Bears listed as potential landing spot for Calvin Ridley
Steven Roberts - USA Today Sports

Bears listed as potential landing spot for Calvin Ridley

by - Senior Writer -

We are down to the final two weeks of the NFL season, as the Pro Bowl is this weekend, followed by the Super Bowl next weekend. That means the NFL offseason can officially begin in just two short weeks. Although most of the action will take place in March once free agency begins, all eyes will be on the Chicago Bears and what they choose to do with the first overall selection.

Not only that, but once again, the Bears will have a ton of cap space to improve this team in every facet, which could lead to big things in the near future. One of the things they would like to improve on is adding a legitimate option across from DJ Moore for either Justin Fields or Caleb Williams. Most of that talk surrounds Marvin Harrison Jr or potentially Rome Odunze based on who the Bears take No. 1.

You also have other free agents who could make great options, as Mike Evans and Tee Higgins have been linked to the Bears on multiple occasions. Well, another name has now been linked as a possible pickup for this team, and it is a surprising name nonetheless, as Calvin Ridley to Chicago could become a real thing.

Ridley has had quite an interesting NFL career thus far and burst onto the scene following a dominating college career with the Alabama Crimson Tide, which helped him become the first-round pick of the Atlanta Falcons in 2018. From the moment he arrived in Atlanta, you could see Ridley's potential as the 6-1, 190-pounder stood across from future hall-of-famer Julio Jones to make one of the most lethal combos in the game.

During his first three seasons, Ridley was about as consistent as you could ask for in a No. 2 as he finished just shy of 900 yards in each of his first two seasons while adding 17 scores. Ten of those came as a rookie, as Ridley led all rookies in TD receptions during the 2018 season. Then came the COVID year of 2020, where Ridley not only stepped up his game but proved he can be a No. 1 given the right situation.

Ridley hauled in a career-high 90 passes that season for 1374 yards and nine scores. That type of season was the season the Falcons were waiting on from him, but it was in 2021 when his career took a turn for the worse. After battling through an injury-plagued 2021 that saw him play in just five games and pick up 281 yards, Ridley was suspended for the entire 2022 season for breaking the rules on the gambling policy.

Knowing he would miss a season and coming off a season where he only played in five games, it would be nearly two full seasons before Ridley would step on a field again, which is no easy feat. He was then traded to the Jacksonville Jaguars ahead of the 2023 season and hoped to make a nice pairing with Christian Kirk on the far side of the field.

Not only did Ridley prove he still has plenty left in the tank, but he did much better than anyone expected, as he picked up 76 catches for 1016 yards and eight scores. Add that to his 2020 season, and Ridley has more than 2,400 yards and close to 20 touchdowns over his last two full seasons, which has No. 1 WR written all over it. Given he was on a year deal last season and knowing his history and what he has gone through, adding Ridley would be a risk for sure, but one the Bears would almost be foolish not to make.

With D.J. Moore in place, Chicago could get two interchangeable players as X-receivers up on the line and as good move/Z-receivers with alignment versatility. Both can create separation vertically, but Ridley could take the top off defenses even more and let Moore utilize his high-end after-the-catch abilities at the short and intermediate levels. That will help Fields immensely with his aerial attack, but Williams's potential could make that two click.

No one is telling the Bears to break the bank or overspend for a guy like Ridley, but if he were to sign a three-year deal at a reasonable price, it could be a win-win for both sides. A potential Moore-Ridley pairing would allow both wideouts to shine as downfield playmakers and help give the Bears their first 4000-yard passer in team history.

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