Calvin Ridley landing spots: Jaguars, Patriots headline list for free agent wide receiver

NFL free agency is underway, and plenty of big names are already on the move. One playmaker still available and creating some buzz is 29-year-old wide receiver Calvin Ridley.

Ridley made his highly anticipated return to the field in 2023 after serving an “indefinite” suspension for violating the NFL’s gambling policy. The league reinstated Ridley after he missed most of the 2021 season and all of the 2022 season, and Ridley picked up right where he left off in his first campaign back.

The former 2018 first-round pick collected his second career 1,000-yard season with Jackson in 2023, tallying 76 receptions and eight touchdowns. The Sporting News’ Vinnie Iyer has him ranked as the second-best wide receiver still available, and plenty of teams are looking for his services.

QBs | RBs | WRs | Defense | Overall

Calvin Ridley landing spots


The Jaguars and Patriots are seen as the favorites to land Ridley, but there is an incentive for Jacksonville to wait on extending an offer for one of its most productive receivers last season.

Per terms of the 2022 trade that sent Ridley from the Falcons to the Jaguars, Jacksonville would owe Atlanta a second-round pick if he re-signs before the start of the new NFL year (Wednesday, March 13 at 4 p.m. ET). If he signs after that date and time, the Jaguars would only owe the Falcons a third-round pick.

There is a belief that Ridley prefers to remain with the Jaguars in his home state of Florida. The Jaguars have also “shown a real desire to keep Ridley,” according to Sports Illustrated’s senior NFL analyst Albert Breer.

Jacksonville has already signed former Bills deep-ball threat Gabe Davis to a three-year, $39 million contract in free agency. With Christian Kirk on the books for four years and $72 million from last offseason, it will be interesting to see if the Jaguars will shell out additional cash to round out their receiving corps.

If they do, Ridley, Kirk, Davis, Travis Etienne Jr. and Evan Engram would make for a very dangerous arsenal of weapons for star quarterback Trevor Lawrence.


The Patriots are said to be aggressively pursuing Ridley, who has an offer from New England on the table, according to CBS Sports’ Josina Anderson.

Ridley would immediately become the Patriots’ No. 1 wide receiver, but the 29-year-old won’t know who will be throwing him the ball until training camp. New England signed veteran quarterback Jacoby Brissett on Monday. The Patriots also have the No. 3 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, where they are expected to take a future franchise signal-caller.

MORE: Patriots want to take a QB with No. 3 pick in 2024 NFL Draft

Quarterback aside, the Patriots can outbid the Jaguars, considering New England has the most cap space available of any NFL team. He would also have a much larger role in the Patriots’ offense, jumping Kendrick Bourne and DeMario Douglas on the depth chart.

Ridley would be the best downfield threat New England has had in years. The question is: Will he take a potential pay cut to stay home in Florida?


The Jaguars and Patriots appear to be heavy favorites to land Ridley, but what about other potential destinations?

The Cardinals could desperately use some wide receiver help, especially if they choose not to re-sign Hollywood Brown. As it currently stands, Arizona’s best receivers are Rondale Moore, Greg Dortch and Michael Wilson, with Trey McBride poised to build on a breakout season at tight end.

Ridley would give star quarterback Kyler Murray a much-needed big-play threat on the outside and the Cardinals have the cap space to make it happen.


The Titans’ situation isn’t all that different from the Cardinals. Tennessee has no wide receiver depth, so Ridley would instantly become a top option in its offense.

The Titans have already made one big splash in free agency, signing former Cowboys running back Tony Pollard to a three-year, $24 million contract to replace Derrick Henry. They still have more cap space to work with, too.

Starting quarterback Will Levis had some promising moments during his rookie campaign, but he would benefit from more talented weapons. DeAndre Hopkins proved he still has some production left in the tank last year, but he will be 32 years old next season. 23-year-old Treylon Burks is the only other promising wide receiver worth mentioning.

An offensive unit of Hopkins, Pollard, Burks, tight end Chigoziem Okonkwo and spell-back Tyjae Spears has some upside but leaves much to be desired. Ridley could provide the playmaking pop that Tennessee needs.


The Jets might not fit Ridley’s assumed warm-weather preference, but the 29-year-old might put that desire aside for an opportunity to catch passes from a future Hall of Famer.

Aaron Rodgers is expected to make a full recovery from his Achilles injury last year and be ready to start the 2024 season. He could certainly use more pass-catching talent beyond Garrett Wilson, who is currently flanked by Allen Lazard, Xavier Gipson, running back Breece Hall and tight end Tyler Conklin.

Ridley would be worth the investment for New York to take some attention away from Wilson.

Honorable mentions

The Broncos could use another wide receiver after trading Jerry Jeudy to the Browns, and they have the fifth-most cap space available. The Giants also desperately need better offensive weapons after losing Saquon Barkley to the Eagles. Their wide receiver group is limited, featuring Darius Slayton, Jalin Hyatt and Wan’Dale Robinson.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *