Falcons ‘Backed Out’ of Calvin Ridley Trade With NFC Contender: Report

Calvin Ridley

Getty Calvin Ridley #18 of the Atlanta Falcons.

The Atlanta Falcons almost had a deal done to trade away Calvin Ridley before he was suspended from the league for one year due to gambling.

According to a report from Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer on Thursday, March 10, the Philadelphia Eagles were Atlanta’s trade partner, who were mighty confused when the Falcons backed out without an explanation.

Philly received some closure on March 7 when the news broke about Ridley’s suspension and “respected” Atlanta for how they handled the situation, per Glazer.

The same day, the Falcons released a statement on Ridley which said that they “were first made aware of the league’s investigation on Feb. 9,” thus putting any possible trade deal on the back burner until the conclusion of the investigation.

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Falcons Save $11M in Cap Space

The league said in a statement that the bets took place during a five-day period in November 2021, after he had announced his decision to step away from football for his mental wellbeing on October 31.

According to a report from CBS Sports’ Jonathan Jones, Ridley was caught because “he placed a legal mobile bet in Florida with Hard Rock. They notified Genius Sports, who oversees betting integrity for the NFL.”

Jones added that “Ridley placed 3, 5 and 8 game parlay bets that did include the Falcons [to win].”

But not all bad came from Ridley’s suspension.

Ridley’s contract will toll during his (at least) one-year suspension from the NFL for betting on games. This means that he will be under contract through 2023 and his $11.116 million salary will come off Atlanta’s books this season, per NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero.

The Falcons, who were once over the cap, are now under it and can move forward to signing new faces or re-signing old ones.

Rodger Goodell’s Official Letter to Calvin Ridley

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell wrote Ridley the following letter the notify him:

“There is nothing more fundamental to the NFL’s success — and to the reputation of everyone associated with our league — than upholding the integrity of the game,” Goodell wrote. “This is the responsibility of every player, coach, owner, game official, and anyone else employed in the league. Your actions put the integrity of the game at risk, threatened to damage public confidence in professional football, and potentially undermined the reputations of your fellow players throughout the NFL.

“For decades, gambling on NFL games has been considered among the most significant violations of league policy warranting the most substantial sanction. In your case, I acknowledge and commend you for your promptly reporting for an interview, and for admitting your actions.”

After a rough start to the 2021 season, Ridley made a decision on October 31, 2021 to step away from football in order to take care of his “mental wellbeing” until further notice.

He never returned, playing in just five games where he caught 31 passes for 281 yards (9.1 average) and 2 touchdowns.

In four NFL seasons thus far, Ridley has recorded a total of 248 catches for 3,342 yards (13.5 average) and 28 touchdowns. His first 1,000-yard season came during the 2020 season and he would have had one in 2019, but an abdominal injury cut his season short.

Ridley may petition for reinstatement on or after February 15, 2023.


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