Jets must trade Sheldon Richardson before 2017 NFL Draft
By Bobby Kirschenbaum
It’s in the best interest of the New York Jets to trade defensive end Sheldon Richardson before the 2017 NFL Draft to pile up even more draft picks as the rebuild continues.
With too many off-field issues and not enough on-field stardom to compensate for it, the New York Jets should push to trade Sheldon Richardson in an effort to gain another high draft pick or multiple later round picks. He missed a significant amount of the 2015 season due to violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy, resulting in a four-game suspension. In 2016, he missed more time for personal conduct issues, including an altercation with a teammate following a loss and showing up late to a meeting. It should also be noted that he hasn’t been nearly as productive of a player since.
The move makes complete sense, even if it’s solely for a third round pick, due to the money factor. This offseason has been more of a transitional one for the Jets, releasing veterans freely in an effort to save money for the future. The Jets’ cap has skyrocketed following the departures of Nick Folk, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Darrelle Revis, Breno Giacomini, Brandon Marshall and Nick Mangold. Trading Richardson would add an additional $8.1M for the Jets and allow them to continue exploring free agents and other low-price options around the league.
The Jets had an excessive amount of struggles last year in winning games, particularly due to their horrific defense. However, as crazy as it may seem, the one area that certainly does not need to be rejuvenated is the pass rushing, because they already have two top rushers in Muhammad Wilkerson and Leonard Williams. The secondary, on the other hand, allowed so many long balls and deep passes that it became hard to watch. If the Jets traded Richardson for even an average cornerback, many Jets’ fans would be relieved.
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Richardson enters the final year of his contract, as well, which is even more of an incentive to trade for someone who they could hold onto for the future. In the NBA this past season, the Kings knew that Demarcus Cousins was finishing his career in Sacramento before hitting free agency, so they opted to trade him to New Orleans for several players for the future. In the MLB, the Yankees knew they wouldn’t be able to afford Andrew Miller and Carlos Beltran after their contracts expired, so they traded them for young prospects.
Even in the NHL, the Blues knew defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk was on his way out following the season, so they traded him to the Capitals for two players, a first-round pick and several conditional picks. If the Jets choose to keep Richardson on the roster for a transition year in 2017, it would be wasteful and resolve none of the issues on the offensive side.
In 2014, Richardson had a breakout season, recording 8 sacks, 42 tackles and a forced fumble, which led him to be selected to the Pro Bowl in just his second NFL season. However, in 2015 and 2016 combined, he recorded just 6.5 sacks and hasn’t been the same as before. He is still just 26 years old and possesses an extreme potential for the future, but his off-field issues continue to sabotage his trade value further, which general manager Maccagnan should capitalize on before it’s too late.