The Colts have signed free agent running back Stevan Ridley, which Kevin Bowen of Colts.com first reported via Twitter. The signing has since been confirmed by multiple sources.
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Ridley was cut by the Lions just a few days ago, and he could be a quality backup for starter Frank Gore. The Colts have spoken at length about their plan to preserve Gore and keep him on a pitch count. Last year, Gore wound up carrying the ball 260 times and Indianapolis wants to dial that number down so that the veteran can be fresh late in the season. Before the Ridley signing, Robert Turbin was listed as the Colts’ No. 2 back with Jordan Todman, undrafted rookie Josh Ferguson, and Trey Williams also on the depth chart.
It remains to be see how many backs the Colts will carry, but the team could certainly use a player with Ridley’s upside in the backfield. 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. His stint with Indianapolis could represent his best opportunity to reestablish himself as a quality back.
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