The NFL announced Monday that it has reinstated Jaguars WR Calvin Ridley. The 28-year-old hasn't played since Week 7 of 2021. Ridley initially left the team for personal reasons. The league then suspended him for all of 2022 after revealing that Ridley had placed football bets while he was away from the Falcons. Jacksonville acquired the wideout last November for a fifth-round 2023 NFL Draft pick and a conditional fourth-rounder for 2024. (That can become a third- or second-round pick.) The Jaguars now add Ridley to an offense that got quality fantasy football output from WR Christian Kirk, WR Zay Jones, and TE Evan Engram in 2022. Projecting the 2023 target shares will be a challenge, but each remains an upside player. Ridley's best ball ADP has been all over the place this early draft season. He has climbed as high as WR16 in Underdog drafts and currently sits 20th there, four WR spots ahead of Kirk. FFPC drafters, meanwhile, have Ridley 29th among WRs -- two spots behind Kirk. The two also sit close together on other draft sites. Keep the ADP variations in mind as you decide both whether and where to draft each Jaguars wideout. The collective talent can only help QB Trevor Lawrence, who's going eighth at the position in FFPC drafts right now.
Jaguars OC Press Taylor gave his early impressions of WR Calvin Ridley at OTAs. "I've been really impressed with Calvin,” Taylor said. “I've watched every snap Calvin's played in the NFL, just like a lot of our guys have. So we're very confident in the player we're getting.” Taylor also praised Ridley’s preparation and work ethic. Meanwhile, beat writer John Shipley wrote Monday that Ridley’s off to a great start in Jacksonville. “Ridley simply moves differently than any other wide receiver on the field,” Shipley observed. “The pacing and tempo in his routes, the quickness of his feet, and his ability change up his approach to routes even when he isn't getting the ball all stand out.” Fantasy drafters certainly expect Ridley to rebound quickly, as his current Underdog Fantasy ADP stands at WR17. See where he slots in our 2023 WR rankings.
The Falcons are trading WR Calvin Ridley to the Jaguars in exchange for what NFL Network's Ian Rapoport calls a "complex draft compensation that can be worth at maximum a 2023 5th rounder and a 2024 2nd rounder." We'll pass along further details on the return when we have them. Ridley, of course, is suspended for at least the rest of the 2022 season for gambling on NFL games. He'll be able to apply for reinstatement in February. Assuming that gets granted, he'll join Jacksonville as a 28-year-old with a 1,374-yard 2020 season under his belt. It's a risky move for the Jaguars, but one that could pay off big time. Ridley and Christian Kirk have the potential to be a strong duo for QB Trevor Lawrence, who's had an up-and-down start to his NFL career.
Update: Per Rapoport, the 2024 draft pick starts as a 4th-rounder. It becomes a 3rd if Ridley hits a play-time milestone and a 2nd if Ridley agrees to a long-term deal with Jacksonville.
The NFL has suspended Falcons WR Calvin Ridley for at least the 2022 season for gambling on NFL games while he was away from the team last year, according to multiple reports. The league says Ridley placed bets during a 5-day window in November. He will not be allowed to apply for reinstatement until February 2023. Atlanta now has a large hole to fill at wideout without the benefit of whatever the team might have gotten back in a potential Ridley trade. With Russell Gage headed for free agency, the Falcons' passing game has significant questions to answer.
Scott Bair of the Falcons’ official site writes that “there isn’t a lot to go on at this point” regarding a possible Calvin Ridley trade. Ridley’s last game came in Week 7. Then he missed the remainder of the season for mental health reasons, and no substantial updates have surfaced since. Bair surmises that a Round 2 pick would be “fair” compensation — and it seems reasonable. Ridley, 27, is slated to enter a contract year in the fall. Teammate Russell Gage is set to enter free agency next month, so it's quite possible this Atlanta WR corps undergoes major change.
Falcons WR Calvin Ridley is eligible to come off the non-football injury list this week, but HC Arthur Smith had no update on his status on Monday. We'll continue to monitor the situation, but fantasy owners shouldn't be planning on having Ridley in Week 12 lineups.
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