Stevan Ridley spent his first four seasons with the New England Patriots but he has found a new home with the New York Jets. Ridley tore his MCL and ACL in Week 6, against the Buffalo Bills, last year which certainly contributed to his long wait to sign with a new team. Ridley visited with the Miami Dolphins and the Washington Redskins before ultimately deciding to join the Jets backfield.
The Jets already have Chris Ivory and Bilal Powell but the addition of Ridley acts as a good depth signing as well as insurance incase Ivory gets hurt at some point in the season. Ridley likely won’t be 100 percent by the time training camp starts but if he can get healthy he offers the Jets another power running option.
This signing isn’t likely to have a big impact on Ivory’s touches, as Ivory is clearly still the best back on the roster, but it will likely take away carries from Powell who will likely be relegated to his third-down role again.
Ridley is a good power between the tackles runner, much like Ivory but not as quick or powerful, but obviously the Jets decided it was good to have two power runners to lean on to lessen the burden on Ivory. The Jets have also been doing a lot of work on this deep running back draft class so they could still add a back in the draft if someone they love falls to a spot where they like but this signing gives them the flexibility to not have to reach for one in the draft if they don’t like the value.
Ridley is a talented, but not a game-breaking, back who seems to have overcome his fumbling issues in the past. With a Jets team that will look to run the ball a lot there will be plenty of opportunities for Ridley to spell Ivory when the Jets want more of an inside power runner than Powell.
There’s no reason to look at this signing as anything more than a backup for Ivory. Powell of course is a backup as well but Ridley does many of the same things as Ivory does just in a more subdued fashion. Teams continue to shift to three-back rotations and as we’ve seen in the past sometimes that can be tricky to handle getting all three backs enough touches to keep happy but with injury and wear-and-tear concerns teams will continue to lean towards having a deeper rotation.