The New York Jets Jets have traded 4th year player Sheldon Richardson to the Seattle Seahawks for Wide Receiver Jermaine Kearse and a 2nd round draft pick. In addition, the Jets and Seahawks swapped 7th round picks.
Richardson, a first round pick by former GM John Idzik, was named 2013 Defensive Rookie of the Year after his first season. Since then, his career has been mired with off the field issues and locker room squabbles with teammates. Richardson has been suspended twice in his short career. In 2015, he was suspended four games for violating the NFL Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse. In 2016, he was slapped with a one game suspension for violating the league’s personal conduct policy following an arrest.Following a strong rookie year and Pro Bowl second year, Richardson’s on the field production dropped. He compiled 11.5 sacks in his first two seasons. In the following two seasons, he produced just 6.5. Last year, Todd Bowles experimented with Richardson playing outside linebacker. Richardson largely struggled there and Bowles vowed to leave him at defensive end for this season.
This trade will likely go down as one of GM Mike Maccagnan’s better decisions at the helm. Richardson was on the trading block since last year, as it became abundantly clear that the team had little use for him when taking into account their depth at the defensive line position, and his off the field baggage. Richardson is set to be a free agent after this season and it’s doubtful the Jets would have given him a long term contract.
Mccagnan wisely cashed in on Richardson’s value now to help the team in the future. In exchange for Richardson the Jets added a veteran wideout to a position group that was in desperate need of one. After going undrafted out of college Jermaine Kearse signed with the Seahawks and has been on their roster since. He has gained 1,195 yards and 6 touchdowns in his last two seasons in Seattle. Arguably even more important than Kearse is Seattle’s 2018 2nd round draft pick that the Jets now own. Maccagnan has preached “building through the draft” since he got to New York but has given up draft picks for Ryan Fitzpatrick and Brandon Marshall and others, all off the team after 2 seasons. Now, Mccagnan practiced what he preached as he nabbed a 2nd round pick from Seattle.
Of course, the best way to build a team is with multiple, early-round draft picks. With the Jets having so many holes to fill this was a necessary move by Maccagnan. After shopping Richardson for a year, he finally made the move.