The Jacksonville Jaguars added an offensive weapon for 2023, trading for wide receiver Calvin Ridley at the trade deadline. Ridley has only played five games in the last two years and missed the entire 2022 season due to a suspension for violating the league's gambling policy. Now reinstated, he has high expectations for himself in Jacksonville, and it seems like the team is looking forward to having him on board as well.
Quarterback Trevor Lawrence and Ridley have met up ahead of the offseason workout program that begins April 17. Lawrence was impressed with what he saw and expects good things to come in the future.
"We have [thrown together] once, and I'm super excited," Lawrence said (via The Florida Times-Union). "We're just excited to have him. He's gonna be another piece for this offense and our team, and [he's] just a good guy that we're excited to bring into the locker room. It's gonna be a lot of fun."
Ridley is a former second-team All-Pro and former first-round pick with 248 receptions for 3,342 yards and 28 receiving touchdowns in his NFL career.
In October of 2021, Ridley made the decision to step away from football and the Atlanta Falcons to focus on his mental health, making his most recent game Week 7 of the 2021 season.
The Jaguars completely turned their team around last season, going from a 3-14 team in 2021 that was last in the division to 9-8 AFC South champions. They advanced to the divisional round of the playoffs by overcoming a 27-point deficit against the Los Angeles Chargers. They then played tough against the eventual Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs before suffering a 27-20 defeat.
With the addition of Ridley and bringing tight end Evan Engram back with a franchise tag, the team is slated to have another solid year.
"It's huge. [Bringing back Engram] was a big priority for us this offseason," Lawrence said (via NFL.com). "So, to have him back at least for this year, and hopefully longer moving forward -- that's ideal.
Lawrence is anticipating Engram's game improving even from last season's breakout campaign.
"You saw what he did for our offense last season and how he came on at the end of the year. I think we really figured out how to use him the right way, and he's helped us a ton. Just keep building on that, there's still more out there. That's the exciting part."
Wide receivers Christian Kirk and Zay Jones round out their four big hitters catching passes. The ability to keep some of the core group is something Lawrence said will benefit them, as the chemistry can build and they can continue to elevate their play.
"We're pumped. We'll have a good crew there, and it's such a cool time of the year. Everybody comes back, [and you] get to start building your team, building your foundation. I'm really excited to start that with all the guys," Lawrence said.