Wide receiver Calvin Ridley tallied over 1,000 and eight touchdowns in 2023. He's now scheduled to become a free agent and it remains to be seen if the Jacksonville Jaguars want to bring him back. If they don't, Tee Higgins has often been brought up as a potential replacement. Just recently, Jonathon Macri of Pro Football Focus discussed the Jags as a potential landing spot and alumnus Clay Harbor agreed.
Macri posted a list of potential landing spots for players who are set to hit the open market and suggested Jacksonville as a destination for Higgins, noting that they'll have a need at the receiver if they let Ridley walk, and Higgins will be one of the best ones available. It helps that he and Trevor Lawrence have previously played together.
"Coming off a down year in 2023, Higgins dealt with injuries to both himself and his starting quarterback this year that hurt his fantasy value. A change of scenery in 2024 is certainly possible and the Jaguars, who are expected to lose a little more than half of their wide receiver usage this offseason, could find a long-term option in Higgins. He would likely step in as the clear WR1 for Trevor Lawrence and re-establish a Clemson connection that led to 18 touchdowns and over 1,600 receiving yards from 2018-2019 between the two."
Harbor, who suited up for the Jags from 2013-2015, caught wind of PFF's suggestion and gave it the thumbs up, highlighting Trevor Lawrence's connection with Higgins dating back to college.
On a similar note, Macri thinks Ridley could be a fit with the New York Giants. He argues that the Alabama product was somewhat inconsistent last year but he would give Big Blue a proven starter who "can get open consistently" and stretch the field as well.
Calvin Ridley or Tee Higgins? The Jaguars will have options either way
Calvin Ridley, a second-round pick in the 2018 draft, hauled in 217 passes for 3,061 yards and 26 touchdowns in his first three NFL seasons. However, he hung up his cleats in 2021 to focus on his mental health. He later revealed that he was also playing through a broken foot at the time. Not long after Ridley stepped away, he earned an indefinite suspension for betting on NFL games.
It was during his suspension that Ridley was traded to the Jaguars. He was reinstated last offseason and wasted no time trying to show he was still the same game-changer he was early in his career. As Macri pointed out, he had some ups and downs throughout the year and his rapport with Trevor Lawrence wasn't always the best. That said, that's to be expected when you take into account that he hadn't played in nearly two years.
If Ridley and Lawrence kept working together, their connection would be much better, which in turn would lead to better production for both of them. That said, it's uncertain if the Jaguars want to bring him back. He, for one, would like to return to his native Jacksonville but the team's brass will need to give the Falcons a second-round pick as part of the deal they made with the Falcons if they re-sign him to a long-term deal. However, it will only be a third if they let him walk.
It's fair to assume that that will factor into the decision to extend Ridley. And if they ultimately decide to move on from him, Higgins, a second-round pick in 2020, would be a more than adequate replacement. Having previously caught passes from Lawrence during his time at Clemson, he's a logical replacement if Ridley doesn't return. After all, the two know each other well and would definitely be thrilled to play together again.
Even though he was routinely overshadowed by fellow receiver Ja'Marr Chase, Higgins is a fine receiver himself, hauling in 257 receptions for 3,684 yards with 24 touchdowns the past four seasons. If he hits the open market, he'll have no shortage of suitors.
Whether the Jaguars keep Calvin Ridley, they'll have to part ways with a draft pick. If they ultimately keep their second, they'll be in a position to address another need and a shot at going after Tee Higgins.