Titans GM details chaotic chain of events after signing WR Calvin Ridley

Titans GM details chaotic chain of events after signing WR Calvin Ridley

When free agency began, Tennessee Titans general manager Ran Carthon didn’t think he stood a strong chance of signing star wide receiver Calvin Ridley.

Examining Titans General Manager Ran Carthon's First Six Months On The Job  - Sports Illustrated Tennessee Titans News, Analysis and More

After all, the 29-year-old WR wanted to return to division rival Jacksonville. But the Jaguars simply didn’t have the funds to retain him after franchise-tagging edge-rusher Josh Allen and signing receiver Gabriel Davis to a three-year, $39M deal.

“In our mind [signing Ridley] was really a pipe dream,” Carthon admitted to reporters on Tuesday. “Can we afford [to sign our free-agent class] and get Ridley?”

But Carthon decided to take a swing at landing the playmaking wideout, and the next day Ridley and the Titans agreed to a four-year, $92 million deal.

Carthon explained a frenzied series of events that showed him just how fast word travels in the NFL.

“We get the deal done, the deal gets agreed to, we’re in the office and we’re having a moment…we’re high-fiving and bro hugging and all of that and so we’re like, ‘Hey, let’s get Calvin on the phone and congratulate him,’” Carthon said. “This is all happening within 90 seconds —  we call Calvin, we’re Face Timing him, we’re excited and he’s excited, then my phone beeps and it’s [team owner Amy Adams Strunk]. I pick up the phone and she’s like, ‘Is this true?’ And I’m like, ‘Is what true?’ And she was like, ‘Did we just get Calvin Ridley?’ And I’m like what the hell, is it out already? It’s been like…we’re on the phone with him right now congratulating him.”

After sitting out the 2022 season while serving a gambling-related suspension, Ridley had a breakout 2023 in which he caught 76 passes for 1,016 yards and eight touchdowns.

It was the second-most receptions, targets (136) and yards he’d recorded in his career, and it showed that despite missing 29 games over the previous two seasons, Ridley hadn’t missed a beat.

Now, the Titans have arguably the best 1-2 WR punch in the AFC South with Ridley and DeAndre Hopkins, and Carthon’s gamble looks like one that was worth taking.

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