It's easy to forget that the Falcons made it to Week 17 in playoff contention with their best player having stepped away from the team on Halloween. Calvin Ridley put out an announcement during Atlanta's 19-13 loss to the Panthers that he was taking time away from football to focus on his mental wellbeing.
Now, Steve Wyche is reporting that "both sides could be looking for a fresh start." Ridley caught 217 passes for more than 3,000 in his first three seasons coming into 2021, but now it seems like he may have played his last game in Atlanta.
I was actually talking to somebody yesterday about what the hell happened to Ridley, because I hadn't heard a word in the two months since he left the team. I don't know what exactly the options are at this point, but part of drafting Kyle Pitts No. 4 overall was seemingly to pair him with Ridley for the next decade and hopefully have another Roddy White and Julio Jones-esque duo. If Ridley goes, you used a top five pick on a really good tight end who's now your primary receiver.
I'm sure Atlanta would get a nice return if it were to deal Ridley, but I would certainly prefer that to not happen, given what I just mentioned. Even if the Falcons got a first round pick, they should spend every good pick they have this year on defense. So then they're just robbing Peter to pay Paul.
Hopefully the two sides work something out, because guys like Calvin Ridley do not come around very often.