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Calvin Ridley
NFL

Should Patriots Trade For Calvin Ridley?

  • The Draft Network
  • January 29, 2022
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Calvin Ridley’s name is continuously being brought up in trade rumors being linked to the New England Patriots. https://twitter.com/AllbrightNFL/status/1483861175871934466 It isn’t rare for a star receiver to move teams during their prime years. In fact, in recent memory, it has become quite common: DeAndre Hopkins was shipped to Arizona, Stefon Diggs was essentially swapped with the pick that would become Justin Jefferson, and Odell Beckham Jr. was sent to Cleveland. While each of these players was traded shortly after displaying frustration with their respective organizations, the Ridley situation presents a little bit more nuance. Ridley hasn’t suited up since Week 7, citing mental health as his primary reason. While Ridley has clearly established himself as one of the most dynamic receivers in the league, there are still questions about whether Ridley’s absence pertained to the Atlanta front office or if the reasons for missing game time will carry over to the next organization that trades for him. What would it take to get Ridley? If Ridley was being moved following the 2020 season, there wouldn’t be much of anything that other teams could do to pry the former Alabama wideout away from Atlanta. However, due to his extended absence, Ridley’s trade value has naturally tanked. The last five trades of premier receivers featured Julio Jones, Brandin Cooks, Hopkins, Diggs, and Beckham Jr. Here are the trade packages for each of these receivers: Julio Jones Trade (2021): Traded by Falcons with a 2023 6th round pick to Titans for a 2022 2nd round pick and a conditional 2023 pick (4th round). Brandin Cooks Trade (2020): Traded by Rams with a 2022 4th round pick to Texans for 2020 2nd round pick (57th overall, Van Jefferson). DeAndre Hopkins Trade (2020): Traded by Texans with 2020 4th round pick (131st overall, Rashard Lawrence) to Cardinals for 2020 2nd round pick (40th overall, Ross Blacklock), 2021 4th round pick (122nd overall subsequently traded, Tyler Shelvin), and David Johnson. Stefon Diggs Trade (2020): Traded by Vikings with 2020 7th round pick (239th overall, Dane Jackson) to Bills for 2020 1st round pick (22nd overall, Justin Jefferson), 2020 5th round pick (155th overall subsequently traded, Trevis Gipson), 2020 6th round pick (201st overall subsequently traded, James Proche), and 2021 4th round pick (134th overall, Janarius Robinson). Odell Beckham Jr. Trade (2019): Traded by Giants to Browns for 2019 1st round pick (17th overall, Dexter Lawrence), 2019 3rd round pick (95th overall, Oshane Ximines), and Jabrill Peppers. Each of these trades comes with varying levels of value interpretation—Ridley isn’t netting the same package as Beckham Jr. and Diggs. Ridley taking time off of playing significantly hurt his trade value even if he comes back and is still the same player as before. However, Ridley should return more than his former teammate Jones did due in large part to age differences. The most similar trade is probably the Cooks to Houston transaction from a value standpoint. If the Patriots were to trade for Ridley prior to the draft, much like they did with Cooks back in 2017, Belichick would most likely have to part with either the 21st-overall pick or a second-rounder plus a later-round pick swap. The next question for the New England front office would be whether Ridley presents an immediate upgrade at the wide receiver position. The short answer would be an emphatic yes. https://twitter.com/luchvain/status/1487182306947313666 Ridley is an elite route-runner, can dominate over the middle, and can go up and win contested balls. This season, the Patriots and Mac Jones could have really used a player who can make special plays after the catch. Jakobi Meyers and Kendrick Bourne both had solid seasons, but they project to be complementary pieces rather than focal points of the passing attack. In fact, the Patriots haven’t had a true outside receiver since the Randy Moss reclamation project. Belichick has failed in the draft repeatedly and has even made some critical errors on wide receiver trades (i.e. Mohamed Sanu). If the Patriots are serious about maximizing this window of contention before Jones’ rookie contract is up, then a trade for Ridley is a no-brainer. Adding an elite receiver to a young quarterback has panned out extremely well in recent memory. Diggs helped Josh Allen and the Bills take a step up to the next level. Additionally, Ja’Marr Chase has helped Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals reach new heights. Adding a player like Ridley to the receiving room would add new elements for Jones and the offense as a whole. Belichick looks well on his way to winning 2021 Executive of the Year; helping out his young quarterback by adding a dynamic player such as Ridley would do wonders in defending this title in 2022.

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