Does the Calvin Ridley news change the Falcons’ offseason plan? — Question of the Week

Does the Calvin Ridley news change the Falcons' offseason plan? -- Question of the Week

Unless you have had your phone on do not disturb for the last 24 hours, you know what happened on Monday. If you haven’t, here’s a quick refresher:

Calvin Ridley has been suspended indefinitely, at least through the 2022 season, for violating the NFL’s gambling policy, the league announced Monday afternoon. The league said Ridley bet on NFL games in the 2021 season, during a five-day stretch in late November 2021, when he was away from the team on the non-football illness reserve list.

The Falcons picked up Ridley’s fifth-year option before the 2021 season. He carries a cap hit of $11.1 million in 2022. That money will take a toll until Ridley is reinstated by the league. This means Ridley’s cap hit will come off the books for the Falcons in 2022. Prior to this news, the Falcons were $7 million over the 2022 salary cap, per OverTheCap.com. Now, OverTheCap reports that the Falcons have $3,375 in cap space one week before the start of the league year.

With the wide receiver room stripped to the bare bones of what this room once was two years ago, the Falcons have some decisions to make about where the position goes from here. Scott, Kris and I dive into this topic in this week’s weekly question.

From the Falcons’ perspective, how does this news change the outlook for the 2022 offseason? And honestly, the usual season to follow?

From the Falcons perspective, how does this news change the outlook of the 2022 offseason? And honestly, the regular season to follow?

From the Falcons perspective, how does this news change the outlook of the 2022 offseason? And honestly, the regular season to follow?

Tori: There are two schools of thought here, I think. First of all, there is an idea that this really does not change the view of the Falcons at all. They have the cap relief they need, and they’re already looking to bring in a wide receiver to help fill space with or without Ridley on the active roster in 2022. On the same subject : Cheerleaders are awarded. They want to feature the YAC bros we talked about on the podcast and in the roundtable before. So, that’s the first thought.

The second, however, is this: Oh my god, it’s a tough break for the Falcons not having the upcoming draft capital and a potential trade for Ridley. And not having it changes what the Falcons should prioritize in the draft. Even without Ridley playing most of the 2021 season he remains valuable as a trade candidate for a Falcons team in need of draft capital. I think it’s possible the Falcons could have gotten a second round pick for Ridley. Even with cap relief, don’t have an extra pick? This is a hard pill to swallow.

Kris: Based on many reports, it seemed that the Falcons were prepared to move forward without Calvin Ridley regardless. From that point of view, this situation has not changed much.

However, if the Falcons move Ridley, they will likely be compensated with a high draft pick or high impact player. Or the Falcons could have moved forward by retaining Ridley, who is one of the best receivers in the league.

This now means that the Falcons must move forward by rebuilding their entire wide receiver room without Ridley and the compensation they could have gotten for him. For the offseason, I think this means the Falcons will likely think much harder about the receiver at No. As for the 2022 regular season, the Falcons have arguably the worst receiving corps in the NFL; rebuilding the group that will be vital in freeing up players like Kyle Pitts, and the Falcons running game in the future.

Scott: Often lost in all the Ridley conversation, before or after Monday’s news, is that he is a high-class football player who ranks among the best route runners in the NFL and someone I consider capable of being a true No. 1 receiver.

Those characteristics are valuable as a producer in the field or as a trading asset. As Tori and Kris said, losing that trade compensation hurts the Falcons in 2022 and maybe even more, because it’s hard to imagine they’ll get the same results in 2023 as they did this year after Monday’s revelations.

The Falcons need as many swings in the draft as they can get, especially if they have to rebuild their receivers and edge rushers room, where only Ade Ogundeji is the only impact player left in that position group. It’s a lot of work, in addition to other necessities. That means the Falcons will have fewer opportunities to acquire players. That’s not always a good thing for a team in transition.

Atlanta Falcons linebacker Deion Jones #45 takes the field before the game against the New England Patriots at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia, Thursday, November 18, 2021. (Photo by Brandon Magnus/Atlanta Falcons)

The Atlanta Falcons take the field before a game against the New England Patriots at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia, Thursday, Nov. 18, 2021. (Photo by Kyle Hess/Atlanta Falcons)

Atlanta Falcons long snapper Josh Harris #47 walks out before the game against the New Orleans Saints at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia, Sunday, January 9, 2022. (Photo by Brandon Magnus/Atlanta Falcons)

Atlanta Falcons players exit the tunnel before the game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia, Sunday, Sept. 12, 2021. (Photo by AJ Reynolds/Atlanta Falcons)

Atlanta Falcons defensive end Jonathan Bullard #99 takes the field before the game against the New England Patriots at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia on Thursday, November 18, 2021. (Photo by Casey Sykes/Atlanta Falcons)

