 campaign with 90 receptions, 1,374 yards, and nine touchdown grabs.
Ridley’s $11.11 million will come off the books, which gives the Falcons even more cap space this upcoming offseason. It’s honestly one of those rare instances where both sides can benefit.
The Jags hope they got a WR1 for cheap who can grow with Trevor Lawrence. While the Falcons get a decent haul for a player the team was likely moving on from, regardless of if this trade came to fruition. A couple of weeks ago, I spoke on the situation, stating there was likely no scenario where Ridley would return to the Falcons. Prior to the gambling fiasco, I’m positive the team would’ve welcomed him back with open arms. However, the circumstances changed once he was suspended for a year.
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