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Building Blocks: Calvin Ridley


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The Falcons were big Calvin Ridley fans. They coveted the Alabama receiver heading into the 2018 NFL Draft and were thanking lucky stars when he was available at No. 26 overall.

They made him a Falcon with that selection, brought him into the fold and watched him thrive. His three professional seasons have been productive, with a true breakout year coming with 90 catches for 1,374 yards and nine touchdowns in 2020. Most of that damage was done with Julio Jones out with a hamstring issue.

That provides great confidence that Ridley can be a true No. 1 receiver moving forward, especially with Jones recently traded to Tennessee. Having that presence in the pattern is invaluable, especially for someone in his mid-20s.

The Falcons exercised the fifth-year team option on his contract, meaning he's attached to the team through the 2022 season.

Contract status, age, production and potential makes Ridley a key building block for a Falcons franchise looking to build a young foundation to usher in an era of sustained success. They need several of them to let good times roll, adding them through the NFL draft especially.

Building blocks, for the purposes of this weeklong series, have to meet certain parameters. They must be currently working on a rookie contract, with great production and an ascending career path. Those talents will be leaders of an attempted renaissance under new leaders Terry Fontenot and Arthur Smith.

Ridley certainly fits that bill. He has serious star power and will be counted on to pace the Falcons passing offense.

Keeping Ridley long-term will require a major investment. Top-tier receivers make bank, and more seasons like the last one suggests Ridley's in line for a huge second contract. The Falcons should gladly pay it if he stays healthy and dominant in Smith's offensive system.

It would also be a passing of the torch. The Falcons have steadily employed top-tier receivers since 2005, when Roddy White joined the crew. The four-time Pro Bowler and former All-Pro was awesome for an extended stretch, especially when Jones arrived in 2011. It didn't take Jones long to stand on his own and start an era of individual excellence. The Falcons would be thrilled if Ridley can do the same thing and provide the dynamic and steadying presence to make the offense dangerous.

He's a talent to building around, and the Falcons should do what's required to keep him in place while constantly striving to improve the cast around him.

Falcons Building Blocks: Calvin Ridley latest in line of top receivers after Roddy White, Julio Jones (atlantafalcons.com)

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20 minutes ago, ya_boi_j said:

I won't allow it. I got free time today

Should be fun but seriously I love our WR core I think Ridley will be a true number 1 and I think Gage is up to the task in the number 2 role. Darby is another I want to see on the field there is a lot to be excited about with this group. 

 

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13 minutes ago, Mister pudding said:

Roddy at least signed team friendly deals as a top tier receiver. I fear Calvin will one day break the bank or high-tail it to free agency

You cannot be serious in comparing 2 different eras. Contracts are not the same as they were back then and to this point, he has earned a nice pay day

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1 hour ago, Mister pudding said:

Roddy at least signed team friendly deals as a top tier receiver. I fear Calvin will one day break the bank or high-tail it to free agency

Eh, with Julio off the books and the cap going up a lot over the next couple of years, his resigning should be easy.

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41 minutes ago, Jesus said:

Eh, with Julio off the books and the cap going up a lot over the next couple of years, his resigning should be easy.

Question is for how long do you try and get him him at big $$? He turns 27 in December of 2021 and he and his agent know this most likely is his last contract in the NFL, but paying a WR huge money in his 30's is just flat out stupid. Like Vic Beasley 5th year option stupid or that wonderful Julio contract that were crippled by.

So, would he take a  maximum 4 year deal, heavily front loaded, so you could get out say after 3 years if the production falls? I do not know if he takes that??

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4 minutes ago, PointSwayzee said:

Question is for how long do you try and get him him at big $$? He turns 27 in December of 2021 and he and his agent know this most likely is his last contract in the NFL, but paying a WR huge money in his 30's is just flat out stupid. Like Vic Beasley 5th year option stupid or that wonderful Julio contract that were crippled by.

So, would he take a  maximum 4 year deal, heavily front loaded, so you could get out say after 3 years if the production falls? I do not know if he takes that??

Do you have someone to replace his production? Roddy was let go because his production was replaced. Julio was let go because his production was replaced. Unless there is another top shelf receiver sitting on the bench, there isn't, then you re-sign him. 

Sign him to a 5 year extension and he is 32 when it ends. Same age as Julio and people were torn up when he was traded. That gives the team a few years to find and develop a replacement. 

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22 hours ago, PointSwayzee said:

Question is for how long do you try and get him him at big $$? He turns 27 in December of 2021 and he and his agent know this most likely is his last contract in the NFL, but paying a WR huge money in his 30's is just flat out stupid. Like Vic Beasley 5th year option stupid or that wonderful Julio contract that were crippled by.

So, would he take a  maximum 4 year deal, heavily front loaded, so you could get out say after 3 years if the production falls? I do not know if he takes that??

Beasley’s 5th year contract coming after two years of under-performance was just dumb. Not sure why you would compare RidleY’s to his.

Age 27-32 are a WRer’s peak performing years. 

