New York Jets sign RB Stevan Ridley

This is definitely a solid value for Ridley, as he’ll only make 1.25 million in 2015, with just 80K guaranteed. Ridley, a 2011 3rd round pick, rushed for 1263 yards and 12 touchdowns on 290 carries (4.36 YPC) in his 2nd year in the league in 2012. He comes cheap for a reason though, as, in the two seasons since, he’s rushed for 1113 yards and 9 touchdowns on 272 carries (4.09 YPC). He’s also coming off of a torn ACL he suffered midway through last season. On top of that, he’s useless as a pass catcher, with 23 catches in 52 career games and has 9 career fumbles on 672 career touches. Still, he’s a solid buy low candidate at this price.

However, he’s a weird fit in New York for two reasons. For one, he’s a very similar player to Chris Ivory, a powerful between the tackles runner and little else, with little agility or pass catching ability. He won’t be a passing down upgrade on the limited Bilal Powell nor will he be a good change of pace back to Ivory. Two, the Jets’ offensive coordinator is Chan Gailey, who prefers quicker, smaller running backs who can do things in space, like he had in Buffalo with CJ Spiller. The Jets don’t have anyone who fits that mold as Ridley and Ivory are purely downhill runners and Powell is a mediocre talent.

This signing doesn’t preclude the Jets from drafting a speedy running back on day 2 of the draft. I currently have them taking Duke Johnson from Miami. It’s possible that Ridley and Ivory are fighting for one roster spot. I expect Ivory, who was Pro Football Focus’ 10th ranked running back in pure running grade in 2014, to win that battle (at least I hope he would) so it’s very possible that Ridley gets cut before the season starts. In that sense, it could prove to be a wasted signing, but, with just 80K guaranteed, he’s worth the flier, as he long as he doesn’t cause the Jets to cut the talented Ivory.

Grade: B+

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