Falcons trade former starting QB Ridder to Cardinals for WR Moore

Thu, Mar 14, 2024
NFL News (AP)

Falcons trade former starting QB Ridder to Cardinals for WR Moore

ATLANTA (AP) - The Atlanta Falcons quickly moved on from Desmond Ridder, trading their former starting quarterback to the Arizona Cardinals for receiver Rondale Moore on Thursday.

The dumping of Ridder was no surprise after the Falcons made a big splash in free agency by signing Kirk Cousins to a four-year, $180 million contract that includes $100 million in guaranteed money.

A third-round pick in 2022, Ridder had no future in Atlanta after failing to hold the starting job last season. His tenure with the Falcons ended with a 8-9 record over 17 starts.

Ridder will now serve as a backup to Kyler Murray with the Cardinals.

Moore gives Cousins another playmaker at receiver, joining 2022 first-round pick Drake London and free-agent signee Darnell Mooney. The Falcons also announced Thursday the re-signing of receiver KhaDarel Hodge to a one-year contract.

Moore, a second-round pick from Purdue in 2021, will be looking to revive his career after a promising start. The 5-foot-7 player had 54 receptions for 435 yards as a rookie, but he hasn't matched those numbers over the past two seasons.

The speedster had 40 catches for 352 yards and a touchdown this past season. He also spent time at running back, rushing for a career-high 178 yards on 28 carries.

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Moore, who finished his three-year tenure in the desert with 135 receptions for 1,201 yards and three scores, should be motivated to improve those numbers as he heads into the final year of his rookie contract.

After a stellar college career at Cincinnati, Ridder took over the starting job in Atlanta for the final four games of his rookie season. He showed enough promise for the Falcons to hand him the starting job heading into 2023, but numerous turnovers and inconsistent play led then-coach Arthur Smith to twice make the switch to Taylor Heinicke in a desperate bid to steady the offense.

It did not work. The Falcons, who haven't had a winning record or made the playoffs since 2017, finished 7-10 for the third year in a row under Smith, leading to his firing just hours after the final game.

Ridder showed flashes of potential in 2023 - including three games with more than 300 yards passing - but he had as many interceptions as touchdowns (12 apiece), along with 12 fumbles.

The trade leaves Heinicke in the backup role behind Cousins.

Hodge, who had 14 catches for 232 yards last season, will be returning for his third season in Atlanta after agreeing to a new contract.

In another move Thursday, the Falcons re-signed offensive lineman Storm Norton to a one-year deal. He appeared in 12 games with four starts for the Falcons in 2023.

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AP Pro Football Writer Rob Maaddi and AP Sports Writer David Brandt in Phoenix contributed to this report.

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