Now that the Patriots season is over, the focus has been turned on what they should and shouldn't do in the off-season. Cutting players, restructuring contracts, and signing marquee free agents are important topics that Patriots Life has been covering heavily since the final minutes ticked away from New England's season. However, in the NFL, people don't really talk about trades because they don't really happen at all. Which is why any talk about trading Stevan Ridley is a futile exercise.
One of the first pieces I ever wrote for Patriots Life was when Ridley's fumbling issues were at the height of their inconvenience. I had some radical ideas for what Bill Belichick should do with him for the rest of the season and beyond. I suggested benching him or moving him down the rest of the depth chart for the rest of the season, which kind of happened, except I didn't go to my crystal ball and realize LeGarrette Blount was going to explode for the rest of the season.
Ridley's contract (via Spotrac) has a cap hit of $939,750 and if the Patriots cut him, there will only be $162,000 of dead money. These are friendly numbers for a running back that still has upside. It also befits the Patriots if Ridley does not show improvement with holding onto the football. In my piece about Ridley, I wrote that running back is an extremely expendable and replaceable position, as Belichick has shown. He turned Danny Woodhead into a viable third down back and got Benjarvus Green-Ellis a shiny new contract from the Cincinnati Bengals. He picked up both of those players off the scrap heap. Any team could've had those players (the Jets had Woodhead before the Patriots) but Belichick saw the value in each of them.
Perhaps the biggest detriment to Ridley's trade value is the Trent Richardson trade that happened between the Cleveland Browns and Indianapolis Colts this season. Richardson was a third overall pick and the Browns fleeced the Colts into giving them a first round pick for his league average productivity. Ridley posted better rushing numbers all around than Richardson, but that does not matter anymore. Any GM that is at least semi competent will surely turn down a Ridley trade for a first round pick, and most likely a second or even a third round pick. It only takes one GM to make a boneheaded offer, but that would be a fickle exercise and a waste of time for the Patriots.
If people start talking about trading Stevan Ridley, it better be in reference to their Madden franchise. The best case scenario would be the Patriots getting a fourth round pick. It's not like Stevan Ridley is washed up, he just couldn't hold onto the ball and was reprimanded by cutting of playing time. He held onto the football for the rest of the season after that, in limited playing time. If he can continue holding onto the football into next season, his value would outweigh any return the Patriots would get in a trade.
Photo via AP