JACKSONVILLE – Calvin Ridley has been reinstated.
Ridley, a wide receiver acquired in a trade by the Jaguars from the Atlanta Falcons on November 1, was fully reinstated by the NFL Monday afternoon. He missed the entire 2022 NFL season after being suspended indefinitely for violating the NFL's gambling policy.
Here are five things to know about Ridley, with analysis from NFL Media and Jaguars Media analyst Bucky Brooks:
- He is eligible for all team activities. Ridley is eligible to participate in all team activities effective immediately, according to an NFL statement. The Jaguars' voluntary offseason program is scheduled to begin on April 17. "The Jaguars organization is aware of the NFL's ruling to reinstate Calvin Ridley," the Jaguars said in a statement Monday. "We look forward to building a relationship with Calvin as both an individual and as a player. Calvin is a proven playmaker and we are excited to see him compete among and with his new teammates, first during our offseason program in April and ultimately into the 2023 season, as we collectively pursue a championship for Jacksonville."
- He has been uber-productive in the NFL. Ridley, 28, who played collegiately at Alabama, was the No. 26 overall selection in the 2016 NFL Draft by Falcons – and he played his first four NFL seasons with that franchise. He has caught 248 passes for 3,342 yards and 28 touchdowns in 49 NFL games – and he has averaged 13.5 yards per reception. His best season came in his last full season. That was 2020, when he caught 90 passes for 1,374 yards and nine touchdowns while averaging 15.3 yards a reception. "He's a top receiver in this league when he's on his game," Head Coach Doug Pederson said during last week's 2023 NFL Scouting Combine. "He gives us just another weapon potentially for [quarterback] Trevor [Lawrence]."
- He is considered a front-line route runner and a potential No. 1 receiver. Brooks called Ridley a great route-runner, adding that Ridley is "a Top 5 guy at that part of the game. His patience, his timing, his combination of speed and quickness make him really difficult to defend when he has the opportunity to get creative with his routes." Brooks said while Ridley has not played since Week 6 of the 2021 season, his performance in 2020 was that of a front-line receiver. "He took over for Julio Jones and their offense didn't skip a beat with him taking on the No. 1 receiver role," Brooks said. "He's just a very skilled player. He can get deep. He's not necessarily a speed guy. He's not your vertical threat. He's not the guy you're using to clear out zones. When he wins on deep balls, he wins because he has worked over the corner on a double move or he has beaten his guy badly. He will add some explosive plays. He is a true No. 1 receiver."
- He's a fit with the Jaguars' offense. The Jaguars' offense in 2022 ranked 10th in the NFL in points and total yards, with Lawrence improving rapidly in his second NFL season. Lawrence worked with a balanced group of skill players including wide receivers Christian Kirk, Zay Jones and Marvin Jones, tight end Evan Engram and running back Travis Etienne. While Marvin Jones is an unrestricted free agent with his future with the team uncertain, Brooks called Ridley "a great fit" with what the Jaguars do offensively. "He's like all of these guys who were there," Brooks said. "You think about the interchangeable parts they had on the perimeter: Everybody can do everything. Calvin Ridley's another player who can jump in and do those things. He probably becomes the [Jaguars'] No. 1 receiver at his best. If he doesn't return to [that] form, he falls right in line with everybody else in terms of being able to move around and do a bunch of different things as far as being able to play outside, inside with how Doug uses all the different playmakers in the offense." Brooks added, "What he will do is allow everybody to settle into roles suited for the talents. He only enhances what they do. You're getting another player built like those guys are built: Hi IQ and great skill."
- He's ready. Ridley in a statement Monday: "Today's reinstatement by the NFL brings an end to a challenging chapter of my professional career, one that was self-inflicted and began with an isolated lapse in judgment. I have always owned my mistakes and this is no different. I have great respect for the game and am excited for the opportunity to restart my career in Jacksonville. I look forward to showing my new coaches, teammates, and the entire Jaguars organization exactly who I am and what I represent as a player and person."