Jacksonville Jaguars must kick the tires on WR Calvin Ridley if available

Carlos Sanchez
Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley (18) at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley (18) at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports /

The Jacksonville Jaguars need to revamp their wide receiver corps this upcoming offseason and with Michael Gallup and Chris Godwin suffering season-ending injuries, the free-agent market might not be as robust as it looked a couple of months ago. That’s why the Jags should consider pursuing Calvin Ridley if he becomes available via trade.

Ridley abruptly retired in the middle of the 2021 season. At the time, he cited his mental health as the reason for hanging up the cleats. It looks like the wide receiver is ready to come back to the gridiron but it may not be with the Atlanta Falcons, the team that made him a first-round draft pick back in 2018. Steve Wyche of NFL Media joined the Dukes and Bells show and said “Ridley’s future with the team is in jeopardy“.

"The fact that he and the team have been so quiet and he hasn’t surfaced, it appears like both sides could be looking for a fresh start."

Ridley was having a down season in 2021, hauling in 31 receptions for 281 yards and two touchdowns in five games. However, he was one of the most productive wide receivers in the NFL from 2018 to 2020, catching 217 passes for 3,061 yards and 26 touchdowns. You can make the case his mental health had a negative effect on his production in 2021, so there’s a realistic chance he can play like his former self after taking a break. If the Falcons are willing to trade the wide receiver, there will be a market for his services.

How much should the Jaguars pay for Calvin Ridley?

Ridley is set to earn $11.1 million and all of it’s guaranteed. That could complicate matters in a potential trade, so it will be interesting to see if there’s something the Falcons can do to facilitate a potential deal. So let’s say the Jags are interested in acquiring the Alabama product, they have the cap space to take on his salary and even give him a contract extension. On the other hand, there’s no way they would exchange the first overall pick in the 2022 NFL draft for him. Instead, they could offer their second-round pick, which is set to be the 33rd overall, and another selection.

Now, there may be other teams with multiple first-round selections that could trade for Ridley. The Philadelphia Eagles, the New York Jets, and the New York Giants come to mind. It’s not often that a top receiver is available via trade and it may make more sense for the aforementioned clubs to acquire proven talent via trade than bet on the uncertainty of draft. Another alternative for the Jags would be to offer their 2023 first-round pick but Atlanta might be more interested in trading for a selection this year.

There are several teams that could outbid the Jaguars if Ridley becomes available via trade but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t try to land him. They need to get Trevor Lawrence some weapons this offseason and Ridley would give their wide receiver corps a big boost.

Next. 5 offseason moves that could improve the Jaguars offense in 2022. dark