The Eagles discussed Ridley with the Falcons, according to Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer, who notes the sides nearly completed a deal (Twitter link). The Falcons backed out of the talks, with Glazer adding the NFC South team did not say why. The looming suspension, which became known this week, almost certainly played a role in scuttling the trade. Indeed, the Falcons learning of this significant Ridley hurdle factored into the trade not happening, Mike Garafolo of NFL.com tweets, noting the Eagles were in the lead among Ridley suitors this offseason.
While the Eagles have used first-round picks on wide receivers in each of the past two years, they can still be considered needy at the position. DeVonta Smith has fared far better than Jalen Reagor, and despite the NFL expanding its season to 17 games, Philly only saw one wideout (Smith) surpass 650 receiving yards in 2021. The Eagles also appear to have whiffed with their 2019 second-round pick of J.J. Arcega-Whiteside. It is safe to say the Eagles will add a notable name here this offseason, potentially with one of their three first-round picks. But Ridley is certainly off the radar for the foreseeable future.
Ridley joined Hall of Famers Paul Hornung and Alex Karras, former Colts first-round quarterback Art Schlichter and cornerback Josh Shaw as NFL players suspended for gambling. Ridley’s fifth-year option will toll to 2023, keeping him tied to the Falcons. Though, it is far from certain if he will ever play with Atlanta again. Ridley will be 28 when next eligible to play.
After surpassing 800 yards in each of his first two seasons, Ridley broke out for 1,374 and nine touchdown catches in 2020, a season in which Julio Jones struggled with a hamstring injury. Ridley landed on the Falcons’ Non-Football Injury list last year, stepping away from the team because of a mental health issue. Trade rumblings regarding Ridley surfaced in January, and the Eagles were one of the teams to pursue a swap. But the Alabama alum’s stock has undoubtedly taken a hit this week, leaving the Falcons shorthanded at receiver. Russell Gage is set to hit free agency next week.