Mystery team steals Calvin Ridley from the Patriots

Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Calvin Ridley (0) lines up before the snap during the third
Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Calvin Ridley (0) lines up before the snap during the third / Corey Perrine/Florida Times-Union / USA

The Patriots looked like the team to beat in acquiring Calvin Ridley at the start of the new league year but despite reports claiming only they and the Jaguars were pursuing the receiver, a mystery team swooped in and signed him to a massive deal instead.

What team was it? The Titans.

This is the second year in a row the Patriots have lost out in their bid to sign a top-name receiver to Tennessee, as DeAndre Hopkins also chose to sign there instead last summer. Now, Eliot Wolf will have to decide what direction to take to find a new WR1 with Ridley out of the picture, which may force them to make a significant trade.

They apparently had a hefty offer on the table for Ridley, and according to insider Albert Breer, the Patriots' offer was just shy of the Titans'.

Perhaps it's a good thing he won't be a Patriot next year.

The remaining free-agent receivers aren't all that thrilling, so going full speed ahead and inquiring about potentially trading for Tee Higgins or even Justin Jefferson might be the only option available outside of the draft.

They are in an excellent position to take one of the best prospects of a deep receiver class in the second round, assuming they go quarterback in the first, which would make up for this swing-and-miss. However, having another veteran in the lineup would be beneficial, especially one who is considered a game-changing player.

One issue they'll have to figure out is how to sweeten the deal for players to come because in the case of Ridley, it's clear he didn't want to sign with the Patriots. Maybe once more details come out, there will be more clarity regarding the specifics of the contracts, but the fact he went to another team for only $1 million more a year says a lot.

Read more from Musket Fire: