The Jets continue their offseason makeover, as they’ve reportedly added another piece this evening. NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport tweets that the Jets will sign free agent running back Stevan Ridley. Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald reports (via Twitter) that it’s a one-year deal.
The former Patriots’ season was cut short in 2014, as an ACL and MCL injury suffered in Week 6 ended the running back’s year. In six games, Ridley compiled 340 yards and two touchdowns on 94 attempts. The 26-year-old was attempting to boost his value after a dreadful 2013 campaign, when his role was diminished following continuous fumbling issues.
However, prior to that, Ridley was one of the brightest young running backs in the league. He rushed for 1,263 yards and 12 touchdowns during his sophomore campaign, earning him the 25th-best ranking among running backs from Pro Football Focus (subscription required). In his brief career, Ridley has averaged 4.3 yards per carry, which would place him 16th among active running backs.
Ridley was among the more intriguing offensive weapons still available via free agency, and interest in the former LSU standout had started to heat up recently. Besides meeting with the Jets, Ridley had also met with Washington and the Dolphins, and Rapoport confirms (via Twitter) that both teams had offered the running back a contract. According to Rapoport (on Twitter), the presence of offensive coordinator Chan Gailey certainly impacted Ridley’s decision. Furthermore, the player may have been enticed by the opportunity to compete for carries with the Jets, as neither Chris Ivory or Bilal Powell have ever topped 850 yards in a season.