There are still two weeks before the Jacksonville Jaguars begin their offseason workout program with voluntary workouts on April 17. But that hasn't stopped Trevor Lawrence from getting in some throwing time with his newest target, Calvin Ridley.
"We have (thrown together) once, and I'm super excited," Lawrence said on Tuesday, via Demetrius Harvey of the Florida Times-Union. "We're just excited to have him. He's gonna be another piece for this offense and our team, and [he's] just a good guy that we're excited to bring into the locker room. It's gonna be a lot of fun."
The Jaguars actually dealt for Ridley at last year's trade deadline, but he remained suspended at the time for violating the NFL's gambling policy. Ridley, 28, was officially reinstated back in March after initially being suspended in March 2022.
Prior to the suspension, Ridley announced in October 2021 that he was stepping away from the Atlanta Falcons to focus on his mental health. His last NFL game came in Week 7 of the 2021 season when he caught four passes for 26 yards and one touchdown against the Dolphins. In 2020, Ridley had a career-best season with 90 catches for 1,374 yards and nine TDs.
The Jaguars figure to have another explosive offense in 2023 with the addition of Ridley and the return of tight end Evan Engram, who was given the franchise tag. Now with Christian Kirk, Zay Jones, Engram and Ridley, the Jaguars potentially have as promising a top foursome of pass catchers as almost any NFL team.
"It's huge. (Bringing back Engram) was a big priority for us this offseason," Lawrence said. "So, to have him back at least for this year, and hopefully longer moving forward -- that's ideal.
"You saw what he did for our offense last season and how he came on at the end of the year. I think we really figured out how to use him the right way, and he's helped us a ton. Just keep building on that, there's still more out there. That's the exciting part."
The Jaguars' fortunes have changed dramatically in less than a year's time. After finishing with the NFL's worst record in consecutive seasons (2020-2021) and starting last season with a 3-7 mark, Jacksonville stormed its way into the playoffs by winning six of their final seven regular-season games.
In the postseason, the Jaguars erased a 27-0 deficit to beat the Chargers and then hung tough the next week against the eventual-champion Chiefs. The optimism is at peak levels as Lawrence and the Jaguars get set to report for work.
"We're pumped," Lawrence said. "We'll have a good crew there, and it's such a cool time of the year. Everybody comes back, (and you) get to start building your team, building your foundation. I'm really excited to start that with all the guys."