Falcons trading WR Calvin Ridley is a ‘very strong possibility’

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The Falcons offseason has officially begun, and Terry Fontenot has already signed a flurry of players to reserve/future contracts. The Falcons 2022 roster could look much different than the previous year because Atlanta is set to experience an incredible amount of roster turnover. The team’s top three receivers, in terms of percentage of snaps played, are all set to hit free agency. Olamide Zaccheaus (57% of offensive snaps), Russell Gage (56%), and Tajae Sharpe (47%) account for nearly 80% of all snaps by receivers.

With Calvin Ridley’s current and future status unknown, the Falcons might have just one wide receiver under contract for 2022 at this point — Frank Darby. The situation surrounding Ridley will have a profound effect on Fontenot’s offseason decisions. With him, the position isn’t in dire need of bolstering; however, without the former All-Pro, the receiving core will need a complete overhaul.

The Falcons exercised Ridley’s fifth-year option last offseason with the expectation that he would, at the very least, play through his rookie contract in Atlanta. Set to make over $11 million in 2022, the Falcons could end up not even paying that salary.

Steve Wyche said that he thinks Ridley’s future with the Falcons is in jeopardy; both parties have been silent, which could mean both sides are looking for a fresh start. As expected, the team wouldn’t comment on the matter in any other manner than they already have. Fontenot elegantly avoided answering questions from his end-of-the-season presser about thinking of life without Ridley.

“I wouldn’t assume anything,” the first-time general manager said. “We handle each situation individually. There are so many variables we deal with. We’re going to try to add to every position this offseason.”

Well, another media pundit has given his two cents on the Ridley situation. Mike Garafolo of NFL Network thinks the Falcons trading him is a very strong possibility.

There have been no substantiated reports of either party’s intentions, but Garafolo is the second highly-respected reporter (Wyche being the first) to state Ridley’s future with the Falcons is nearing an end. This Falcons regime has played everything close to the chest, so don’t be surprised if one day we wake up with news of Ridley’s departure. If anything at all is going on, Fontenot will be diligently inquiring about potential trade suitors. I will say, though, that Ridley returning to Atlanta seems less likely as we progress through the offseason.

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