Jets Predicted to Sign Veteran WR to $68 Million Contract: Insider

The New York Jets appear to have its eyes set on its free agent target this offseason.

Connor Hughes of SNY appeared on “The Brandon Tierney and Sal Licata Show” and predicted that Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Calvin Ridley will sign with the Jets this offseason.

“I think it’s going to be, I’m going to go a little bit wild, I think it’s going to be Calvin Ridley. The Jets are pretty high on him,” Hughes explained on WFAN. “Calvin Ridley was a guy when he was being traded from the Falcons, the Jets were all over it. They loved him, they made calls, they were in on him, [and] they wanted to make a deal.”

Now that is a very JUICY #Jets insider nugget: @Connor_J_Hughes predicted that Calvin Ridley will be starting at WR next season alongside @GarrettWilson_V with NYJ 👀

‘When he was being traded from the #Falcons, the Jets were all over it. They loved him. They made calls. They…

— Paul Andrew Esden Jr (@BoyGreen25) January 27, 2024

Ridley is projected to sign a four-year deal for $68.2 million in free agency, according to Spotrac’s calculated market value. That $17 million annual salary would make him the No. 14 highest-paid wide receiver in football, per Over The Cap.

Gambling Suspension Put the Brakes on a Potential Jets-Falcons Trade for Ridley

Hughes explained that the Jets’ interest in Ridley was during the 2022 offseason before he was “suspended indefinitely for betting on NFL games.”

“I remember talking to people over at the Jets and they were like ‘I don’t think he’s [Ridley] available like we want him, we think he’s available,’” Hughes said. “They did all of their background and checked every box [on his prior issues]. The problem with him is when they called the Falcons to try and get something done, the Falcons said hey he’s not available. It’s because they didn’t want to deal in bad faith. Basically, trade this guy for a second-round pick and oh surprise he is suspended for a year. They [the Falcons] didn’t want to do that.”

Ridley ended up sitting out the entire 2022 season and was reinstated the following offseason. He was traded from the Falcons to the Jacksonville Jaguars for a 2023 fifth-rounder and a conditional 2024 fourth-rounder that ended up turning into a third-rounder.

The Jets were initially interested enough in Ridley to acquire him by giving up a draft asset. This offseason they will have a path to sign him outright as a free agent only giving up money in the form of a new contract.

Ridley Has Proven Production and Can Fill the Jets Void at WR

Ridley, 29, earned second-team All-Pro honors back in 2020. He registered 90 receptions for 1,374 receiving yards and hauled in nine touchdown grabs. That was and remains the best season of his career.

“If he’s available, [Ridley] is one I could them [signing]. They like him. I think he would be a good complement [to Garrett Wilson]. I think he could be what they’re looking for as a receiver,” Hughes said.

Jaguars general manager Trent Baalke “appeared” to shut down the idea of pass rusher Josh Allen making it to the open market in March when speaking with local media.

However, he didn’t make the same sort of guarantee when speaking about Ridley.

“We would love to have Calvin back,” Baalke said via Eric Edholm of the NFL Media Group. “We are going to work through that. What that means is, I don’t know right now.”

That could open the door for the Jets to lure Ridley to the Big Apple to pair up with Wilson and catch some passes from future Hall of Famer Aaron Rodgers.

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