Before the Atlanta Falcons learned that Calvin Ridley would be suspended for a full season after gambling on the sport he plays there were rumblings the team could be looking to trade the receiver. The first priority should be the receiver’s well-being, Ridley stepped away from football last season to tend to his health.
This doesn’t excuse the mistake Ridley made of betting on a game he plays, however, the team should still ensure Ridley is ready to return to football before making a move. Once that happens and he is assumably reinstated next off-season there is no question that it is time for Atlanta to move on from Ridley for a myriad of reasons.
Ridley has 3,342-career receiving yards and 28-touchdowns. The majority of this impressive production happened with Julio Jones as the primary receiver and veteran Matt Ryan as his quarterback. Despite the number Ridley hasn’t proven he is a true number one option. Last season Ridley was off to a rough start struggling to live up to expectations after Julio left Atlanta for the Titans.
There is a legitimate concern that Ridley isn’t as good as his number might indicate. With Ridley’s deal expiring Atlanta is either going to see Ridley prove himself and demand a large contract or fail to live up to expectations and hit free agency.
In a receiver market that is skyrocketing Atlanta needs to find cheap veteran options and long-term answers in the draft. Trading Ridley when he is re-instated is the right move for the Falcons unless they believe they have a Super Bowl contending roster.
That is unlikely considering the rebuild has just started. A three or four-year turnaround seems more likely and Ridley is already 27-years old. As soon as they are able Atlanta needs to give Ridley a change of scenery and continue to rebuild the offense.
Calvin has had great moments with Atlanta, however, his poor decision and recent on-field struggles all point to the fact it is time for Atlanta to move in a new direction and put Ridley in a role he can find success in once again.