Should Pats pursue Calvin Ridley trade at this possible asking price? originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
One of the NFL's most talented wide receivers could be on the move this offseason.
Falcons wideout Calvin Ridley is entering the final year of his contract with Atlanta. The 27-year-old played in only five games last season before stepping away from football after Week 7 to focus on his mental health, and it's still unclear whether he plans to return next season.
If Ridley does play in 2022, though, it might be elsewhere, as Atlanta could explore a trade for the 2020 All-Pro as it eyes a rebuild.
"Atlanta is cash-strapped and needs pieces along the offensive line, so they could use the draft capital," an NFC scout told ESPN's Jeremy Fowler on the possibility of a Ridley trade.
So, what would be the Falcons' asking price for Ridley -- and would a trade interest a team like the New England Patriots that lacks a top-tier pass-catcher?
Fowler spoke to one "league exec" who noted a "conditional second-round pick -- which could turn into a first-rounder based on playing time -- seems like a sweet spot" for Ridley. Fowler also mentioned the Patriots, New Orleans Saints and Miami Dolphins as teams that need receiver help.
If Ridley pans out, a first-rounder would be a lot to give up for a receiver who missed 12 games last season. Ridley also carries an $11.1 million cap hit in 2022 before hitting free agency in 2023.
If he plays like he did in 2020, though, he'd be worth that cost: The Alabama product racked up 1,374 yards and nine touchdowns on 90 catches two seasons ago and caught at least 60 balls for at least 800 yards in his first two NFL seasons.
The Patriots are also investing $11 million in Nelson Agholor this upcoming season, and Ridley would be a clear upgrade over Agholor. What's more, he'd join several Crimson Tide alumni in Foxboro, including quarterback Mac Jones and running back Damien Harris.
If New England can find some way to move Agholor, then it's definitely worth exploring a trade for Ridley to give Jones a No. 1 option in the passing game.
The Patriots have already invested heavily at pass-catcher, however -- Agholor, Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith are all making north of $11 million in 2022 while Kendrick Bourne will carry a $6.4 million cap hit -- so unless they move on from one of those players, it seems unlikely they'd spend more money at the position with several other needs on the roster.