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Titans signing WR Calvin Ridley to four-year, $92 million deal; Tennessee adds QB Mason Rudolph, too

Calvin Ridley waited until an hour after the official start of the new league year to shock the NFL.

Despite being expected to return to the Jacksonville Jaguars, Ridley called an audible in his free agency and signed a lucrative deal with the Tennessee Titans, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported on Wednesday. Ridley landed a four-year, $92 million contract with $50 million in guaranteed money, per Rapoport.

The news is indeed a stunner, considering Ridley was believed to be doing the Jaguars a favor by waiting until the new league year began to keep them from being forced to send a second-round pick to the Atlanta Falcons, per the terms of the deal that originally sent him from the Falcons to the Jaguars (who now owe a third-round pick). But as Wednesday wore on, it became apparent Ridley wasn't simply waiting for the minutes to pass; he was testing the market, which included interest from the New England Patriots.

In the end, Ridley chose to stay in the AFC South, but traded teal and black for navy and the Titans' powder blue. With two 1,000-yard seasons under his belt, Ridley will head to a team that generated plenty of intrigue with its mid-week decisions, which included landing former Pittsburgh Steelers backup Mason Rudolph on a one-year deal worth up to $3.62 million, per NFL Network Insider Mike Garafolo, and kicker Nick Folk (who signed a one-year, $3.755 million deal with a max value of $4.13 million, per NFL Network Insider Tom Pelissero).

Rudolph's move to Tennessee was a bit of a surprise in itself, considering how openly the Steelers had previously expressed interest in retaining him for 2024. Those plans changed when the Denver Broncos released Russell Wilson, leading Pittsburgh to host Wilson on a visit and sign him shortly thereafter.

With a suddenly crowded quarterback room in Pittsburgh, Rudolph looked elsewhere for work, and found an opportunity to serve as a backup to, if not compete with second-year passer Will Levis. New coach Brian Callahan and general manager Ran Carthon certainly didn't tie themselves to Levis alone by acquiring Rudolph, a veteran backup with starting experience who boosted his value by performing surprisingly well in relief of both Kenny Pickett and Mitch Trubisky in the Steelers' final month of the 2023 season.

He'll have a new cast of targets to work with in Tennessee, with Ridley headlining a group that also includes DeAndre Hopkins, Treylon Burks, Kyle Philips and new backfield addition Tony Pollard. But first, he'll battle with the current starting favorite, Levis, as the Titans turn the page toward a new era with some fresh faces.

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