Jaguars still in the thick of the Calvin Ridley sweepstakes in free agency

• The Jaguars could still bring back Calvin Ridley, even after signing Gabe Davis

Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Calvin Ridley (0) receives a pass to bring in a touchdown past
Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Calvin Ridley (0) receives a pass to bring in a touchdown past / Andrew Nelles / The Tennessean / USA

Signs pointed towards the Jacksonville Jaguars letting wide receiver Calvin Ridley walk in free agency. However, there's still a realistic chance they'll bring him back. The Jags, among other teams, remain interested in locking up Ridley after the start of the tampering period.

Jonathan Jones of CBS Sports reports that Jacksonville and the New England Patriots are trying to sign the star receiver, noting that there may be a dark horse team also making a push.

Not long after, Adam Schefter of ESPN also reported that New England is making a strong effort to lock up Ridley but his preference is to return to Jacksonville.

This isn't particularly shocking news. With Mike Evans and Michael Pittman Jr., returning to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Indianapolis Colts, respectively, Ridley became the top receiver in the open market. Jeremy Fowler of ESPN reported before the beginning of the tampering window that the Carolina Panthers and the Tennessee Titans were also going to pursue him.

Following the first day of legal tampering, Ridley wasn't close to landing anywhere. Although signings happen behind the scenes and can happen at any time, there are, as of this writing, no reports of the Alabama product signing. Perhaps his taking his time, and seeing what the best fit could be.

Previously, Ridley said that he would like to return to Jacksonville, but money would also play a role in where he signs. Maybe he's also looking at other things such as facilities, culture, and the quarterback he'll be catching passes from.

Re-signing Calvin Ridley would be the cherry on the top for the Jaguars

The Jacksonville Jaguars are having a pretty solid free agency. Although they weren't able to successfully lure kicker Wil Lutz, they've managed to get better and address most of their needs. One signing in particular stands out though. When they agreed to terms with Gabe Davis, it seemed like they were bracing themselves to the possibility of losing Calvin Ridley.

However, it's clear the Jags want to keep Ridley, based on the reports that have surfaced since the beginning of the tampering window. Just a few weeks ago, it was uncertain how much they wanted to re-sign him. As part of the trade in 2022, they would have had to give the Atlanta Falcons their second-round pick if they extended Ridley before the start of free agency.

But if Jacksonville re-signs Ridley after the start of free agency, they will no longer have to part ways with the second-rounder, and it will instead be a third. Given how things are currently playing out, it looks like there's a realistic possibility the team's brass will give him an extension.

And if the Jaguars do manage to retain Ridley, their chances of reclaiming the AFC South and returning to the playoffs in 2024 will increase considerably. After all, he was their best receiver in 2023 and he could be much better. Last year, he was coming off a suspension and was somewhat inconsistent. With the benefit of a full offseason, he can keep honing his craft and develop a much better rapport with Trevor Lawrence.

It's hard to tell how things play out but the Jacksonville Jaguars should feel good about their chances of re-signing Calvin Ridley.

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