Even the indefinitely suspended are being dealt before the deadline. Atlanta Falcons WR Calvin Ridley is off to the Jacksonville Jaguars, and somewhere in a galaxy far, far away, Obi-Wan Kenobi is muttering under his breath, “that is a name I have not heard in a long time.”
Ridley was suspended from the NFL indefinitely after placing bets on the NFL, a no-no met with a punishment more severe than, well, a lot of more egregious acts.
Jaguars Acquire Calvin Ridley From Falcons
Good on the Jaguars for even considering Ridley a possibility in the trade market. Most had probably forgotten about the suspended receiver as the grind of day-to-day operations set in.
The compensation is so interesting. Ridley will be able to file for reinstatement in February. The Jaguars received Ridley. For Atlanta, things get very interesting. The Falcons get a 2023 fifth-round pick if he is reinstated by a set date. If not, it’s a sixth-round pick. That’s easy enough.
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But as Billy Mays once said, “wait, there’s more!”
The Falcons also get a conditional 2024 fourth-round pick. If he hits a playing time milestone, it turns into a third-round pick. If he signs a long-term extension with Jacksonville, Atlanta will receive a second-round pick.
This deal must have taken a fortnight to work through.
Jacksonville is Stockpiling WR Talent For Trevor
There’s a better-than-not chance that Jacksonville will miss out on a playoff opportunity in 2022. As impressive as they’ve appeared on paper, they’re 2-6 and struggling when it matters most.
Christian Kirk was a fine addition in the offseason for Trevor Lawrence and Doug Pederson, but Jacksonville still needed a true No. 1 WR.
It will have been a very, very long time since Ridley played football when he takes the field next, but he is still just 27, and his game has always been predicated more on his technical ability than sheer athleticism.
Lawrence and Ridley should mesh well. Lawrence has become somewhat of an assassin over the middle and in the intermediate area of the field, which is where Ridley is at his best.
While I guess there’s a chance he never plays for them, if he ends up being a true No. 1 and they acquired him for a fifth, and a second, it’s a massive win for a team trying to build around its young QB.
Falcons Get Assets Back For A Headache
It’s never fun to watch a good football player pack his bags, but the Falcons have obviously moved on from Ridley. They drafted Drake London and Kyle Pitts inside of the top five in the NFL Draft in consecutive offseasons.
And while Arthur Smith still needs to figure out how to play with those toys, the team is rebuilding and could use draft capital moving forward.
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Atlanta’s roster is still a bit of a mess, even while holding the NFC South advantage at 4-3. Maybe Desmond Ridder will be their QB of the future, but it’s more likely they must eventually find that QB in the NFL Draft. Stockpiling draft capital is a good way to go about that.
It’s not often we see a true win-win situation, but this is about as close as it gets.
Calvin Ridley Gets a Fresh Start
The AFC South is in absolute shambles, and that is unlikely to change without unforeseen circumstances slapping us in the face. Ryan Tannehill is out of contract after next season, the Colts are spiraling, and the Texans are the Texans.
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Ridley gets a fresh start in a new uniform for a team that should realistically be competing for a division crown in 2023, something Ridley hasn’t done as a pro.
He’ll also join a good passer with a good offensive staff that looks to be all-in on making things easier for their young QB. Both teams win in this situation, but the real winner is Ridley.