Atlanta Falcons cheerleaders run out before the game against the New England Patriots at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia, Thursday, Nov. 18, 2021. (Photo by Adam Hagy/Atlanta Falcons)

Atlanta Falcons linebacker Foye Oluokun #54 takes the field before the game against the New England Patriots at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia, Thursday, November 18, 2021. (Photo by Kyle Hess/Atlanta Falcons)

Atlanta Falcons linebacker Adetokunbo Ogundeji #92 runs out before the game against the New England Patriots at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia on Thursday, November 18, 2021. (Photo by Adam Hagy/Atlanta Falcons)

Atlanta Falcons linebacker Foyesade Oluokun #54 takes the field before the game against the New England Patriots at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia on Thursday, November 18, 2021. (Photo by Brandon Magnus/Atlanta Falcons)

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Feleipe Franks #15 runs out before the game against the New England Patriots at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia, Thursday, November 18, 2021. (Photo by Adam Hagy/Atlanta Falcons)

Atlanta Falcons cornerback A.J. Terrell #24 takes the field before the game against the New England Patriots at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia, Thursday, November 18, 2021. (Photo by Brandon Magnus/Atlanta Falcons)

Atlanta Falcons defensive tackle Grady Jarrett #97 takes the field before the game against the New England Patriots at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia on Thursday, November 18, 2021. (Photo by Brandon Magnus/Atlanta Falcons)

Atlanta Falcons linebacker Foye Oluokun #54 runs out before the game against the New England Patriots at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia, Thursday, November 18, 2021. (Photo by Dakota Williams/Atlanta Falcons)

Atlanta Falcons head coach Arthur Smith walks out before a game against the New Orleans Saints at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia, Sunday, Jan. 9, 2022. (Photo by Brandon Magnus/Atlanta Falcons)

Atlanta Falcons strong safety Duron Harmon #21 runs out before the game against the New England Patriots at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia, Thursday, November 18, 2021. (Photo by Dakota Williams/Atlanta Falcons)

The Atlanta Falcons take the field before a game against the New England Patriots at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia, Thursday, Nov. 18, 2021. (Photo by Kyle Hess/Atlanta Falcons)

The Atlanta Falcons take the field before a game against the New England Patriots at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia, Thursday, Nov. 18, 2021. (Photo by Kyle Hess/Atlanta Falcons)

Atlanta Falcons cheerleaders run out before the game against the New England Patriots at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia, Thursday, Nov. 18, 2021. (Photo by Dakota Williams/Atlanta Falcons)

The Atlanta Falcons take the field before a game against the New England Patriots at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia, Thursday, Nov. 18, 2021. (Photo by Kyle Hess/Atlanta Falcons)

The Atlanta Falcons prepare to take the field before their game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia, Sunday, Dec. 5, 2021. (Photo by Brandon Magnus/Atlanta Falcons)

Atlanta Falcons center Matt Hennessy #61 takes the field before the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia, Sunday, December 5, 2021. (Photo by Dakota Williams / Atlanta Falcons)

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan #2 prepares to exit the tunnel before the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia, Sunday, December 5, 2021. (Photo by Shanna Lockwood/Atlanta Falcons)

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan #2 prepares to take the field before the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia, Sunday, December 5, 2021. (Photo by Brandon Magnus/Atlanta Falcons)

Atlanta Falcons head coach Arthur Smith walks out before a game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia, Sunday, Dec. 5, 2021. (Photo by Kyle Hess/Atlanta Falcons)

The Atlanta Falcons take the field before a game against the New England Patriots at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia, Thursday, Nov. 18, 2021. (Photo by Brandon Magnus/Atlanta Falcons)

Atlanta Falcons guard Chris Lindstrom #63 takes the field during team introductions on September 27, 2020. (Photo by Adam Hagy/Atlanta Falcons)

Atlanta Falcons defensive tackle Mike Pennel #98 prepares to walk onto the field before facing the Detroit Lions at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia, Sunday, December 26, 2021. (Photo by Shanna Lockwood/Atlanta Falcons)

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan #2 takes the field before the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia, Sunday, December 5, 2021. (Photo by Shanna Lockwood/Atlanta Falcons)

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan #2 and quarterback Feleipe Franks #15 walk out for warmups before the game against the New Orleans Saints at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia on Sunday, January 9, 2022. (Photo by Brandon Magnus/Atlanta Falcons)

Atlanta Falcons cornerback A.J. Terrell #24 walks out before the game against the New Orleans Saints at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia, Sunday, January 9, 2022. (Photo by Brandon Magnus/Atlanta Falcons)

Atlanta Falcons offensive tackle Jake Matthews #70 takes the field before the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia, Sunday, December 5, 2021. (Photo by Dakota Williams/Atlanta Falcons)

Atlanta Falcons players run out before a game against the New Orleans Saints at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia, Sunday, Jan. 9, 2022. (Photo by Kyle Hess/Atlanta Falcons)

Atlanta Falcons linebacker Foye Oluokun #54 walks out for warmups before the game against the New Orleans Saints at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia, Sunday, January 9, 2022. (Photo by Brandon Magnus/Atlanta Falcons)

What does this news mean for people like Russell Gage?

