NFC Notes: Calvin Ridley, Falcons, Panthers, Saints


  • ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler writes that league executives think the Falcons will end up trading WR Calvin Ridley this offseason, with an NFC scout pointing out: “Atlanta is cash-strapped and needs pieces along the offensive line, so they could use the draft capital.”
  • Ridley is due $11.16 million on the fifth-year option in 2022 and is seen by many around the league as a top-ten receiver. The people Fowler talked to thought Atlanta could get a conditional second-round pick that turned into a first based on playing time. 


  • The Panthers declared $4,677,972 in unused cap space to roll over for 2021, though this figure will be audited for incentives by the NFL before becoming official. (Field Yates)


  • The Athletic’s Katherine Terrell lists Saints RT Ryan Ramczyk, LB Demario Davis, CB Marshon Lattimore, K Wil Lutz and DT David Onyemata as players the Saints will probably restructure this offseason. 
  • She adds they have tougher decisions to make on players like DE Cameron Jordan, WR Michael Thomas and G Andrus Peat due to age, injury or other concerns, even though there’s a $60 million cap hole to dig out of by mid-March. 
  • Terrell thinks the Saints will explore their options at quarterback this offseason, but re-signing Jameis Winston is a decent fallback option who should be affordable and still has some upside. She points out both Winston (ACL) and Taysom Hill (Lisfranc) will be rehabbing injuries this offseason, which makes having another competition difficult. 
  • Terrell adds wide receiver is New Orleans’ top need this offseason even if they keep Thomas. 
  • The Saints’ two most important free agents are S Marcus Williams and LT Terron Armstead, per Terrell. She says it makes a lot of sense to focus on getting a long-term deal done for Williams while letting Armstead, who missed eight games to injury this season and has never played a full season, test the market. 
  • If the Saints were to lose Armstead, that would leave veteran James Hurst as the next man up, either on the left or right side depending on what they do with Ramczyk. 
  • Nick Underhill points out the Saints can save $88 million in cap space by restructuring Lattimore, Hill, Ramczyk, Thomas, Jordan, Peat, Davis, Onyemata, RB Alvin Kamara and CB Bradley Roby. They’re projected to be around $60 million over the cap in 2022 right now. 
  • There have been persistent whispers about Saints HC Sean Payton‘s status with the team not being rock solid. Some in NFL circles think he might be being recruited for a broadcast career, with a coordinator telling ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler: “Not sure I see Payton walking away from coaching — he loves it too much — but there’s definitely some buzz there that maybe he’s being courted on that side. Maybe he goes and does that and returns one day to coach the Cowboys or something.”
  • The Saints declared $154,654 in unused cap space to roll over for 2021, though this figure will be audited for incentives by the NFL before becoming official. (Field Yates)

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