The New York Jets made a splash during the free agency period, when they brought back superstar cornerback, Darelle Revis from the New England Patriots. Yesterday the Jets strengthened the other side of the ball by signing yet another player away from their AFC East rival. Woody Johnson and the Jets’ front office look to bolster their backfield with the signing of fifth year running back, Stevan Ridley.
Ridley is coming off of a serious knee surgery, but the Jets needed a replacement for veteran Chris Johnson because they did not resign him this off-season. Woody Johnson believes that the risk of picking up a running back off of knee surgery is worth it to give Chris Ivory someone to split the carries with. The Jets also resigned Bilal Powell to carry some of the workload but the addition of Ridley will most likely leave Powell on the sidelines for majority of the plays.
In his short four year career, Ridley has had two seasons in which he performed very well. 2012 was his breakout year with the Patriots in which he rushed for 1,263 yards with 12 touchdowns. He followed up that season with 773 yards and 7 touchdowns the next season. These two seasons are the type that the Jets hope they can get out of Ridley in the future.
The only issue with Ridley joining the Jets is that he does not add a new dynamic to their backfield. He is basically the same type of running back as Chris Ivory, so it’s not like they can run different packages for each guy. Ridley is not a strong receiving back, only catching 23 balls over his four year career without a single touchdown reception.
The Jets are getting another “between-the-tackles” type guy in Ridley, but he could still play an important role in the offense. NFL offenses have started to rely on a two-headed rushing attack a lot more in recent past, and Ridley will be the Jets viable second option that they have been lacking recently. Veteran Chris Johnson was supposed to come in and be the speed guy to compliment Ivory’s power, but he never succeeded in the green and white.
Leaving New England for the New York Jets is a complete 180 for Ridley. He will be playing on a completely different team with a completely different organization. Ridley enjoyed his time in New England though and graciously thanked their fans saying, “Love New England, Love my former teammates, and I’m truly thankful for the opportunity the Patriot’s organization has blessed me with”. It’s time for Ridley to start a new path in the AFC East.