This week the NFL once again showed why they are the kings of the sports world. Just in the last week Aaron Rodgers announced he would be staying with the Packers and signed a record 4 year 200$ million dollar contract, Russell Wilson was traded from the Seahawks to the Broncos for a huge package including young players and picks, Carson Wentz got traded again, (this time to an NFC East rival in the Commanders) this time no first round picks were involved just 2nd and 3rds, and of course: Calvin Ridley was suspended for the entire 2022 NFL season for betting on games during his mental health leave of absence. 

I’m not as interested in the discussion about whether or not Ridley should have been suspended for an entire season, as I am how it affects the upcoming offseason for the Eagles. This news came out of nowhere, and effectively threw a wrench into some of the Eagles’ offseason plans. 

According to a report from NFL Insider Jay Glazer, the Eagles were “close to a deal” for the 27 year old stud. This is extremely interesting because it shows that Howie Roseman and the Eagles front office are aggressively pursuing talent upgrades at key positions like WR. While fans were pushing for this kind of move, it honestly surprised me that the Eagles were actually deep into trade talks for someone of Ridley’s caliber. 

Here’s the full quote from Glazer on John Clark’s podcast “Takeoff”. When John Clark asked Glazer if the Eagles were looking to get another receiver to complement Devonta Smith he said: 

Glazer: “ It was actually funny because they were one of the teams, they were close to a deal with Atlanta for Calvin Ridley, and Atlanta backed out at the last second. And Philly was like, ‘What’s going on?’ And they couldn’t really tell them. And so Philly wasn’t too happy but after [the Ridley suspension news broke] was like, OK, Atlanta did business the right way. They weren’t allowed to say anything, the legalities of it. They weren’t allowed to say a word. They just had to pull out. But, man, Philly could’ve gotten Calvin Ridley if he didn’t have these issues, that would’ve been good for them. But, again, Howie is always really aggressive. That would’ve been big. […]”

The timing of the news is very interesting because it raises some questions about how hard the Eagles were pursuing Ridley, and if that interest had peaked before the Falcons learned of Ridley’s actions, would the Falcons have dealt him? Imagine if the Eagles had given up real assets to acquire Ridley just for this news to come out after the fact. It would have been a complete disaster.

Credit to the Falcons, as multiple Eagles sources have claimed they handled it very well considering the situation. Initially the Eagles management was unhappy with the Falcons and how they backed out of the deal, but with the context we have now, there probably wasn’t a better way to handle it.

This news is ultimately a good sign for the Eagles’ outlook in 2022. It confirms that Howie Roseman is aggressively pursuing talent upgrades, even those in the trade market. It also confirms that the team is committed to building around Jalen Hurts for 2022 which is another good sign. With the Eagles losing out on Ridley I’m starting to wonder: What else does Howie Roseman have in store for us this offseason?

Some of the premium free agent WR options have been either been locked down or tagged including Davante Adams, Chris Godwin, Mike Williams, and others. With the free agent options starting to slim down, and losing out on Ridley, does that motivate Howie to use one of the three first round picks on a WR? It seems like they want to go in the direction of established talent, so that’ll be something to keep a close eye on.

But now that we know Roseman and the Eagles were extremely interested in Ridley before the news, does his suspension change anything in terms of their interest in him? Will his full year suspension completely turn off teams like the Eagles to testing the waters in 2023 when he is reinstated? 

Only time will tell if that’s the case, but one thing is clear. Howie Roseman and the Eagles management mean business for the 2022 season. If they were pursuing Ridley in the trade market, that most likely means they are looking for other avenues to add a proven WR to pair with Devonta Smith.

With NFL free agency set to kick off on March 16th, it begs the question: Will Roseman make a big splash at this position in free agency? Will he leverage those three first round picks to make aggressive moves for proven talent at other positions?

It definitely sets the stage for an exciting next few weeks, not to mention the NFL Draft at the end of April which might end up being the most important draft of the Howie Roseman era in Philly. Needless to say, the NFL offseason has officially started out with a bang, and what the Eagles do this offseason will ultimately determine the fate of the franchise for the future.

 

Featured Image: (Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)

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