As of right now, the Falcons are projected to be at the cap next year, but then have $95 million available to them in 2023, as per Spotrac. This does not include the fact that they’ll be able to part ways with Ryan then once it will actually make economic sense to do so. What does this all mean? Well, it shows that they believe that they’re in a repair and not a rebuild and that their cap space seems to promote that notion. They were in a good spot this offseason to restructure Matt Ryan’s contract and thanks to Pitts’ rookie deal, they’ll be in excellent position to extend Calvin Ridley‘s contract.
Ridley has a cap hit of under $3.5 million this season and since the Falcons picked up his 5th year option, his charge in 2022 is just over $11 million. They’ll look to get a deal done next offseason before he has to play out the year on his option, which would avoid him hitting the market as an unrestricted free agent. An alternative, they could look to tag him and hold off any new contract until after Ryan’s contract is gone.Embed from Getty Images
The Falcons will benefit from the receiver deals upcoming such as Chris Godwin, Allen Robinson, and Davante Adams which should set the market much more clearly for their negotiations with Ridley. A deal will certainly not be higher than an Adams’ contract, but would probably be in the vicinity of Godwin’s deal.
The top receiver contracts by average per year currently are DeAndre Hopkins at $27.25 million, Julio Jones $22 million, Keenan Allen $20.025 million, Amari Cooper $20 million, Michael Thomas $19.25 million, and a three-way tie at $18 million by Kenny Golladay, Tyreek Hill, and Odell Beckham Jr.
The Hopkins contract tore the lid off the deals for receivers, so it will be interesting to see if Adams is the highest paid receiver and by how much? I would expect a deal for Godwin, Robinson, and Ridley to be in excess of $20 million as all three are substantially more productive than Golladay was prior to his deal this offseason with the Giants. Golladay inked a five-year deal at $72 million. Of the three next receivers on the contract docket, I would suspect that Godwin’s deal will be the least out of the bunch and then Calvin Ridley’s contract in second but only just behind Robinson.
Ridley and Robinson are more than likely ahead of Julio Jones and I would expect a new contract in the $24-25 million average per year. This of course gets pushed down if Adams ends up in that range, either paid by the Packers or another team after a trade. I would not expect a team to pay Robinson or Ridley more or near what Adams will be paid.
With Julio Jones’ contract off the books, along with Matt Ryan’s in a couple of seasons, Atlanta should be in a solid position to keep Ridley playing alongside Kyle Pitts. It will be a testing time ahead for Arthur Smith and Co. as they try to steer through a partial rebuild.