Calvin Ridley on leaving Jaguars: Titans ‘had that other side for me’

Calvin Ridley‘s departure from the Jacksonville Jaguars for the Tennessee Titans is among the standout moves of NFL free agency to date.

Why did Ridley join the Titans, his former AFC South rival? 

“I think, playing them twice a year, I was watching them and looking at the things they did have. I know that D-Hop’s [DeAndre Hopkins] here — and I know that I wanted to play with another receiver on the other side that could help me do what I do best,” Ridley said about the Titans at his introductory press conference Friday, according to “I know that they had a really good defense and were upcoming and stuff. I was looking into it. 

“I really wanted to be with the Jags, but there’s a lot of things that wasn’t working out for me, and then I think the Titans had that other side for me, so I chose the Titans. Obviously, the money was pretty good, so I went with that.”

Why didn’t Ridley fit in with the Jaguars?

“Jacksonville, they have a lot of weapons over there and sometimes when I was there, I was like, feeling a little weird because I was always someone who wants the ball and I want to crack the game for us,” Ridley said. “I want to be the guy who’s, you know — keep me in the game all game. So, I was like, really, coming over here, and I want to do my thing, take over. I want to bring this team, shoot this team through the roof in any way I can to help.”

Tennessee inked Ridley to a four-year, $92 million deal with $50 million guaranteed, a contract that Jacksonville wasn’t willing to match. He now forms one of the best wide receiver duos in the NFL with Hopkins, a three-time All-Pro who has totaled 1,000-plus receiving yards in six of his 10 NFL seasons.

Ridley, 29, is coming off a resurgent season, his first full season since 2020 (Ridley stepped aside from the Atlanta Falcons five games into the 2021 season due to a mental health issue and was suspended for the entire 2022 season due to betting on NFL games but was still traded to Jacksonville at the 2022 trade deadline).

Last season, Ridley totaled 76 receptions for a team-high 1,016 yards and eight touchdowns. It marked the second time that he totaled 1,000-plus receiving yards.

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As far as touches go, tight end Evan Engram led Jacksonville with 114 receptions. That said, Engram only received seven more targets than Ridley (143-136). The Jaguars lost five of their last six games, including a Week 18 game at Tennessee to miss the playoffs and finish 9-8.

As for the team Ridley is joining, the Titans are coming off a sluggish 6-11 season. Offensively, they averaged just 180.4 passing yards (29th in the NFL), 108.6 rushing yards (17th), 289.0 total yards (28th) and 17.9 points (tied for 27th) per game. 

Tennessee is expected to roll with second-year quarterback and 2023 second-round draft pick Will Levis — who started nine games and posted an 84.2 passer rating last season — under center in 2023.

While they lost star running back Derrick Henry to the Baltimore Ravens, the Titans have put together a productive free agency on the offensive end, adding Ridley, running back Tony Pollard and center Lloyd Cushenberry III, while re-signing wide receiver Nick Westbrook-Ikhine.

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