Calvin Ridley re-signing with the Jacksonville Jaguars seems inevitable

• The Jaguars have a strong chance to re-sign Calvin Ridley when free agency officially starts.

Dec 4, 2023; Jacksonville, Florida, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Calvin Ridley (0) runs
Dec 4, 2023; Jacksonville, Florida, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Calvin Ridley (0) runs / Jeremy Reper-USA TODAY Sports

Heading into the free agency, it looked like the Jacksonville Jaguars were going to lose wide receiver Calvin Ridley. But in a surprising turn of events, there's a good chance he'll re-sign with them. While the New England Patriots made a competitive offer, Ridley's seemingly waiting for the start of the new league year to return to Jacksonville.

The Jags and New England were the top suitors for Ridley in the open market. The Carolina Panthers and the Tennessee Titans were reportedly going to pursue him but they didn't make a serious run for the start wideout.

The Patriots, for their part, were interested in signing Ridley but he made it clear he wanted to re-sign with the Jaguars. However, there was a big hurdle preventing his return. If he got an extension before the start of free agency, Jacksonville would have owed the Atlanta Falcons a second-round pick, as part of their trade in 2022. But if he signs after free agency begins, it will be just a third-rounder.

The Jags need to give Atlanta their third because Ridley met playing time conditions last year. Still, the team's brass would much rather part ways with a third-rounder than a second. The fact that Ridley is waiting to sign shows that he's committed to returning to Jacksonville.

Having said that, It's not a done deal until Ridley puts his John Hancock on the dotted line. Perhaps the Patriots will increase what they think is a competitive offer, or maybe a dark horse team will come out of nowhere and outbid both New England and the Jaguars.

Calvin Ridley would be the crown jewel for the Jaguars in free agency

The Jaguars have had a promising free-agency period, bringing back key contributors and addressing a handful of needs. Moreover, they've managed to make several signings without having to break the bank. All things considered, it's great to see the front office operate with a sense of urgency. But as active as they have been, re-signing Calvin Ridley would be the cherry on the top of the cake.

Already, Jacksonville inked Gabe Davis to a three-year deal. He's a deep threat that will give the rest of the offense favorable matchups. However, Davis wouldn't be a replacement for Ridley, which is why the team's brass has made an effort to re-sign. If they pull it off, they'll most likely move on from Zay Jones, but the offensive would be, on paper, much better than it was last year.

Ridley reached the 1,000-yard mark and scored eight touchdowns in 2023. On top of that, he drew a league-best seven pass interference flags. And that was after spending more than a year away from football. It's fair to assume that he'll be much better and his rapport with Trever Lawrence will improve with another full offseason.

The bottom line is that the Jaguars are a better team with Calvin Ridley in the fold. By the time you're reading this, he'll probably have re-signed. Sure, there's a chance he'll change his mind and join the Patriots but Jacksonville should feel good about their chances.

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