Re-signing Calvin Ridley will be one of the biggest decisions the Jacksonville Jaguars will need to make in the upcoming months. Coming off a 1,000-yard season, he's set to hit the open market in March. If the Jags extend him, they'll then need to give the Atlanta Falcons a second-round selection as part of the deal they made to trade for him in 2022. But if they let him walk, it will be then a third.
If Jacksonville believes letting Ridley is the best course of action, Marcus Mosher of the 33rd Team thinks they can draft his replacement in the first round. Mosher recently put together a mock draft and has the Jaguars selecting Florida State wide receiver Keon Coleman at No. 17, noting that Ridley was good in 2023 but not nearly enough to warrant a top-50 selection in the draft. He goes on to say that Coleman would be the ideal replacement.
"Ridley was fine in 2023, but he wasn't good enough to give away another top-50 selection. That would leave the Jaguars with a need at receiver, and Keon Coleman could give the receiving corps the size and athleticism it would desperately need."
Having taken a nearly two-year hiatus from the NFL, Ridley showed last season that he's still a bonafide No. 1 receiver, hauling in 76 receptions for 1,016 yards with eight touchdowns. Moreover, he consistently helped the offense move the chains by drawing pass interference flags. While re-signing him should be an easy decision, the team's brass needs to be willing to part ways with a second-round, which they could use to bolster other position groups.
Also, the Jags could use the money they would pay Ridley to sign other players in free agency. The only downside is that they would need to find his potential replacement in the draft. Washington's Rome Odunze is an intriguing option. Coleman is another one.
A four-star recruit coming out of college, Coleman hauled in 50 receptions for 658 yards with 11 touchdowns last season. At 210 pounds, he's got enough speed to get deep and excels at tracking the football. He lacks top straight speed and his footwork could use work but he's got the skill set to thrive at the NFL level.
Derrick Klassen of the Bleacher Report scouting department, for his part, believes the former Seminole is the ideal fit for teams looking for a top target outside the numbers, noting that "his physicality and ball skills give him a high floor."
Keon Coleman gives the Jaguars insurance in case Calvin Ridley leaves
Calvin Ridley has already made it clear he wants to return to Jacksonville but the decision isn't up to him. He went quiet at times early in the season, and he wasn't always on the same page as Trevor Lawrence. But those are things he and his quarterback can fix with practice, and having another offseason together should help them.
That said, it's hard to tell from an outside perspective if the Jaguars' brass wants to bring back Ridley. Not only do they have to take the draft pick into consideration but his salary as well. Coleman would most definitely given an alternative, albeit an unproven one. And that's the thing, regardless of how talented a prospect is, success at the college level doesn't always carry over to the pros.
The bottom line is that the Jacksonville Jaguars will need to make a decision on Calvin Ridley. And if they decide that moving on from him is the best course of action, Keon Coleman is then one of their best options to replace him.