Recently, reports have surfaced that the Atlanta Falcons and wide receiver Calvin Ridley might be heading for a mutual breakup. In October, the wideout stepped away from the team as he focuses on his mental health. Since then, very little has been said about the receiver, as Falcons Head Coach Arthur Smith has “no update” on Ridley’s status. Therefore, with no return in sight, there is a lot unknown about his future in Atlanta. And for a retooling Falcons team, it may be best for both sides to get a fresh start come 2022. That being said, could the New York Jets be a potential landing spot for Calvin Ridley this off-season?
Could the New York Jets Pull off a Calvin Ridley Trade?
Calvin Ridley is a Number One Receiver
When on the field, there is no denying the talent that Calvin Ridley brings to an offense. In 49 career games (35 starts), Ridley has 3,342 yards and 28 touchdowns to his name. During his last full season in 2020, Ridley started all 15 games he played in, setting career-highs in receptions (90) and receiving yards (1,374), while also snagging nine touchdowns. This type of production has not been seen by a Jets receiver since Brandon Marshall in 2015.
Jets 2022 Receiving Outlook
Currently, the Jets only have three receivers under contract for the 2022 season. Elijah Moore and Corey Davis are likely to be the team’s starters on the outside as long as they can stay healthy. Moore, a second-round pick in 2021, was a standout rookie when on the field and has the potential to be the Jets number one. Meanwhile, Davis will be entering the second year of the three-year deal he signed last off-season. Although he battled injuries and up-and-down play, Davis’ outlook remains promising.
Lastly, Denzel Mims will be entering his third year in the NFL, having been a second-round pick in 2020. The Baylor product has disappointed this season, falling to the bottom of the receiving depth chart. He has not impressed coaches enough with his development and considering he appears out of place in the Jets offense, his time in Gotham green may be coming to a close.
At the same time, the Jets will also need to determine what to do with their upcoming free agents. All signs point towards veterans Jamison Crowder and Keelan Cole playing elsewhere in 2022, while the team may work to re-sign Braxton Berrios. Additionally, New York could retain exclusive rights free agent Jeff Smith, although Smith has not been more than a reserve receiver and special teams player.
Taking all this into consideration, New York is in dire need of making some moves at receiver this off-season. And few would be splashier than a trade for Calvin Ridley.
Ridley in the Jets Offense
Next season will mark quarterback Zach Wilson’s second in the NFL, and arguably his most important. As the BYU product has improved over the final stretch of the season, it is General Manager Joe Douglas’ job to upgrade the weapons around him. Certainly, a trade for Calvin Ridley would achieve just that.
For starters, Calvin Ridley would be devastating in offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur’s offense. At 6’1” and 190lbs, Ridley’s speed and elite route running ability would dominate in the play-action pass. It will also open up the playbook and draw attention from defenders, therefore creating more opportunities for Moore and Davis.
Not to mention, a trio of Ridley, Moore, and Davis would give the Jets the talent at receiver they have needed for years now. The Jets have been without a 1,000-yard receiver since Marshall and Eric Decker in 2015. Since then, guys like Quincy Enunwa, Robby Anderson, and more have impressed but were not able to truly elevate the offense. Yet, in potentially having these three receivers for Wilson to throw to in 2022, the Jets offense would truly reach new heights.
Jets Trade Proposal
Now, what might a deal for Ridley look like? It’s a good question. Given the unknown status of Ridley, Atlanta does not have much leverage. Plus, Ridley is set to hit free agency for the first time following the 2022 NFL season. In other words, should the Jets make a deal, they would need to consider extending him immediately, or he may walk after just one season.
Nevertheless, this is a Pro Bowl-caliber receiver Gang Green would be acquiring. One would have to imagine both first-round picks would be off the table in negotiations, as they are likely to land in the top 10. Luckily, the Jets have two second-round picks to offer. A deal would begin with offering up a second and conclude with another day three pick.
Another idea to consider would be the possible inclusion of Denzel Mims in a trade for Ridley. The Falcons would need to fill out the remainder of their own receiving corps with the loss of Ridley, and Mims could be a fit. He has all the physical traits necessary to become a starter but needs a team willing to develop him. For Atlanta, it may be worth it to trade Calvin Ridley to the Jets for a second-round pick and Mims instead of another fifth-round pick in return.
The reality of a Calvin Ridley Trade
At the moment, it remains to be seen if the Falcons will be willing to trade Calvin Ridley. Coming into the season, he was arguably the best player on the team and one who they hoped to build around.
Nonetheless, Joe Douglas cannot pass up the opportunity to add a bonafide number one receiver to the offense. Should the Falcons listen to offers, Douglas must be on the phone working to get a deal done. Otherwise, he will need to take a chance on a rookie in the draft or overpay for a receiver on the free agent market.
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