Patriots Gifted Perfect Calvin Ridley Backup Plan

If the New England Patriots can't sign free agent WR Calvin Ridley, don't worry. The perfect backup option just became available on Wednesday.

The Los Angeles Chargers have released WR Mike Williams, who would be a solid get for the Patriots.
The Los Angeles Chargers have released WR Mike Williams, who would be a solid get for the Patriots. / Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
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The New England Patriots entered the 2024 offseason with several areas in need of an upgrade, including the wide receiver room. The Patriots have been linked to a handful of free-agent WRs this month, including former Jacksonville Jaguars playmaker Calvin Ridley.

Having said that, it isn't guaranteed that Ridley will make the trip to Foxboro. NFL insider Adam Schefter reported on Tuesday that the veteran wideout prefers to re-sign in Jacksonville, likely meaning that New England must begin to consider a Plan B if things don't work out.

There's no need to hit the panic button yet, though, because the perfect backup plan just became available for the Patriots.

Patriots News: Chargers Release WR Mike Williams

NFL.com's Ian Rapoport reports that the Los Angeles Chargers have released star wide receiver Mike Williams. The 29-year-old playmaker has been with the Chargers since he was drafted seventh overall in 2017, however, the release was necessary for the team to free up $20 million in cap space.

Having said that, the Chargers' loss should be the Patriots' gain.

Williams would easily be the best player in New England's WR room next season. The ex-Clemson Tiger has over 300 receptions, 4,800 yards, and 31 touchdowns throughout his seven-year career, even hitting the 1,000-yard mark twice. His best performance came in 2021 when he set career highs in receptions (76) and receiving yards (1,146) while finding the end zone nine times.

Unfortunately, Williams' 2023 campaign didn't go as planned. The Tampa, FL native was limited to a handful of outings before he tore his ACL against the Minnesota Vikings in Week 3. The good news is that it was reported that his recovery was "ahead of schedule" in February, so it looks like he'll be at 100% once the 2024 season begins.

But even in a small sample size, Williams showed how dangerous he could be. The veteran pass-catcher tallied 19 catches, 249 yards, and one touchdown across three games last season, putting him on pace for a 108-1,411-6 stat line had he remained healthy.

Although it isn't guaranteed that he'd put up those exact numbers, the brief sample size highlighted his potential.

Regardless of who the Patriots' next starting quarterback is, it's clear that giving them a WR1 like Williams would be beneficial. Fortunately, New England has over $57.8 million in remaining cap space (per Spotrac) to help lure him to the franchise.

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