Patriots reportedly expected to ‘swing big’ at top free-agent wide receiver Calvin Ridley

Patriots reportedly expected to ‘swing big’ at top free-agent wide receiver Calvin Ridley

Patriots

The Patriots reportedly have their “eyes on a few” free-agent wide receivers.

Calvin Ridley could be a top target for the Patriots in free agency. Justin Ford/Getty Images

The Patriots won’t get a player in return from the Jaguars in the Mac Jones trade, but they might try to take a standout from Jacksonville’s offense in free agency.

New England is expected to “swing big” at Calvin Ridley in free agency, ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reported Sunday.

It’s not much of a secret that the Patriots need to improve their receiver room this offseason. The team is eyeing veteran wideouts, CBS Sports Josina Anderson reported Saturday. They also inquired the Broncos about Jerry Jeudy before they agreed to trade him to the Browns, but the Patriots “wanted to wait until free agency before committing to a receiver, likely because they have their eyes on a few,” Fowler wrote.

After Mike Evans, Tee Higgins, and Michael Pittman were all re-signed or franchise-tagged, Ridley has been viewed as the top receiver in free agency this offseason. The 29-year-old had a solid first season with the Jaguars, recording 76 receptions for 1,016 yards and eight touchdowns.

It was also a promising sign that Ridley could still play at a high level after missing much of the previous two seasons. While still with the Falcons, Ridley played just five games in 2021 before being suspended for the entirety of the 2022 season due to betting on games. The Falcons traded Ridley to the Jaguars in the middle of the suspension.

Prior to those two seasons, Ridley was emerging as one of the game’s top wideouts. The 2018 first-round pick recorded at least 60 receptions and 800 receiving yards in each of his first two years before posting a 90-catch season for 1,374 yards and nine touchdowns.

While teams can begin to discuss a deal with Ridley as soon as noon on Monday, the Jaguars are still interested in re-signing the wideout, Fowler reported.

If Ridley isn’t the only receiver the Patriots have their eyes on in free agency, there are a handful of several other notable options. However, not many of them have the upside Ridley has. Marquise Brown and Tyler Boyd are the only other free-agent receivers who are under 30 and have recorded a season with at least 1,000 receiving yards.

Still, the Patriots might be looking to reshape their entire receiver room as they’re reportedly shopping DeVante Parker and could lose Kendrick Bourne in free agency. Some of the other recognizable wide receivers expected to hit free agency include Gabe Davis, Darnell Mooney, Odell Beckham Jr., and Curtis Samuel. The Patriots have also been linked to Texans wideout Noah Brown.

In addition to finding a new receiver, the Patriots are also “expected to be in the mix” to sign Jacoby Brissett, according to Fowler.

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