Jaguars WR Calvin Ridley should earn a contract extension and "earn it in a big way"

Greg Jennings and Jordan Vanek of the 33rd Team believes wide receiver Calvin Ridley should have no trouble securing a contract from the Jacksonville Jaguars if he's off to a strong start in 2023.
Jun 13, 2023; Jacksonville, Florida, USA;  Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Calvin Ridley (0).
Jun 13, 2023; Jacksonville, Florida, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Calvin Ridley (0). / Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

The Jacksonville Jaguars traded for Calvin Ridley last year because they believe he can become an integral piece of their offense. And although he hasn't played a regular-season snap for the Jags yet, it might be just a matter of time before they decide it's time to extend their relationship beyond 2024.

Greg Jennings and Jordan Vanek of the 33rd Team recently talked about whether Ridley, Mike Evans, and Tyler Boyd deserve to get an extension. Vanek believes Ridley should have no trouble convincing the Jaguars to give him one and Jennings agrees with the sentiment.

"This is a fun one because I think he's a once he shows it, you do whatever it takes like Calvin with this offense would be phenomenal", Vanek said. "Trevor Lawrence, you got that rookie contract to be able to mitigate some of that salary, and Calvin, he hasn't gotten that second contract yet. He hasn't had the opportunity, so I'm expecting him to earn it and earn it in a big way".

Jennings agrees with Vasek, "I am, definitely feeling the same about Ridley. Here's the one interesting thing about really though, is he's been out of the game for so long. Yes, he has fresh legs. And we're all waiting to see okay, is he going to be that player that he was with the Atlanta Falcons, when we saw him at his height taking over the over the No. 1 rank when Julio Jones was injured and in and out of the lineup?"

"If he shows you any glimpse of that, absolutely. Gotta give him to him. Gotta pay him. He deserves it. However, even if he does it early, it's like you got to try to wait it out because now you have to be realistic and say were our expectations or our expectations of Calvin Ridley coming back too high? I don't think so. Because this is what he's always been and he just has to be excited to see him back on the field with a young Trevor Lawrence, who is emerging. So I think you've got to be a little more patient because they do have pieces that it's not only going to be the Calvin Ridley show but it can very quickly turn into the Calvin Ridley show if he's anywhere close to what he was with the Atlanta Falcons", Jennings said.

Ridley, a first-round pick by the Atlanta Falcons in 2018, established himself as one of the hottest receivers in the league early in his career, hauling in 217 receptions for 3,061 yards with 26 touchdowns in his first three NFL seasons. However, he only caught 31 passes for 281 yards in five games in 2021 before deciding to step away from football.

During his retirement, Ridley was suspended for betting on football games near the end of 2021 — players must abide by certain rules even if they're not active — and got an indefinite suspension. It was during the suspension that the Jaguars traded for him. The Alabama product applied for reinstatement in February and his request was granted in March. Since then, he has been working on getting better and getting back to being one of the best receivers in the league.

It would make sense for the Jaguars to give Calvin Ridley an extension ASAP

What makes different Ridley from other players who want to get a contract extension is that he's proven he can play at a high level. That one year when his production declined, he was playing with a broken foot and was dealing with lots of situation that affected his mental health.

Having the chance to refocus, Ridley should have no trouble returning to the top echelon of wide receivers. You can ask any of his peers and they'll speak glowingly of him. Just recently, teammate Jamal Agnew said that the league must watch out for the Jaguars' offense after the addition of Ridley to their wide receiver corps. Similarly, Davante Adams named him a top 5 route-runner in the league while DeVonta Smith believes he's one of the best Alabama wideouts since 2011.

Players around the league know what kind of player he is and if he turns into the difference-maker the Jaguars envision early in the 2023, they won't probably mind giving him a contract that reflect his status as one of the top receivers in the league.

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