3 Jaguars impending free agents who need to be brought back, 2 who should walk

• If the Jaguars want to bounce back in 2024, they need to re-sign these 3 free agents (and let a couple more leave).

Dec 31, 2023; Jacksonville, Florida, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Josh Allen (41) celebrates
Dec 31, 2023; Jacksonville, Florida, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Josh Allen (41) celebrates / Jeremy Reper-USA TODAY Sports
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2. The Jaguars' offense is better with Calvin Ridley in the fold

One of the biggest storylines surrounding the Jaguars last year was the return of Calvin Ridley to the NFL. A first-round pick by the Atlanta Falcons in 2018, Ridley became a difference-maker early in his NFL career, hauling in 217 receptions for 306 yards with 26 interceptions in his first three seasons. Unfortunately, Ridley wasn't the same in 2021, mustering a measly 281 yards and two touchdowns in five games before announcing his retirement.

At the time, Ridley cited his mental health as the main reason for hanging up the cleats but he later revealed that he was playing through a broken foot. During his retirement, he bet on NFL games and earned an indefinite suspension that forced him to miss the 2022 season. This didn't deter the Jaguars from trading for him though. They acquire the star wide receiver at the deadline expecting him to eventually get reinstated.

As expected, Ridley was reinstated last March and he made the most of his chances. He routinely was the star of training camp and one of the Jaguars' top offensive players when the regular season came. Granted, it wasn't perfect. The Alabama product dealt with drops throughout the year and his rapport with Trevor Lawrence wasn't always the best. That said, his impact on the football field was noticeable. Besides crossing the 1,000-yard mark, he drew a league-best seven defensive pass-interference calls.

Now, Ridley is scheduled to become a free agent. Re-signing him should be a no-brainer. However, the Jags will need to give Atlanta a second-round pick as part of the trade they made in 2022 to acquire him. But if they let him walk, it will be a third. That could play a role in whether he returns but it shouldn't. For starters, the Jags are projected to get a compensatory selection in the third round. That should lessen the impact of having to give up the second-rounder.

Also, there won't be many enticing options in free agency to replace Ridley. Tee Higgins will be appealing if he's available but the Cincinnati Bengals will probably make an aggressive effort to keep him from walking. Simply put, the Jaguars were a better team with Ridley in the fold, and by letting him leave, they would create another need on top of the ones they already have.