Ridley isn’t Julio, but since you brought up JJ’s contract, his production last 5 years averaged 87/1365/6……he was worth every penny.

 

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2 hours ago, ya_boi_j said:

Darby is who I'm most interested in seeing in action. 

 

2 hours ago, dodge_birds_fan said:

I honestly don't know much about him, but the more I hear the more I like.

I am interested in Darby as well. I know I wasn't to hype on him early on in the off season, but I've done some research. He played behind TWO first round picks in N'Keal Harry and Brandon Aiyuk, so when you look at the numbers he put up at Arizona State it doesn't look super impressive(note he only played in 2 games last season and 6 year one and 8 year two)

ASU career numbers:

67 Rec for 1,317 yards with 14 TDs (19.7 yards per rec)

Now you have to understand the ASU offense to get why I am intrigued with Darby.  N'Keal Harry played the X receiver during his time at ASU which is the key receiver in that offense (boom 1st rounder) Harry thrived in that role and when he left Brandon Aiyuk took over the X receiver in 2019(boom 1st rounder). In that 2019 season Darby became the #2 option in the ASU offense and put up 30 rec for 616 yards and 8 tds with an average of 19.9 yards per rec. Now 2020 was suppose to be Darby's year to play the X receiver. He has the tools to be pretty good. He has shown it in high school and college. The thing with Darby is lack of tape. For what its worth ASU believed in him to take the reins of a position that helped propel two receivers into the 1st round. 

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28 minutes ago, Shaggy 2.0 said:

 

I am interested in Darby as well. I know I wasn't to hype on him early on in the off season, but I've done some research. He played behind TWO first round picks in N'Keal Harry and Brandon Aiyuk, so when you look at the numbers he put up at Arizona State it doesn't look super impressive(note he only played in 2 games last season and 6 year one and 8 year two)

ASU career numbers:

67 Rec for 1,317 yards with 14 TDs (19.7 yards per rec)

Now you have to understand the ASU offense to get why I am intrigued with Darby.  N'Keal Harry played the X receiver during his time at ASU which is the key receiver in that offense (boom 1st rounder) Harry thrived in that role and when he left Brandon Aiyuk took over the X receiver in 2019(boom 1st rounder). In that 2019 season Darby became the #2 option in the ASU offense and put up 30 rec for 616 yards and 8 tds with an average of 19.9 yards per rec. Now 2020 was suppose to be Darby's year to play the X receiver. He has the tools to be pretty good. He has shown it in high school and college. The thing with Darby is lack of tape. For what its worth ASU believed in him to take the reins of a position that helped propel two receivers into the 1st round. 

Aiyuk looks to be the real deal out in San Fran. I looked at a little but of Darby's material and was impressed, granted it was in the Pac 12 but his best games came against 2 of the best teams in the conference. Darby has potential to be a nice complimentary piece if given the opportunity. Then again that's coming from a place of not believing in Blake or Zach so take that as a grain of salt

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4 hours ago, ROMERO said:

He's more than ready to be WR 1. This years WR core is going to be fun to watch this year. Gage taking over WR 2 and the new kid Darby proving himself. 

I kinda want to see Olamide take some reps as WR3. Just to see how good he can do at a consistent role

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I like ridley, and hope we keep him. But, don't want to fall into the falcon for life mode again. Things are looking up for our financial ability to keep him. We just need to remember that there are 2-3 blow the top off of opponant recievers coming out of every draft these days.

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3 hours ago, Williamb said:

You know, he hasn't got the size but he exudes that same energy that roddy had. Looking forward to it also.

Curious.

JJ is a monster at 6'3" and 220.  Darby is 6' 201.  Ridley is 6'1" and 190.  Gage is 6' 184. Blake is 6'1" and 181.   Zaccheus is 5'8" and 193. 

It looks to me like WRs run 6' 190.  Darby is bigger than that.

Roddy White played at 6' 210.  I loved the way he boxed out defenders with that powerful body.  Is that Darby's style?  It appears he has a knack for getting open, has good hands, good speed, and is not easily brought down.  I did not see him putting his body on defenders like Roddy could, but I did see defenders close to him losing their balance, hitting the ground, and just losing balance allowing Darby to get wide separation. 

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3 minutes ago, NorthGaBoy said:

Curious.

JJ is a monster at 6'3" and 220.  Darby is 6' 201.  Ridley is 6'1" and 190.  Gage is 6' 184. Blake is 6'1" and 181.   Zaccheus is 5'8" and 193. 

It looks to me like WRs run 6' 190.  Darby is bigger than that.

Roddy White played at 6' 210.  I loved the way he boxed out defenders with that powerful body.  Is that Darby's style?  It appears he has a knack for getting open, has good hands, good speed, and is not easily brought down.  I did not see him putting his body on defenders like Roddy could, but I did see defenders close to him losing their balance, hitting the ground, and just losing balance allowing Darby to get wide separation. 

I meant to quote you in my comment about roddy.

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