Analyst Suggests Bill Belichick Will Monitor Suspended Star’s Progress

Getty Bill Belichick

The New England Patriots were once considered a potential destination for Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley. Unfortunately, Ridley was suspended for the 2022 season for gambling on NFL games.

It is hard to gauge how far-reaching the infraction will be as it pertains to Ridley’s career, but he is at least not going to be involved in a trade or transaction this season. What about next year, though?

A least one Boston area journalist seems to believe there is at least a chance Bill Belichick is monitoring the events surrounding Ridley’s suspension and potential reinstatement next year.

Boston Sports Journal’s Conor Ryan tweeted a popular gif from The Office after NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero announced the details surrounding Ridley’s suspension.

Would the Patriots still be interested in Ridley after being involved in this situation? Perhaps it isn’t as crazy as it appears.

Why Ridley’s Infraction is Such a Big Deal

There are a number of posts on social media from fans, journalists, former players, etc. questioning the punishment the NFL gave to Ridley. While there have been other infractions by players and coaches in the NFL that were perhaps more morally egregious, it is hard to downplay the potential negative impact of any sort of gambling by NFL players or coaches on games.

We’ve seen gambling scandals rock the NBA and almost all of us have heard fans at one time or another suggest the NBA Playoffs are fixed in one way or another. The past issues with gambling feeds those assertions.

Ridley reportedly used Fan Duel to place some bets on teams–including betting on his team to win–but this is dangerous ground. The NFL, nor any other sports league can afford to have the integrity of their contests seriously questioned. If the league is light on the punishment of anyone found guilty of betting on the game, it suggests the behavior can be repeated or even escalated without much of a penalty.

Because of this, it is tough to logically fault the league for its actions.

Bill Belichick Has Chased Troubled Receivers Before

Ridley might look like a player no team would bother to pursue. However, Belichick and the Patriots have a history of acquiring talented wide receivers who come with a little bit of baggage.

New England signed Tom Brady’s former college teammate David Terrell to a one-year deal in 2005. Terrell had been dogged by inconsistent play and off-the-field issues when the Patriots took a chance on him.

The Patriots traded for Randy Moss in 2007 after a tumultuous stint with the Oakland Raiders. Moss went on to help Brady rewrite the record books that season. New England also signed polarizing star Chad Ocho Cinco in 2011 after things went south with the Cincinnati Bengals.

The Patriots took chances on Josh Gordon following a suspension for violating the substance abuse policy, and on Antonio Brown following his unceremonious release from the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Considering the track record, it shouldn’t come as a surprise if Belichick has a legitimate interest. Following his suspension, Ridley now has one year remaining on his deal with the Falcons for $11.1 million. That would seemingly be a consumable contract should the Patriots attempt to acquire Ridley.

If the Patriots can find a No. 1 receiver this offseason, they’re probably not going to be eager to part ways with draft assets. However, if they continue to expect Kendrick Bourne and Jakobi Meyers to carry the load as receivers, acquiring Ridley begins to look attractive.

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