3 NFL Teams Who Should Pursue A Trade For Falcons’ Calvin Ridley

Calvin Ridley, NFL
NFL Analysis Network

Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley was well on his way to being one of the best players at his position in 2020. He took over the No. 1 receiver role in the team’s offense with Julio Jones sidelined and produced at a high level.

In his breakout season, Ridley caught 90 passes for 1,374 yards and nine touchdowns. He had produced at a good clip the first two seasons of his career before that but took it to another level in Year 3.

Big things were expected from him in Year 4, but they didn’t go as planned. Ridley stepped away from the team after five games, citing that he needed to work on his mental well-being. He missed the final 12 games of the season.

His future is still up in the air, as he could return to the Falcons. But, looking to slash some salary, they could be open to moving him in a trade if it means getting back prime draft capital, as he could command a first or second-round pick as trade compensation.

Which teams could get in the mix for the former Alabama standout? Here are three teams who should pursue a trade for Ridley.

3. New York Jets

The New York Jets have the chance to turn things around rather quickly. They have great draft picks and a ton of cap space to aggressively pursue roster upgrades. One of the positions that could use some help is wide receiver.

If the Jets want Zach Wilson to realize his immense talent at quarterback, he needs more talent around him. Corey Davis and Elijah Moore were nice additions last season, but they need a bonafide No. 1 option. Calvin Ridley would provide that.

A trio of Ridley, Davis and Moore working the slot would be a great one for Wilson to work with. An improved running game spearheaded by Michael Carter provides New York with some solid playmakers to help develop Wilson’s game.

The presence of Ridley would help take the offense as a whole to the next level as he would demand the most attention, opening up opportunities for his teammates to take advantage of.

2. New England Patriots

The New England Patriots have to feel good about the direction they are heading. They look to have come away with their franchise quarterback of the future in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft with Mac Jones. Now, it is time to improve the playmakers around him.

Jones looked poised during his rookie season but was mostly a game manager. He had his reads and knew where to get the ball to. In Year 2, more will be asked of him and upgrading the pass-catchers around him will help him get to that next level.

Adding Calvin Ridley would be a huge boost for the second-year quarterback. Ridley would come in as the bonafide No. 1, pushing Jakobi Meyers and Kendrick Bourne into roles they are better suited for as second and third options. Nelson Agholor could still fill the role as the downfield target to stretch the field.

1. Cleveland Browns

The Cleveland Browns made a big splash a few years ago when they acquired Odell Beckham Jr. from the New York Giants. That was a move that didn’t pan out and many people placed the blame on Beckham.

With each game he played with the Los Angeles Rams, it became clear he was not the issue in Cleveland. A devastating knee injury ruined his first Super Bowl, but he made his presence felt with two catches for 52 yards and a touchdown before the knee injury in the second quarter.

Needing a No. 1 receiver still, the Browns should aggressively pursue Calvin Ridley should he become available. Whether or not Baker Mayfield is under center for the team, they need to upgrade the wide receiver position.

Ridley would find plenty of advantageous situations in Cleveland as opponents gear up to slow down the running game led by Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt. His numbers may take a hit with the Browns, much as Beckham’s did, but Ridley is the exact kind of player the front office should be targeting this offseason to upgrade the offensive attack.