Calvin Ridley walked away from the Atlanta Falcons for the second and final time on Halloween for personal reasons.
Ridley had previously missed the Falcons trip to London and a win over the New York Jets on October 10, but he returned after a bye week to play against the Miami Dolphins on October 24.
Ridley informed the Falcons on game day against the Carolina Panthers on October 31 that he was stepping away from football, and he didn't make another appearance with the team in 2021.
Both Ridley and the Falcons have maintained radio silence since issuing his statement during the Panthers game, but NFL Network reporter Mike Garafalo believes a trade is in the works for the Falcons and Ridley.
"My educated prediction," said Garafalo on Good Morning Football, "is that Calvin Ridley is elsewhere for the 2022 season, but we'll see how it plays out."
Because the Falcons placed Ridley on the non-football injury list, they have options with Ridley's contract. Matthew Chambers of The Falcoholic did an excellent job of breaking down what the Falcons can do with Ridley's contract.
The Falcons picked up the option year on Ridley's rookie contract worth $11.1 million in 2022, but because he was placed on the non-injury list for 2021, the Falcons can roll over his fourth-year which was $1.97 million.
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That means the Falcons could still have two years of control for Ridley. His fourth-year, which didn't vest in 2021 because of his absence, and his fifth-year option.
Assuming Ridley is healthy, his trade value has taken a hit. We might argue that the 27-year old receiver might be able to garner a third-round draft pick and maybe a second-round pick in a trade. It helps that the team trading for him could have him for two years and roughly $13 million.
That's a gamble worth taking on Ridley, we're willing to bet some team believes.
Because of his age, the non-vested year will hurt Ridley's future earning power. Ridley would turn 30 during the first year of a new contract after his rookie contract expires.
The Falcons would likely jump at the chance to pick up another second or third round pick and clear the $11.1 million they could pay him off the salary cap in 2022.
The term "fresh start" has been thrown around a lot regarding the Falcons and Ridley. Hopefully for both parties, that comes to fruition.