Jaguars WR Christian Kirk could be affected by Calvin Ridley and that's fine

• Calvin Ridley is poised to be WR1 for the Jaguars in 2023

• This could affect fellow receiver Christian Kirk's production

Jul 26, 2023; Jacksonville, FL, USA;  Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Calvin Ridley (0) and wide
Jul 26, 2023; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Calvin Ridley (0) and wide / Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

The Jacksonville Jaguars raised eyebrows when they gave Christian Kirk a top-market contract last year. This was despite the fact that he hadn't reached the 1,000-yard mark in a season and wasn't truly a WR1 during his stint with the Arizona Cardinals. Kirk validated the Jags' trust by becoming Trevor Lawrence's top target and tallying over 1,1000 yards along the way. He'll now be joined by Calvin Ridley, who could take away some of his targets.

Dan Graziano of ESPN has heard that Ridley was the talk of the town in training camp and expects Kirk to line up in the slot more often next season. Graziano then says this could lead to a dip in Kirk's production. The article is behind a paywall and you need a subscription to either ESPN+ or Disney+ to get access. Still, it's worth reading.

Kirk, a second-round pick in the 2018 draft, was mostly WR2 during his tenure in the desert, first opposite Larry Fitzgerald and later DeAndre Hopkins, now with the Tennessee Titans. The former Texas A&M Aggie had his most productive season with the Cards came in 2021, when he played 79 percent of his snaps in the slot. Last year, he lined up 72 percent of his snaps there, and it's possible that with the addition of Ridley, he'll get cross the 80 percent mark.

While it's true that Ridley will get lots of passes thrown his way in 2023, there's a reason to believe Kirk's production will stay put. For one, Marvin Jones Jr. is no longer with the team and he had 81 targets in 2022. Ridley will probably get more but not nearly enough to effect Kirk.

On top of that, Ridley will draw coverage away from Zay Jones, Kirk, and Engram, leading to more favorable matchups and more completions. In his best season with the Atlanta Falcons, Ridley caught 90 catches on 143 targets for 1,374 yards with nine touchdowns. Then again, he only had 92 and 93 in 2018 and 2019 respectively. Expecting him to have more than 120 with Jones, Kirk, and Engram in the fold may not be realistic.

Christian Kirk, Zay Jones and Calvin Ridley give the Jaguars a dynamic WR trio

Kirk has fared much better in the slot throughout his career. By adding Ridley to the offense, the Jaguars will put Kirk in a position to succeed. Is there a chance he will get fewer targets in 2023? Yes, but this won't be a case of Trevor Lawrence force-feeding Ridley like Matthew Stafford did with Calvin Johnson in the 2010s.

Simply, Jacksonville has a wide array of weapons and Lawrence will spread the ball in 2023. Whoever has the most favorable matchup will probably get the ball. Ridley could have two or three catches one week and seven or eight the next. Similarly, Kirk can be quiet one game and have a monster outing the following week. There's no need to solely get Ridley the ball.

Kirk said earlier this year that he and Ridley are helping each other get better. Both would certainly get targeted every play but they prioritize winning over individual production, so it won't probably matter who was the better statistical year as long as the Jaguars are winning, right?

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