Falcons ‘were talking to other teams’ about Calvin Ridley before NFL suspension

For most of the football season and the offseason, the biggest cloud hanging over the Falcons was the future of wide receiver Calvin Ridley, who missed most of the season focusing on his mental health. . Reports said the Falcons and Ridley were close to parting ways, but Falcons general manager Terry Fontenot and coach Arthur Smith said there was no update on Ridley’s situation. .

Then, on March 7, the league announced it would suspend Ridley for at least the 2022 NFL season for violating its playing policy. That meant Ridley’s $11.16 million cap will be off the books for the Falcons in 2022 and will return when reinstated by the league.

Fontenot said it came as a surprise to everyone in the Falcons organization when they received a call on Feb. 9 that Ridley was under investigation.

“We were talking to other teams and having discussions,” Fontenot said, “and yet we got that call and had to take a step back.”

Ridley’s situation fell into the proverbial dormant as the Falcons explored the trade for quarterback Deshaun Watson from the Cleveland Browns and traded longtime quarterback Matt Ryan to the Indianapolis Colts last week. Still, if Ridley was traded, the Falcons could be looking at a much different situation heading into the draft.

One of the best receivers in the NFL, the Falcons may have managed to secure a first for Ridley from a team looking for a star to improve their receiving corps. They could have used that pick to sign a quarterback for the future or another top talent to add to a roster with many needs.

Instead, the Falcons will have to wait until 2023, and now that Fontenot and Smith have acknowledged they are looking to move Ridley, his future in Atlanta seems unlikely.

“[Calvin is] on our list right now, and we continue to support and in every way we can and do our best and what the future looks like; we don’t know,” Fontenot said. “It’s a long time away. And so we’ll see what happens with that. But we have been really transparent with all information about Calvin. We were transparent with everything with him. And we’ll see where that leads.”