Calvin Ridley will be the talk of the town until the Falcons trade him. Steve Wyche most recently reported it is “likely” the star receiver is shipped out of Atlanta — saving cap dollars and giving both sides a clean break.
Terry Fontenot and Arthur Smith spoke to members of the media on Tuesday at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis, where the two men didn’t provide any clarity or new information on the Ridley situation. However, Ian Rapoport did provide a sliver of further information. On NFL Network, Rapoport called the situation extremely complex but emphasized that IF he were to get traded, Ridley would fetch “a lot” in return.
Pro Football Focus’s hypothetical trade sending Ridley to New England in exchange for a Patriots’ second round pick might not get the deal done in light of these latest reports.
🚨 Hypothetical Trade 🚨
Calvin Ridley to New England? pic.twitter.com/SNPQTTLkgO
— PFF (@PFF) February 28, 2022
Sure, Ridley missed much of the 2021 season, so there are risks when acquiring him. However, nobody doubts his skill level; the 27-year-old caught 90 passes for 1,347 yards in his last full season.
One reason Rapoport called the situation complex is Ridley’s contract. He’ll play in 2022 on his fifth-year option, which will cost whichever team he plays for around $11 million. The complicated part is the team trading for Ridley will have to have an extension in place for him, or else it doesn’t make much sense.
The Patriots would be in a position to hand Ridley that lucrative contract extension, but I don’t think the second round compensation PFF suggests will grease Fontenot’s wheels. There would have to be more.
ESPN’s Bill Barnwell made an intriguing suggestion, stating in his latest column that Chase Winovich and a second-round pick would be enough to get something done. Winovich is signed through 2022 but was buried on the depth chart in 2021, even if he was New England’s 2020 sack leader. He has some situational pass rush upside, but I don’t see Winovich moving the needle for the Falcons.
Adrian Phillips is someone that might, though. He’s a hard-hitting strong safety that some have referred to as a linebacker in a safety’s body. He most recently signed a three-year extension that includes $7.25 million guaranteed with a base value of $12.75 million. The value could go up to $14.25 million with incentives. He and Richie Grant would be a formidable tandem on the backend.
Phillips signed a two-year deal with New England in 2020 and has been an essential piece on the defense, occupying the role Patrick Chung once played. It is a pipe dream to have Phillips included in the deal; after all, Bill Belichick just extended him for a reason. Still, I don’t see Winovich being the piece that gets the deal done.
Bovada gives the Patriots the best odds to land Ridley, provided he doesn’t return to Atlanta. So, if a trade were to occur, oddsmakers feel Fontenot and Belichick are the most likely to reach a deal.