Report: Jaguars coveted ex-Falcons WR Calvin Ridley for a long time

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The Calvin Ridley saga in Atlanta had been an undercovered story for a long time because the Falcons and Ridley kept everything under wraps and in-house. It was for a good reason, as the Pro Bowler dealt with mental health issues and other personal matters during his time away from the team. But now that Ridley is no longer with the Falcons, more pieces to the story have unfolded thanks to Michael Rothstein of ESPN, who basically laid out that the Falcons were always going to move on from Ridley.

Reports confirm the Jaguars coveted the former Falcons receiver for a long time, considering him a possible target as long ago as last offseason when the team handed lucrative free agent contracts out to several wideouts. Doug Pederson eventually pulled the trigger despite the uncertainty surrounding Ridley’s suspension and reinstatement, which is covered in the details of the trade.

The Falcons potential compensation could be as little as a sixth-round pick if Ridley isn’t reinstated in 2023 and as high as a second-round pick if Jacksonville can hammer out a long-term deal with him. From everything Rothstein reported, it seemed this trade was inevitable. If it didn’t happen before the trade deadline, it would’ve happened at some point.

“These discussions have been ongoing for a long time and everything we do here, we understand there’s a lot of parties involved in it,” Smith said. “A cause and effect in a tough business and always do everything in the best interest of the team and in regards to the players we got.”

“This wasn’t something that happened at the trade deadline,” Smith said. “It was a long process. So leave it at that.”

The Calvin Ridley experience in Atlanta was electric at times and excruciating at others. The former first-rounder posted 90 catches, 1,374 yards and nine touchdowns in 2020, then followed that up without eclipsing 80 yards in a game the next season. He’s still a WR1 in this league; it just wasn’t going to happen in Atlanta. We wish Ridley the best in his new challenge with Trevor Lawrence and the Jaguars.

Photographer: Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire

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