New York Jets’ list of veteran wide receiver options lost two names on Monday
Adding a big-ticket name at the wide receiver position is something that many New York Jets fans have been hoping the team would do in the 2022 offseason.
On Monday, the Jets’ chances of accomplishing that goal took a big hit.
Two of the Jets’ most realistic options are no longer available: Chris Godwin of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (unrestricted free agent) and Calvin Ridley of the Atlanta Falcons (trade block).
Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reported that Ridley has been suspended one year for gambling on NFL games during the 2021 season.
#Falcons WR Calvin Ridley has been suspended a year for gambling on NFL games during the season.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 7, 2022
Ridley played five games in the 2021 season before stepping away from the team for what he cited as mental health reasons, missing the rest of the year after the Falcons placed him on the Non-Football Injury (NFI) list. During his absence, Ridley bet on games, including Falcons games.
Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network reports that the NFL’s investigation into Ridley “uncovered no evidence indicating any inside information was used or that any game was compromised in any way.”
A source informed of the NFL's investigation into Calvin Ridley's gambling tells me the bets did involve the #Falcons.
The NFL's statement says the investigation "uncovered no evidence indicating any inside information was used or that any game was compromised in any way."
— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) March 7, 2022
With Ridley entering a contract year in 2022, trade rumors began to circulate once it was clear that his relationship with the team was fracturing. NFL Network’s Steve Wyche appeared on an Atlanta radio show in January and said “it appears like both sides could be looking for a fresh start.”
Asked if Calvin Ridley’s future with the Falcons is in jeopardy @wyche89 tells @MikeBellATL & @putemupcdukes “I’d think so. The fact that he and the team have been so quiet and he hasn’t surfaced, it appears like both sides could be looking for a fresh start.” #dirtybirds
— DukesandBell929 (@DukesandBell929) January 4, 2022
Also on Monday, it was reported that the Buccaneers are expected to use the franchise tag on Chris Godwin, per Tyler Dragon of USA Today Sports.
Bucs are expected to franchise tag WR Chris Godwin before Tuesday's deadline, per source.
— Tyler Dragon (@TheTylerDragon) March 7, 2022
This is the second consecutive year that Tampa Bay has franchise-tagged Godwin. He earned $15,983,000 million on the tag in 2020. A second consecutive tag calls for the player to earn 120 percent of their previous salary, so Godwin would earn $19,179,600 on this season if he plays on it without signing a long-term deal.
With Godwin and Ridley now off the market, the Jets are left with a dwindling list of options to find a star-caliber upgrade for their wide receiver unit.
Green Bay’s Davante Adams is set to become a free agent, although he could be looking for a record-setting contract into his thirties. The Cowboys’ Amari Cooper appears to be on his way out of his Dallas, as the team will reportedly attempt to seek a trade and then release Cooper if they fail to deal him.
Cowboys are “likely” to release WR Amari Copper by the start of the new league year, per league sources.
Cooper is due $20 million in fully guaranteed money on the fifth day of the new league year, March 20.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 4, 2022
Chicago’s Allen Robinson is a free agent. He has star-caliber talent, as he entered 2021 coming off of back-to-back seasons with over 1,110 yards and seven touchdowns, but he endured a highly disappointing 2021 season.
New Orleans’ Michael Thomas and Houston’s Brandin Cooks are two other multi-time 1,000-yard receivers who have been rumored to be candidates for the trade block.
Outside of those players, the 2022 wide receiver market lacks any other bona fide stars. However, the free agency pool does have intriguing complementary names like Mike Williams, Christian Kirk, Michael Gallup, D.J. Chark, and JuJu Smith-Schuster.