Perry: Why Patriots should sign Calvin Ridley free agent

New Patriots head coach Jerod Mayo stated the team had money to "burn" this offseason.

According to Over The Cap, the Patriots have $66 million in cap space (fourth in the NFL) and might free up more if they release cornerback J.C. Jackson, who has a $14.4 million contract charge for 2024. That's excellent because New England has several roster needs, notably on offense after a league-worst 13.9 points per game in 2023.

The Patriots might sign a talented wide receiver or quality offensive tackle in free agency if they utilize their No. 3 overall selection in the 2024 NFL Draft on a quarterback like USC's Caleb Williams, UNC's Drake Maye, or LSU's Jayden Daniels.

The Bengals may utilize their franchise tag to keep standout wide receiver Tee Higgins in Cincinnati, despite previous interest from the Patriots. Phil Perry thinks the Patriots could target Jacksonville Jaguars wideout Calvin Ridley, another potential free agency.

Perry added, "I really like Calvin Ridley," on NBC Sports Boston's Arbella Early Edition Monday. He returned this year and got 1,000 yards in Jacksonville. He plays explosively."

In 2020, Ridley was named second-team All-Pro after three successful seasons with the Falcons. He played only five games over the following three seasons, leaving the team in October 2021 for mental health issues and receiving a year-long ban in 2022 for NFL betting.

Ridley succeeded in his first full season with the Jaguars in 2023, catching 76 passes for 1,016 yards and eight touchdowns. Perry thinks his age and recent track record might decrease his price tag, which should intrigue the Patriots.

It's his seventh season. I don't think Ridley will command $20 million a year, Perry remarked. "He might cost somewhere around $15 or $16 million a year, and that to me would be a tremendous upgrade for your receiver corps, and you're not feeling like you have to reach for a receiver in the draft if the guys you like aren't necessarily there in the first or second round

With Bill Belichick in charge, the Patriots seldom paid much on receivers. Ridley would immediately become the No. 1 receiver in a group led by DeMario Douglas, JuJu Smith-Schuster, DeVante Parker, and Tyquan Thornton (Kendrick Bourne is a pending free agent). If New England wants to improve significantly on offense, Ridley may be needed.

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