TUESDAY, 1:33pm: Ridley’s deal is now official, as Tim Twentyman of DetroitLions.com tweets.
FRIDAY, 12:46pm: After visiting Detroit this week, free agent running back Stevan Ridley will sign with the Lions, as he announced himself today on Instagram. Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com (Twitter link) confirms the agreement, reporting that it will be a one-year contract for Ridley, who thanked the Jets and their fans in his Instagram statement.
“To the Organization and city of NEW YORK I truly thank you for all the love,” Ridley wrote. “But now it’s on to Detroit for me! I can’t be happier for another shot to tote this pill and showcase the gifts I’ve been truly blessed with! Detroit, I’ve got a surprise for you this year, I promise. I’m ready to get to work with my new family, so April 18th can’t come soon enough!”
A former third-round pick, Ridley averaged 5.1 yards per carry in limited action during his rookie season in 2011, then exploded for 1,263 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns in 2012. However, fumbling issues landed him on the bench in New England, and a devastating ACL/MCL injury limited him in both 2014 and 2015.
After spending his first four years in the NFL with the Patriots, Ridley signed with the Jets last season, but didn’t see the field all that much after coming off the PUP list. With Chris Ivory and Bilal Powell handling the majority of the workload out of the backfield, Ridley took over for Zac Stacy as the No. 3 back and earned just 36 carries, totaling only 90 yards for a career-worst 2.5 yards per attempt.
For the Lions, Ameer Abdullah figures to head into the 2016 season as the No. 1 option on the depth chart, and Theo Riddick should get plenty of work too, but the club was in need of some veteran depth after releasing Joique Bell earlier in the offseason.
Depending on the price, which shouldn’t be exorbitant, taking a flier on Ridley to see if the 27-year-old can come close to regaining his old form is a worthwhile roll of the dice for GM Bob Quinn, who was in New England’s front office when the Pats drafted the running back.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.