Wide receiver Calvin Ridley missed the entire 2022 NFL season after getting suspended by the league for betting on games during the previous season. He reportedly gambled on games during a five-day stretch in November 2021 when he was on the non-football injury list to focus on his mental health.
Ridley was eventually traded by the Atlanta Falcons to the Jacksonville Jaguars for a couple of draft picks, and quarterback Trevor Lawrence is pretty excited about getting the chance to team up with him this coming season.
“We have [thrown together] once and I’m super excited,” Lawrence said recently. “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.”
Lawrence is coming off a solid 2022 campaign in which he completed 66.3 percent of his passes for 4,113 yards, 25 touchdowns and just eight interceptions. He struggled a little in his first bit of playoff action, only completing 60.5 percent of his passes for five touchdowns and five interceptions in two games, but was able to get the Jags their first playoff win in years.
Jacksonville has a solid core on offense, and Ridley should help stretch the field a bit. The University of Alabama product has great hands and speed and will offer another solid threat alongside Christian Kirk and Evan Engram, both of whom had big years with the Jaguars last season.
During the 2020 season, Ridley caught 90 of his 143 targets for 1,374 yards and nine touchdowns. He only appeared in five games during the 2021 campaign.
The Jaguars won their division last season after winning their final five regular season games. It also helped that the Tennessee Titans lost their last seven games of the season following a 7-3 start.
After Jacksonville nearly knocked off the eventual champion Kansas City Chiefs in the playoffs, expectations are only getting higher for the squad.
The team is getting ready for voluntary workouts, which begin on April 17, and Lawrence seems pretty excited to keep the momentum from last season going.
“We’re pumped [to get started on voluntary workouts],” he said. “We’ll have a good crew there and it’s such a cool time of the year. Everybody comes back, get to start building your team, building your foundation. I’m really excited to start that with all the guys.”
Only time will tell how much Ridley helps an offense that ranked 10th last season in points per game (23.8).