Patriots Strongly Pursuing All-Pro Wide Receiver: Report

Robert Kraft

Getty Robert Kraft has his staff working to land wide receiver Calvin Ridley.

The New England Patriots need to bolster the wide receiver corps for 2024, and the team could bring free agent wide receiver Calvin Ridley to Foxborough.

A second team All-Pro in 2020, Ridley has two 1,000-yard seasons in the past four years. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported on Tuesday that the Patriots are “pushing” to sign Ridley “but sources believe that currently prefers to return to Jacksonville and has been discussing a deal with the Jaguars.”

That doesn’t mean the Patriots are out of the running. The Athletic’s Jeff Howe reported that “the current likelihood is Ridley will be deciding between Jacksonville and New England.”

“Both teams feel that they’re in it,” Howe wrote on Tuesday.

NFL insider Josina Anderson noted that the Patriots “have an offer out” to Ridley and “are still waiting to hear back” as of Tuesday afternoon. The Patriots “might up [the] price according to FOX Sports’ Henry McKenna as Ridley can’t re-sign with the Jaguars until Wednesday, and McKenna noted that New England’s contract increase “might up Jax’s offer” then.

“In other words: Calvin Ridley might know he’s going to the Jaguars. But he should wait until Wednesday to see if anyone ups their offer. Because he’s got not reason to settle now anyway,” McKenna wrote.

Ridley played one season for the Jaguars in 2023 as he caught 76 passes for 1,016 yards and eight touchdowns. New England didn’t have any 1,000-yard receivers in 2023, and the Patriots already released DeVante Parker after a subpar season where he mustered 33 catches for 394 yards in an injury-shortened campaign.

For now, the Patriots have Kendrick Bourne, DeMario Douglas, and JuJu Smith-Schuster as the team’s top receivers. Douglas led the pack with 49 receptions for 561 yards last season.

Calvin Ridley is a Consistent Performer

Ridley has been a steady performer throughout his career. The Atlanta Falcons drafted him with the No. 26 pick in the 2018 NFL Draft out of Alabama, and he became an immediate contributor on the field.

Ridley posted 64 receptions for 821 yards and 10 touchdowns as a rookie in 2018. He then put up 866 yards and seven touchdowns on 63 catches in 2019 followed by his 90 receptions, 1,374 yards, and nine touchdowns in 2020.

His 2021 season ended abruptly when he stepped away due to mental health. Ridley only played five games and caught 31 passes for 281 yards and two touchdowns.

Off-field trouble followed for Ridley in 2022 when the NFL suspended him for illegal sports gambling. The Falcons traded him to the Jaguars in 2022 before he got reinstated in March 2023.

Calvin Ridley Has Gambling Matter Behind Him

While the Patriots have dealt with wide receiver Kayshon Boutte‘s illegal gambling, Ridley’s matter is in the past for him.

“Right now, I feel stronger than I’ve ever felt —  mentally and physically,” Ridley wrote in The Players’ Tribune for March 2023. “On the field, I’m flying. Believe me, I’m flying. That GPS band don’t lie.”

“I know I have a debt to pay back to the game. But when y’all talk about the name Calvin Ridley in 10, 20, 30 years … I’m gonna make sure it rings out for the right reasons,” he added.

Ridley played all 17 games for the Jaguars in 2023.

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