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What does this news mean for someone like Russell Gage?

Tori: I think it means a lot to bring Gage back. I don’t think his market value will be very high, so I think the Falcons can re-sign him for a good price. In the same breath, I think this Ridley news means more for the return of Cordarrelle Patterson than Gage. I believe the Falcons have interest in bringing Gage back, especially now that Ridley is out and there is no WR1 in Atlanta. See the article : Photos: Cowboys quarterback Michael Irvin, Jerry Jones join ESPN’s First Take at The Star in Frisco.. The receiver room is wide… thin, after all. However, I would argue that Patterson and Kyle Pitts were more integral to the Falcons offensive operation than Gage. Gage’s production can be replicated by some other players who – I think – can be cheaper if Gage’s market value is too high. I would not be shocked, however, if the Falcons do not see the value in bringing him back.

Kris: Gage finished with 66 catches for 770 yards and four touchdowns through 14 games last season. He’s a reliable third-down target and has made some decent catches all year. Despite his production in 2021, I think the Falcons might be able to find a player through free agency or the draft to replicate Gage’s output.

On the other hand, there is the importance of Gage’s impact beyond the field. He led a core of young wide receivers this year after Ridley stepped away from football, and a year in Arthur Smith and Dave Ragone’s system could be something that has organizational value. Gage can help other receivers brought in by adjusting to the playbook, the team, and even the city, which the Falcons can appreciate.

Scott: I’m more of an advocate for bringing Russell Gage back than I was before, and I always thought it was a good idea if the market value did not shoot the moon. His familiarity with the scheme can help an otherwise new crop of receivers adjust, and his proficiency as a third down target is attractive as Matt Ryan adjusts to the new guys.

If you can bring Gage back and add another quality veteran to Ridley’s 2021 salary, it’s a win. And, now, playing devil’s advocate against myself, this offers an opportunity for Fontenot and Smith to remake the receiving corps from the ground up, with the talent they are looking for as a scheme fit. If Gage doesn’t fit that mold, then obviously don’t do it.

In light of this news, how high are you drafting wide receivers (if any) if you are Terry Fontenot and Co.?

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In light of this news, how high are you drafting a wide receiver (if at all) if you’re Terry Fontenot and Co.?

Tori: I’m all over the board on this question. I can see the Falcons taking a wide receiver as early as the first round. I know I saw The Athletic’s Dane Brugler write that even though he had the Falcons take Kyle Hamilton with the No. also. I don’t know if I’m ready to pull the trigger on drafting a wide receiver in the first round, though. I still like the idea of ​​going after the cornerback or edge rusher in the first. On the same subject : Newtown Women Pursue Career on Philadelphia Eagles Cheerleading Squad. The Falcons have two second-round picks. I could see using one of those for a receiver, or even a third rounder. I think free agency plays a role in this as well. Can the Falcons find a WR1 on the open market? If they can, maybe drafting a wide receiver isn’t as high on the priority list as we think.

Kris: I’m not drafting a receiver at No. 8. I think drafting an edge rusher should be a priority, then the best available if a player like Cincinnati cornerback Sauce Gardner or if Notre Dame safety Kyle Hamilton is there. However, I can see a situation where the Falcons use their draft capital to move up into the first round and select a talented receiver late.

I’ll wait until the second round to catch the receiver. My choice is George Pickens from the University of Georgia. I have loved Pickens’ SEC-freshman-of-the-year-winning game, but I loved his attitude at the combine. “I like to talk trash, but I also like to show it,” Pickens said. “… I feel like if you have that, you gon’ put fear in a lot of people”.

Having a guy like that in your team is important, and his game matches the talk.

Scott: This does not change the mentality of the best player available, no matter what the mock draft – including mine next week (wink, wink) – may say. The Falcons need to add a good player somewhere, and I think there will be a better option at No. 8 than a top receiver. Go for it and address the recipient later, mining from a class full of explosive talent.

In a trade down, however, Treylon Burks looked really good. He’s bro YAC, sure, and you can get him later, maybe late teens or No. 20 in a deal with QB-starved Pittsburgh? if you can bail out of the eighth option and get a nice return.

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How much does Calvin Ridley get paid?

He will now be under contract until 2023 and his $11.116 million salary will come off Atlanta’s books this season. The NFL suspended #Falcons WR Calvin Ridley indefinitely through at least the 2022 season for gambling on NFL games after he left the team last season.

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