The Falcons could have a massive problem on their hands if they’re forced to trade Calvin Ridley. Atlanta’s most used receivers are set to hit free agency. If Falcons GM Terry Fontenot trades Ridley, he’d have only one receiver under contract for 2022 — Frank Darby, who is a 2021 sixth-round pick. That possibility seems more and more likely as we progress towards next season.
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. Mike Garafolo of NFL Network also thinks the Falcons trading him is a very strong possibility.
This is all just speculation, though. Neither party has commented on the situation, other than in the manner they already have. Fontenot avoided answering questions from his end-of-the-season presser about thinking of life without Ridley, and Arthur Smith has steadily voiced his support for Ridley while refusing to speculate.
NFL trade rumors for the media is like blood in the water for sharks; everyone wants a piece. So don’t be surprised if everyone starts dipping their toes in the water regardless of their connections to the organization. The latest comes from ESPN. Jeremy Fowler, a highly respected media pundit, reported the “market would be robust” for Ridley.
Fowler states that if he is back in an NFL lineup next season, several organizations view Ridley as a top-10 wideout. “Atlanta is cash-strapped and needs pieces along the offensive line, so they could use the draft capital,” an NFC scout told Fowler. So, what kind of trade value does a top-10 player at his position garner?
“One league exec says a conditional second-round pick — which could turn into a first-rounder based on playing time — seems like a sweet spot for Ridley,” Fowler revealed.
Similar to the Carson Wentz trade, the Falcons could package Ridley with conditions based on playing time. The Colts traded a conditional second-round pick to the Eagles, which eventually became a first-round pick when Wentz appeared in 75% of Indianapolis’ offensive snaps.
It makes sense for both sides. The Patriots, Saints, and Dolphins are all listed as potential landing spots for Ridley because of their need for a receiver. Though an intra-divisional trade seems unlikely with New Orleans, Terry Fontenot’s connections to the Saints’ front office could provide a middle ground for the two rivals.