New England Patriots

Kraft gives odd answer on why Calvin Ridley didn't sign with Patriots

The Patriots owner insisted personal reasons factored into Ridley landing in Tennessee.

NBC Universal, Inc.

If you ask Robert Kraft, the New England Patriots' failure to sign Calvin Ridley in free agency wasn't due to a lack of trying.

Ridley signed a lucrative four-year contract worth $92 million with the Tennessee Titans earlier this month as one of the top wide receivers in free agency. According to reports, the Patriots made a very competitive offer to Ridley -- roughly $22 million per year -- that ultimately fell short to the Titans' $23 million-per-year offer.

Kraft suggested there were other factors involved in Ridley choosing Tennessee over New England, though.

"There was one outstanding receiver that unfortunately we couldn't close," Kraft told reporters Tuesday morning at the NFL's Annual League Meeting in Orlando. "It was not because of finance. It was made clear his girlfriend wanted to be in the South, and we had a situation where the taxes were like almost 10 percent higher (in Massachusetts than Tennessee). "And we offered and were willing to keep going to that premium, but he didn't want to be in the Northeast. Part of it might be the quarterback situation as well."

Check out the video above for Kraft's full comments on Ridley.

While Ridley indeed may have preferred to live in the South instead of the Northeast -- the 29-year-old is a Florida native who played his college ball at Alabama before NFL stops in Atlanta and Jacksonville -- it's a bit strange that Kraft would cite Ridley's girlfriend as one of the reasons the wideout didn't choose the Patriots.

As our Tom E. Curran pointed out, Kraft admitting Ridley may not have been keen on New England's "quarterback situation" is a bit more telling.

The Titans aren't a Super Bowl contender by any means, but they do have a promising young quarterback in Will Levis and a backup with upside in Malik Willis. The Patriots' current starter is Jacoby Brissett, and even if they select a QB with the No. 3 pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, they still have multiple other offensive needs to address and are coming off a 4-13 season with a first-year head coach and no official general manager.

That first-year head coach, Jerod Mayo, even admitted that New England is a bit of a hard sell to free agents at the moment.

“There were various reasons why guys didn't sign with us,” Mayo said Monday. “The unknown is scary for a lot of people. And I would say even in our building right now, it's still unknown.

"Like, will I be a good head coach? I don't know, hopefully. I think I can be. Will Eliot (Wolf) be a good GM or whatever he is in his role? I don't know. We'll see what happens with that. But look, it's gonna be a process."

Regardless of where Ridley or his girlfriend wanted to live, that "process" may not have appealed to the star wideout, who at least in the short term is in a better football situation than he would have been coming to New England.

Contact Us