With running back Stevan Ridley deciding to sign with the New York Jets, it closes the book on his four-year tenure with the New England Patriots.
A few Ridley-based notes:
1. Ridley had visited New York, Miami and Washington this offseason. As I understand it, New England was not aggressive to retain him as this wasn't a bidding-war type of situation.
2. Coming off a torn ACL, Ridley was seeking an opportunity where he had the best chance for extended action in a prove-it type of situation so he could hit the market again in 2016. In New England, based on some of the volatile swings in playing time he experienced over four years, he likely had some reservations about how things would unfold if he returned. In turn, the Patriots seemed ready to move on and turn to a group that currently includes LeGarrette Blount, Jonas Gray and Tyler Gaffney as bigger running backs.
3. Ridley's most productive season with the Patriots came in 2012, his second year, when he rushed for 1,263 yards. Outside of his torn ACL, perhaps the lowest point of his time with the Patriots came when he was a healthy scratch for a road game against Houston in 2013 after a stretch in which he struggled with ball security.
4. From the lighthearted department: Ridley's unique attire and boots will be missed.
5. As a third-round draft choice (73rd overall), Ridley gave the Patriots good bang for the buck overall. The 2011 class had a challenging start with the lockout limiting their initial offseason work, but in a credit to Ridley, he played in every game that year and initially made a greater impact than second-round pick Shane Vereen. But as both running backs reached the end of their time in New England in 2014, Ridley had the unfortunate turn of events with the injury, and this is also a year in which the draft class at the position is strong. In that sense, it is a case of bad timing for him.