FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- The Falcons made significant headlines on Tuesday as the trade deadline came and went with one of the biggest moves of the day coming out of Atlanta. The Falcons announced the trade of Calvin Ridley to Jacksonville on Tuesday afternoon.
Arthur Smith said on Wednesday morning that discussions regarding a Ridley trade had been happening for "a long time," which seeing the caveats described in the deal itself likely back this statement up.
The details of the deal are convoluted as Ridley's future potential production is unclear as he awaits reinstatement by the league after he was served an at-minimum, year-long suspension for violating the NFL's gambling policy. The earliest Ridley could be reinstated by the league is February 15, 2023. Because of this, the Falcons and Jaguars agreed to a deal that involves a number of stipulations when it comes to the compensation the Falcons could receive for Ridley.
According to multiple reports, the Falcons traded Ridley for a conditional 2023 fifth round pick and a conditional second round pick in 2024. The conditions are as followed:
1) If Ridley is not reinstated by a specified date, the Falcons received a 2023 sixth round pick instead of a 2023 fifth round pick.
2) If Ridley is reinstated by a specific date and makes the team, the Falcons receive a fourth round pick in 2024.
3) If Ridley makes the team and hits a specified incentive, the Falcons receive a third round pick in 2024.
4) If Ridley signs a contract extension with the Jaguars, the Falcons will receive a second round pick in 2024.
Prior to his suspension, Ridley was carrying a base salary of $11.1 million. That number was taken off the Falcons books when Ridley was suspended. It would have returned to the Falcons player payroll upon his reinstatement to the league. According to OverTheCap.com, that base salary will now be Jacksonville's responsibility when Ridley is reinstated.
The Falcons made other moves at the deadline on Tuesday, namely trading safety Dean Marlowe to Buffalo for a 2023 seventh round pick and acquiring cornerback Rashad Fenton from Kansas City for a conditional 2023 seventh round pick. Smith said those deals happened "as people call around" in the lead up to the trade deadline.
"Those are more opportunity right there at the deadline," Smith said.
Ridley, on the other hand, was a much longer discussion, as talks with Jacksonville were "on-going," per Smith.
"That wasn't something short-term that happened at the trade deadline," Smith said of the Ridley trade. "Those were a long process. I'll leave it at that."
Smith wouldn't comment much further on the logistics of the deal itself other than saying it was what the organization thought was "the right thing" to do "by the team and the players" involved.
"It's about the people here. It's a tough business but we care about people, whether it's Dean Marlowe, or any player, Matt Ryan, that's the way it goes," Smith said. "That's in the interest of the team, and in regards to the players as well."
For what it's worth, because of the trades made, the Falcons did send players to potentially desirable locations from a personal standpoint. Marlowe is a New York City native, having gone to high school in Queens. He returns to his home state, having been traded to Buffalo.
Ridley returns to his home state, too. Before being drafted by the Falcons and attending the University of Alabama, Ridley was originally from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and attended Monarch High School.
If the Falcons end up getting a Day 2 pick in 2024 for Ridley, and the wide receiver finds success in his home state? The trade could be a win-win for every party involved.
That will remain to be seen, though, as Ridley awaits the opportunity to request reinstatement.
Get a roof top view of the win over the Carolina Panthers from the top of Mercedes-Benz Stadium during Week 8 of the 2022 season.