Jets' past interest in Calvin Ridley may make them frontrunner in free agency chase

Will the Jets land another stud receiver?
NY Jets, Calvin Ridley
NY Jets, Calvin Ridley / Mike Carlson/GettyImages

The NY Jets need to make a big splash at wide receiver this season, as leaning on Garrett Wilson and a bunch of flotsam riding his coattails is not going to help Aaron Rodgers get to a Super Bowl. Calvin Ridley just so happens to be available, which could be quite intriguing for Joe Douglas.

The Jacksonville Jaguars spent some significant draft capital to acquire Ridley last trade deadline. While he didn't change the offense like many thought he would, he put together another respectable season as one of Trevor Lawrence's top targets.

If the Jags sign Ridley to a long-term contract, they will need to send a second-round pick to the Atlanta Falcons per the terms of the original trade. This could give them some hesitancy and allow the Jets to reignite the interest they had in him when he played for the Falcons.

The Jets reportedly were one of the teams who inquired about Ridley when he was in Atlanta, and his football future seemed tenuous at best. Now that he's shown he can still be a productive player, the Jets might do well to give him one of the best quarterbacks in the league in Rodgers to work with.

Can NY Jets acquire Calvin Ridley after past trade interest?

While Ridley did cross 1,000 yards receiving and scored eight touchdowns, a drop rate of slightly over 8% and the fact he will turn 30 next season make him less attractive than players like the ultra-consistent Mike Evans or longshot target Tee Higgins.

Part of the reason he struggled near the end of last season was the fact Jacksonville asked him to be a No. 1 receiver, which he is not capable of at this point in his career. Christian Kirk's injury only exacerbated that. In New York, however, he would have a clearly defined role as the No. 2 man behind Wilson.

While his skillset is similar to Wilson's traits, Ridley is still able to effectively get open on shorter routes and make plays after the catch. His verticality may not be what it once was, but he can still be a very effective weapon down the field if used properly.

Ridley is not going to come cheap, and Jacksonville likely wouldn't want to lose one of the best players in what has become a very flawed offense, but there is an opening for a team like the Jets to swoop in and scoop him up.