What does Calvin Ridley’s future look like with the Falcons?

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The Falcons have had an eventful offseason. Atlanta pursued Deshaun Watson, which they ultimately lost out on; then, they traded Matt Ryan to the Colts. That isn’t even considering the bomb that dropped before the Watson rumors.

It seemed like a lifetime ago when Calvin Ridley stepped away from the Falcons to focus on his mental wellbeing. The All-Pro wideout hasn’t played since October 24th, and it’s going to be a lot longer than that. The NFL handed down a suspension to Ridley for at least the 2022 season for gambling on NFL games during his time away from the team.

Atlanta has Ridley under contract for one more season at $11.116 million since they exercised his fifth-year option last offseason. But it was revealed before the suspension was handed down that the Falcons were trying to trade Ridley.

On Wednesday, Terry Fontenot and Arthur Smith held a press conference to address the Ryan trade and Watson saga, but Fontenot also received a question regarding Ridley’s future in Atlanta.

“Obviously, we were very transparent with everything throughout the season with the way everything played out,” Fontenot said. “We did our best to be supportive of him and his family, and then we get into the offseason, and it was a surprise to all of us when we, on Feb. 9, got the call from the league, and they told us there was an investigation.

“We were talking to other teams and having some discussions, and yet we got that call and had to take a step back, and so right now with Calvin, he’s on our roster right now. We continue to support in whatever way we can and do the best that we can. And how the future looks, we don’t know. That’s a long time from now, so we’ll see what happens with that. But we’ve been transparent. Really, all the information on Calvin, we’ve been transparent with everything with him, and we’ll see where that goes.”

In 2021, Ridley hauled in 31 passes for 281 yards and two touchdowns before he stepped away from the team. If he’s reinstated for the 2023 season, the Falcons will have a difficult decision to make about his future in Atlanta. Either pay Ridley $11.116 million to play with the Falcons or trade him. If he returns in 2023, Ridley will have missed 29 regular-season games, so it might be tough to maximize his trade value.

One thing is certain: the Falcons could’ve netted considerable draft capital in a trade before his suspension was handed down. Davante Adams and Tyreek Hill netted their respective teams multiple first and second-rounders. I’m not saying Ridley is on the level of those two wideouts, but he undoubtedly would’ve commanded at least one high-valued pick.

The Falcons have some challenging times ahead of them regarding the future with Calvin Ridley, but they won’t make any moves until he’s reinstated.

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