Patriots reporter believes the team should heavily pursue Calvin Ridley in free agency
Despite the start of free agency not happening for another seven or so weeks, many Patriots fans and reporters have already begun putting together lists of names they believe would be good fits for the team or their dream players to sign there.
Most of the discussion has focused on wide receivers since it is one of the weakest parts of the roster still, and many have taken a liking to a few of the top free agents at the position: Mike Evans, Tee Higgins, and more recently Michael Pittman Jr. But there's another name we should be hoping for as well, according to NBC Sports Boston's Phil Perry.
"I really like Calvin Ridley... He came back this year and had a 1,000-yard season in Jacksonville. He is an explosive player."
The 29-year-old was a fan favorite when the Falcons were looking to trade him in 2022, despite his season-long suspension due to betting on NFL games the year before. Patriots fans liked the talent he could bring to the team, but Atlanta ended up trading him to Jacksonville for a few mid-round draft picks.
He was reinstated for the 2023 season, where he recorded the second-best season of his career, and is now set to hit free agency again. This could be the opportunity for the Patriots to snag a veteran receiver who would make the offense immensely better than last year.
And because of his availability and likely fair cost, Perry feels the time is now for Jerod Mayo to bring Ridley to New England.
"He's now in his seventh season. I just don't think he's going to command like $20 million a year. He might cost somewhere around $15 or $16 million a year, and that to me would be a tremendous upgrade for your receiver corps, and you're not feeling like you have to reach for a receiver in the draft if the guys you like aren't necessarily there in the first or second round."
Bringing in talent like Ridley would be a significant signing and, as Perry said, help the team focus on other needy positions in the draft, like quarterback and offensive line. Because free agency is over a month before the draft, this gives Mayo plenty of time to sort things out and spend some cash to fill voids on the roster plenty of time before putting together a game plan for the draft.
It may be the most ideal scenario.