Are the New England Patriots ready to trade Stevan Ridley?
Expectations were very high for New England Patriots RB Stevan Ridley going into a year ago, and understandably so. Ridley finished the 2012 period with 1,263 rushing yards and 12 TDs, and also on average he was drafted in the second round in 2013. Unfortunately, Ridley unsatisfied his managers with just 773 rushing yards and seven TDs, but yet here's why you should take a chance on him in 2014.
The New England Patriots are no strangers to draft-day transactions in the Bill Belichick generation. This year, the Patriots might be seeking to trade away a player that has been a significant part of their running game since being drafted in the 3rd round in 2011: RB Stevan Ridley.
There are a few reasons why the Patriots may look to move Ridley through the draft. The first has to do with ball security difficulties. As anyone that has followed Ridley's career with the Patriots surely knows by now, he has had a major problem with fumbles. Since getting into the league in 2011, he has fumbled the football nine times, losing six of them. The team responded to the problems by demoting Ridley to third-string running reverse at the latter part of the 2013 season.
Given the fact that the Patriots preach ball security together with all of their running backs and also offensive players in general, the likelihood these people would extend Ridley long lasting when he can cough the football up at any moment appears improbable. He is skilled, but in today's NFL, the running back position is deemphasized. You can usually find running backs with a similar skillset to Ridley who is able to actually hold on to the football.
Another one of the reasons why the draft would be the best time to transfer him is really because the majority of good players in free agency have been claimed. Teams around the league still have gaps to fill up and at this moment, they are most likely pulling their options between only a few good players at each position. Simply put, teams might find a reliable commodity in Ridley a lot more enticing than a rookie running back that has never taken a snap in an NFL match.
Possibly the most important reason why the Patriots may choose to move him at some time during the draft is due to economical causes. With Ridley set to turn out to be a free agent at the end of this forthcoming season, he will likely be seeking a huge pay increase despite his fumbling issues. One team out there with a significant need at the placement will likely allow him that pay boost.
Will the Patriots be willing to give a player who was demoted to third string less than 1 year ago a long-term contract for much more money? My guess would be no. The team will probably want to get anything in return by trading him now instead of losing him for nothing in free agency.
Having said that, the Patriots must be looking to add a running back or two in the draft. Maintaining Ridley might not be in the cards for a team that prides by itself on getting the job done. For a running back, that job is grasping onto the football. Two teams that could have desire for a trade for Ridley are the Tennessee Titans along with the Cleveland Browns. Both of the teams need a running back with Chris Johnson passed from the Titans, as well as the injury-prone Ben Tate combined with aging running back Willis McGahee at the position for the Browns.
In any event, a prospective Ridley trade is one thing to keep close track of perhaps during the second or even third day of the 2014 NFL draft.
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