Expectations were quite high for New England Patriots RB Stevan Ridley signing into last year, and understandably as a result. Ridley ended the 2012 season with 1,263 rushing yards and 12 TDs, and approximately he was drafted in the second round in 2
The New England Patriots are no strangers to draft-day trades in the Bill Belichick generation. This season, the Patriots may be looking 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 some reasons why the Patriots may look to move Ridley during the draft. The 1st has to do with ball security difficulties. As anyone that has followed Ridley's career with the Patriots surely knows these days, he has had a major problem with fumbles. Given that entering 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 point that the Patriots preach ball security with all of their running backs and also offensive players in most cases, the likelihood that they would extend Ridley long-term when he can cough the football up at any moment seems improbable. He is actually skilled, but in today's NFL, the running back position is deemphasized. You can usually discover running backs with an identical skillset to Ridley who is able to actually hold on to the football.
Another reason why the draft would be an ideal time for all to transfer him is because the majority of good players in free agency have been claimed. Teams around the league still have holes to fill up and also at this point, they are more than likely pulling their options between just a few good players at each position. To be frank, teams might find a proven commodity in Ridley more appealing than a newcomer running back that has never taken a snap in an NFL game.
Possibly the most crucial reason why the Patriots may opt to move him at some point throughout the draft is due to financial causes. With Ridley set to turn out to be a free agent at the end of this upcoming season, he may possibly be searching for a big pay increase despite his fumbling concerns. One team out there with a major need at the position will probably allow him that pay boost.
Will the Patriots be willing to offer a player who was demoted to third series much less than a year ago a long-term contract for much more money? My guess would be no. The team will likely need to get anything in return by trading him now as alternatives of losing him for nothing in free agency.
Having said that, the Patriots probably will be seeking to add a running back or two in the draft. Keeping Ridley may not be in the cards for a team that prides itself on getting the job done. For a running back, that job is holding onto the football. A couple of teams that may have desire for a trade for Ridley are the Tennessee Titans and the Cleveland Browns. Both 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 potential Ridley trade is one thing to keep an eye on maybe during the 2nd or third day of the 2014 NFL draft.
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