Now that the New York Jets have locked up one of their star defensive linemen, it’s time for another one to get his act together, or else.
Make no mistake about it, defensive end Sheldon Richardson is on high alert, or at the very least he should be. If you haven’t heard the news, the New York Jets have finally locked up Muhammad Wilkerson to a long-term contract that will keep him in a Jets uniform until the 2021 offseason.
For the Jets and Wilkerson, it took two plus years for this to turn into reality, even when it seemed like contract negotiations were going nowhere. But when it appeared the optimism was at its lowest point, that’s when the Jets and Wilkerson were able to come together and make it happen.
Which should be troubling news to Richardson, the Jets other star along their defensive line. For months, Wilkerson has been the subject of trade rumors and discussions, mainly due to the lack of the comprehension of value between the front office and his camp.
Now the trade rumors and discussions should shift squarely on the shoulders of Richardson. While the Jets still control his rights for this upcoming season and the 2017 season (thanks to the fifth year option that the Jets exercised this offseason), he needs to make sure his name is in the headlines for all the right reasons.
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It seems the consensus among Jets fans has been if they had to pick between Wilkerson and Richardson, they’d go with the guy who doesn’t have the red flags.
The caveat to that is many believe that despite the red flags, Richardson possesses a higher ceiling than Wilkerson.
Which has obviously put the Jets in quite the conundrum, until now.
The Jets have given themselves the ultimate negotiating power paired along with insurance and leverage in those future contract talks.
The Jets now have their developing second year player in Leonard Williams, while also having Wilkerson signed for the long haul. Which means Richardson’s red flags won’t be tolerated anymore and now if he messes up again, he could be out of town.
So it’s the best of both worlds for the Jets, if they keep all three players, they have arguably the most dominant defensive line in the NFL. If they decide to get the most bang for their buck via trade they can help out another area of need on the team.
Richardson appears to be on the straight and narrow after his latest incident last summer, in which he was speeding with loaded guns in a car while endangering a child, allegedly. He was served a one-game suspension by the league.
Richardson and the Jets were very fortunate with the final ruling from the league, because it could’ve been much worse. Next time Richardson may not be so lucky, which could result in him wearing another uniform, an orange one.
He said it was a wake up call and head coach Todd Bowles and second year general manager Mike Maccagnan believe that Richardson has turned a new leaf. But actions are much louder than words, so hopefully the Jets will no longer have to worry about Richardson’s off the field antics and can focus on what’s most important: winning football games.