NFL officially reinstates Jacksonville Jaguars WR Calvin Ridley: 3 immediate takeaways
2. The Jacksonville Jaguars will focus on the defense in the 2023 NFL Draft
There were no legitimate reasons for the NFL not to reinstate Calvin Ridley. He didn’t break any rules following his suspension. Having said that, the league had everyone wondering what was taking so long, as he filed for reinstatement on February 15 and they lifted the suspension three weeks later.
Ridley is back and ready to roll. He’ll round out a wide receiver group that includes Christian Kirk and Zay Jones. On top of that, tight end Evan Engram will be back after getting the franchise tag, so the Jaguars’ offense will be loaded with talent.
Kirk, Jones, and Ridley, who’ll be playing under the fifth-year option on his rookie deal, will count $28 million against the cap. Moreover, left tackle Cam Robinson and right guard Brandon Scherff are scheduled to have cap hits of $26 million and $23.5 million, respectively. If you add the $11.35 million franchise tag Engram got, that’s a total of $89.27 million between six players. Given all the resources the team’s brass has allocated to the offense the last two seasons, they will likely focus on fortifying their defense in the 2023 NFL Draft.
The Jaguars used the tag on Engram not long after the news or Ridley broke. Had he hit the open market, tight end would have been one of their top needs this offseason and due to the limited amount of cap space they currently have, they would have probably drafted a tight end in the first round.
With Ridley back in the fold, it’s highly unlikely that the Jaguars will invest any of their early draft pick in the offense. Instead, expect them to focus on fortifying all three levels of the defense.