Money may not have been the reason the Jaguars lost Calvin Ridley after all

• An NFL insider claims the Jaguars were willing to match Titans' contract offer for Calvin Ridley.
Jan 7, 2024; Nashville, Tennessee, USA;  Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Calvin Ridley (0) reacts
Jan 7, 2024; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Calvin Ridley (0) reacts / Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports

Early in free agency, it looked liked the Jacksonville Jaguars were going to re-sign wide receiver Calvin Ridley. However, the Tennessee Titans came out of nowhere and made Ridley an offer he couldn't refuse. Not long after crossing enemy lines, the star receiver said money played a huge role in his decision to leave the Jags. However, an NFL insider now claims that money wasn't the lone reason Ridley signed with the Titans.

Jordan Schultz of Bleacher Report made an appearance on The Herd. He told host Colin Cowherd that the Jags were ready to match Tennesse's offer but Ridley chose the latter after getting in touch with general manager Ran Carthon.

"There's a little quick side story here of how that happened," Schultz said. "Jacksonville thought they were getting him back. New England thought Jacksonville was getting him back. We know he wanted to stay in the south. In the final hour, Tennessee comes in after missing out on a couple guys the day before, C.J. Gardner-Johnson. They weren't able to acquire them."

"They pivot, they go to the wide receiver Calvin Ridley, and he's still thinking Jags, who offered, by the way, dollar-for-dollar exactly what the Titans offer. Ran Carthon gets on a Facetime with Calvin Ridley. He says, 'We're both from Florida, you're going to love the way we treat you inside this building.' Halfway through the conversation, Ridley says, 'I'm in.' That's the difference maker, and I think Brian Callahan benefits in a big way," Schultz said.

Ridley acknowledged that a few things weren't working with the Jaguars but he made it clear he wanted to come back, citing money and the presence of DeAndre Hopkins as the deciding factors in signing with Tennessee.

"I really wanted to be with the Jags, but there's a lot of things that weren't working out for me. I think the Titans had that other side for me, so I chose the Titans. Obviously, the money was pretty good, so I went with that," Ridley said in his introductory press conference.

In 2023, his first season after serving an indefinite suspension, Ridley hauled in 76 receptions for 1,016 yards with eight touchdowns. Still, the Jaguars let him hit the open market because they agreed to give a second-round pick if they re-signed him when they traded for him in 2022.

But even after free agency started the Jaguars were the frontrunners to land Ridley before the Titans offered him a four-year deal worth $92 million.

Calvin Ridley believes the Titans are a better fit than the Jaguars

It may no longer matter but there's a reason to believe the Jaguars did match the Titans' offer. Jordan Schultz posted a video of his exchange with Colin Cowherd, and Ridley left a comment below.

Ridley chiming in gives credence to Schultz's anecdote, which begs the question, what were the things that weren't working out? The Alabama product said in his press conference he was uncomfortable at times in Jacksonville, adding that the Titans had wanted him for a while and told him they would treat him like a grown man.

Based on Schultz's recent comments, Ridley did want to return to the Jaguars but there were a few issues that made him choose their division foes. Ultimately, players are going to choose what they think is the best for them, just like teams do all the time.

In the end, the Jacksonville Jaguars would've liked to keep Calvin Ridley but were unable to. The silver lining is that they'll be in a position to find his replacement in the 2024 NFL Draft.

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