It’s been nearly 10 weeks since the Atlanta Falcons franchise, media and fans have heard a peep about Calvin Ridley‘s status since he decided to take a hiatus from football in Week 8 of the 2021 season.
However, fans may now have a clearer answer on what’s to come from Ridley next season after NFL Network’s Steve Wyche joined The Dukes & Bells podcast where he gave his best-educated guess on the potential fate of the Falcons No. 1 wide receiver.
When asked if Ridley’s future with the team is in jeopardy, Wyche didn’t hesitate:
“Yeah, I would think so,” he said. “I don’t know everything that’s going on here, but for him not to service and for the team not to say anything about him all season long..leads me to believe that at some point maybe his side is like ‘he needs a fresh start’ or the Falcons might be like, ‘hey, we need a fresh start.’ It would be hard to think with everything this team is trying to do…with new leadership and everything…
Maybe if it was a Pittsburgh situation and Arthur Smith had been the coach here for 7 or 8 years, then maybe they would say ‘okay, we can bring him back.’ But I think because they’re trying to start new and to get things going, that at some point, there will be some type of parting––that’s my best guess.
I don’t know if that’s going to happen but yeah, this is the type of scenario where I think it’s going to be a fresh start for him someplace else.”
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Ridley’s Week 8 Announcement
After a surprisingly rough start to the season, Ridley made his decision to step away from football to take care of his mental health until further notice.
“These past few weeks have been very challenging and as much as I’d like to be on the field competing with my teammates, I need to step away from football at this time and focus on my mental wellbeing,” Ridley wrote on Twitter. “This will help me be the best version of myself now and in the future. I want to thank my teammates, the entire Atlanta Falcons organization, our great fans, my friends, and my family for all of their support during this time.”
The following week, the Falcons placed him on the non-football injury list, which would keep him sidelined for at least three weeks. Ridley hasn’t played in Atlanta’s last 10 games and has 31 catches for 281 yards and two touchdowns on the 2021 season so far.
The Falcons’ offense has clearly struggled with the lack of reliable receivers for Matt Ryan after they fell short of the postseason for the fifth-straight year. And they will need to address the issue with or without the return of Ridley.
Trading Ridley Means More Draft Capital
The Falcons trading their rising star receiver away wouldn’t be such a bad thing as they could use all of the draft capital that they can get to fix their endless roster needs.
When the Falcons traded away Julio Jones this past offseason, they initially asked for a first-round pick in exchange for the All-Pro wideout, but instead, received a 2022 second-round pick and 2023 fourth-rounder.
Many thought the Falcons were losers in this trade, but in the end, the Falcons actually won since Jones made it obvious that he is washed up after being hindered by the same hamstring injury all season long.
It’s a different story for Ridley, who is still in his prime and en route to being one of the best in the business. The Falcons could pick up a much-needed 2022 first-round pick if they go forward with moving on from Ridley.
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