FLOWERY BRANCH – Scott Pioli, who was the Falcons assistant general manager from 2014-19, likes the team’s trade of Calvin Ridley to the Jaguars.
“I absolutely love this deal,” said Pioli on CBS Sports. “I love everything about it. I love conditional trades, because again you’re not really going to pay unless the player performs.”
The Falcons sent Ridley to the Jaguars for a fifth-round pick in 2023 and a conditional fourth-round pick that could turn into a second-round pick in 2024.
Ridley was suspended by the NFL for gambling on games while he was away from the team for to address his mental-well being. He can apply for reinstatement in February.
“Yes, there is risk, but there potentially incredible upside,” said Pioli, who ESPN.com named the personnel man of the decade in 2009. “I don’t think you can lose in a deal like this again because you don’t pay out anything until the player actually performs and shows up.”
Pioli was with the Falcons when they selected Ridley in the first round (26th overall) of the 2018 draft.
“I got to know Calvin Ridley very, very well,” Pioli said. “I absolutely love this guy. Here’s what I’ll say, he made a mistake. Here’s the deal, each one of us is so much more than the worst thing that we’ve done in life.
“There are a lot players who have been far more egregious in their behavior, have done much worst things. He was involved in something that he should not have been. He made a mistake. I don’t think he has a problem.”
Pioli believes the mental health issue can be managed.
“There are lot of players in the league right now playing with mental health issues,” Pioli said. “Also, it’s up to the team, the league and the individuals to get themselves (the help) that they can.”
Pioli believes that Ridley can get reinstated and return to the form he flashed over his first three seasons with the Falcons.
“Again, I spent a lot of time around this kid, when I tell you I love this guy and everything that he represents, everything that he’s about, I truly, truly do,” Pioli said. “I have a feeling this can be a incredible trade for the Jacksonville Jaguars.”
The Jaguars were given a B-minus and the Falcons a B-plus for the trade, by the33rdteam.com.
“It was time to move on from Ridley,” wrote T.J. McCreight, a former personnel executive with the Colts, Cardinals and Eagles. “The Falcons probably just wanted to get him out of the building and give both sides a fresh start. That they got anything in return should be considered a bonus.”
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Atlanta Falcons 2022 schedule
Sept. 11: Saints 27, Falcons 26
Sept. 18: Rams 31, Falcons 27
Sept. 25 Falcons 27, Seahawks 23
Oct. 2 Falcons 23, Browns 20
Oct. 9 Buccaneers 21, Falcons 15
Oct. 16 Falcons 28, 49ers 14
Oct. 23 Bengals 35, Falcons 17
Oct. 30 Falcons 37, Panthers 34 OT
Nov. 6 vs. Los Angeles Chargers, 1 p.m.
Nov. 10 at Carolina, 8:15 p.m.
Nov. 20 vs. Chicago, 1 p.m.
Nov. 27 at Washington, 1 p.m.
Dec. 4 vs. Pittsburgh, 1 p.m.
Dec. 18 at New Orleans, TBD
Dec. 24 at Baltimore, 1 p.m.
Jan. 1 vs. Arizona, 1 p.m.
Jan. 8 vs. Tampa Bay, TBD
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