One Falcons Draft pick hinges on Calvin Ridley's free agency

Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Calvin Ridley (0) lines up before the snap during the third
Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Calvin Ridley (0) lines up before the snap during the third / Corey Perrine/Florida Times-Union / USA

A pretty interesting situation is brewing for the Falcons this week, and while it directly affects the franchise, there's nothing anyone in Atlanta can do about it.

Per TheMMQB's Albert Breer, the timing of former Falcon Calvin Ridley's signing will determine whether the Falcons end up with a 2nd or 3rd-round pick in April's NFL Draft.

According to Breer, "Atlanta gets a 2 if Ridley re-signs [with] Jags before Wednesday at 4, and a 3 if he re-signs thereafter. So the Jags are motivated to wait, and Ridley's camp has that extra time to drive the number up."

It's a wild stipulation, and considering that Ridley has reportedly narrowed down his search to two teams, Jacksonville and New England, it feels like a situation ripe for collusion.

If Ridley indeed decides to re-sign with the Jaguars, even if he's made up his mind already, why not wait until after 4 pm on Wednesday? It would only hurt Jacksonville to give Atlanta a 2nd-round pick instead of a 3rd.

Of course, as Breer notes, keeping the possibility of New England afloat could make the Jaguars feel pressured into paying him a bigger number to retain his services.

Whichever way you slice it, the ball is in Ridley's court, and the Falcons are going to get the bad end of the deal. Even if Ridley squeezes more money out of the Jaguars, it feels inevitable that this move happens after 4 pm Wednesday, and the Falcons get a 3rd-rounder out of the trade instead of a 2nd.

It's bad enough that as a Falcon, Ridley missed the entire 2022 season after being suspended for gambling, and missed nearly two whole seasons of games during his time in Atlanta, but it looks like Ridley is about to deal one final blow to the franchise.

It's an unfortunate end to a great player's disappointing time as a Falcon, but at least this is the last vestige of the Ridley era in Atlanta.