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What Calvin Ridley’s suspension means for the Falcons’ offseason plans.
The NFL has suspended Atlanta Falcons receiver Calvin Ridley for the 2022 season for gambling at stake during the season.
In a statement from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, the league said Ridley participated in this activity while away from the team facilities.
“NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell today suspended Calvin Ridley of the Atlanta Falcons indefinitely through at least the end of the 2022 season to play in NFL games in the 2021 season. The activity took place over a five-day period in the end of November 2021, while Ridley was not on the team and was away from the club’s facility on the list of non-football diseases. “
Atlanta already has a number of needs to be met under the free agency and the draft. Losing Ridley is one of the biggest losses in the league. Ridley was clearly the best option for the Falcons. With Ridley now out of the 2022 season, the remaining options outside of Kyle Pitts are on the list Chad Hansen, Brayden Lenius and Austin Trammell. In other words, no one should be considered a reliable alternative to Ridley.
The draft is next month and the Falcons own the eighth overall pick. There are a number of needs on the list that Atlanta needs to fill out, but now the organization may be forced to draft a wideout with its first-round pick.
Now, this draft has a lot of depth to the position, and while the Falcons defense is awful, it’s not the worst option to pick a wideout of eight. Receivers like the Treylon Burks, Drake London and Garrett Wilson are viable options, and can all be available when the Falcons are on the clock.
Burks is a great bodybuilder who plays physically while possessing elite avoidance and route-running ability. London is another big goal down the field. While not as physical as the Burks, London has proven to be versatile both inside and out, while being a threat in the red zone. Wilson is a very intangible receiver who can be potent all over the field. With this latest news, Atlanta is likely to have to address the receiver position with its first choice.
Another route that the Falcons can go, and one that I think makes the most sense, is to move back and gather more choices. Eighth place is an excellent position for a team like the Steelers to act up to and pick a quarterback like Malik Willis.
As mentioned earlier, this draft has an enormous depth at the wide receiver position, and there should still be opportunities that warrant a mid-late first-round pick. Chris Olave and Jameson Williams are names that come to mind at this position in the first round.
The Atlanta Falcons have No. 8 pick in the 2022 NFL Draft
Defending defense at the eighth overall pick is something I do not expect the Falcons to do now that the opportunities in the offense are so rotten. The league is based on the offensive side of the ball, and with an immobile, aging quarterback like Matt Ryan, it is monumental to have a go-to option. In addition, the Falcons are in a division where good offensive play can be hard to come by with the lack of quarterback play.
If things do not change drastically at the quarterback position for these other NFC South teams, the Falcons could be more encouraged to build around the offense. It’s something that has not led to much success lately for Atlanta, but the quarterback landscape has not been as weak as it looks now in NFC South.
With the salary cap rising, Atlanta currently sits with just under $ 4 million, according to Spotrac, with little room to maneuver. The Falcons were able to cut Grady Jarrett and save $ 16.5 million while eating just over $ 7 million in dead money. Ridley’s suspension could have a seepage effect on the Falcons’ offseason plans.