NFL Rumors: Latest Buzz on Calvin Ridley Trade, Jim Harbaugh Raiders Links, More

Jake RillFeatured Columnist IIJanuary 21, 2022

NFL Rumors: Latest Buzz on Calvin Ridley Trade, Jim Harbaugh Raiders Links, More

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    Seth Wenig/Associated Press

    The NFL playoffs are far from over. There are four divisional-round games set for this weekend, two conference championship matchups the following week and then Super Bowl LVI on Feb. 13. Eight teams still have an opportunity to end the season by winning the Lombardi Trophy.

    However, the other 24 teams in the league are thinking about the future. Eight franchises need to hire a new head coach, and all of the eliminated teams are starting to plan for free agency and the draft while also pondering potential trade markets.

    Even though the postseason is ongoing, there have been plenty of rumors regarding what may happen off the field over the next few months. Here's some of the latest buzz from around the NFL.

Ridley Could Yield High Draft Pick in Potential Trade

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    Seth Wenig/Associated Press

    Calvin Ridley played only five games during the 2021 season after the Atlanta Falcons wide receiver stepped away from football to focus on his mental health. He didn't return to the team following its Week 6 win over the Miami Dolphins.

    Rumors have been circulating that the Falcons could trade the 27-year-old, which would give him a fresh start. And Atlanta could land a top draft pick in return if that does happen.

    According to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN, one league executive believes the Falcons would be able to acquire a conditional second-round pick that would have the potential to turn into a first-rounder in exchange for Ridley.

    With the talented receiver set to make $11.16 million in 2022, it's possible the Falcons could be looking to move his contract, too.

    "Atlanta is cash-strapped and needs pieces along the offensive line, so they could use the draft capital," an NFC scout told Fowler.

    The Falcons selected Ridley with the No. 26 overall pick in the first round of the 2018 NFL draft, and he's spent his first four NFL seasons with the team. But it's possible he could soon be leaving Atlanta for the first time in his career.

Harbaugh Potentially Interested in Raiders Job?

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    Lynne Sladky/Associated Press

    Will Jim Harbaugh stay in the college ranks and try to lead Michigan to more success, or could he soon be returning to the NFL? There's been some buzz that the former San Francisco 49ers head coach may want to come back to the league after spending the past seven seasons leading the Wolverines.

    There appears to be one NFL job that interests the 58-year-old enough to leave Michigan. Bruce Feldman of The Athletic reported that multiple sources within the Wolverines program believe he would join the Las Vegas Raiders if he was offered the role.

    It remains to be seen whether the Raiders have interest in Harbaugh, but they're currently conducting a search for a new head coach. They could opt to keep interim head coach Rich Bisaccia, or they could hire an external candidate, such as Harbaugh.

    Harbaugh's lone stint as an NFL head coach came with the 49ers from 2011-14. He was successful during that time, though, as he went 44-19-1 and made the playoffs three times in four seasons, including an appearance in Super Bowl XLVII.

McDaniels Another Potential Candidate for Las Vegas?

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    Michael Reaves/Getty Images

    Josh McDaniels hasn't been a head coach since 2010, and there hasn't been a ton of buzz surrounding the New England Patriots offensive coordinator this month. But that doesn't mean he isn't a potential candidate for at least one of the openings around the NFL.

    Jonathan Jones of CBS Sports reported that the 45-year-old's name "keeps getting floated" for the Raiders job. His lone stint as an NFL head coach came from 2009-10, when he went 11-17 over two seasons with the Denver Broncos.

    "Haven't heard much about him this cycle and would take some circumstances all coming together to pry him loose, but keep an eye on Vegas," Jones tweeted.

    Since getting fired by Denver during the 2010 season, McDaniels has been an assistant around the league. He was the Rams' offensive coordinator in 2011 and then returned to the Patriots to be their OC, a position he has held since 2012. He was previously a New England assistant from 2001-08.

    There have been plenty of names tied to the Raiders' vacancy, so it will be interesting to see whether McDaniels emerges as a legitimate candidate among a crowded field.

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