The Jets have a very talented defensive line, with three former first round picks resting on it, you wouldn’t expect anything less. However after signing Wilkerson to a 5 year $86 million contract and having Leonard Williams waiting in the wings for a payday, the accepted wisdom is that they’ll need to move Sheldon rather than pay him. You just can’t commit three huge contracts to the defensive line and stay competitive.
So it came as no surprise to hear reports that the Jets were actively shopping Richardson before the trade deadline. According to multiple reports on the day, the Dallas Cowboys made an offer to the Jets, which was promptly rejected. The Jets are apparently looking for a 1st round draft pick as compensation for the very talented defensive lineman, however they may struggle to receive an offer in that range. Not liking what they heard, the Jets decided to wait until the off-season, where presumably they will try again.
Richardson is an interesting character, he has an enormous amount of talent but seems to invite trouble into his life. He was suspended for the first game of the 2016 season following a July arrest. Richardson was caught driving 143mph on an interstate accompanied by a 12 year old relative. Police also discovered a semi-automatic handgun under a floor mat and reported a strong smell of marijuana.
This all came a year after Sheldon received a 4 game suspension for failing the league’s substance abuse policy relating to marijuana. Whether you agree with the policy is irrelevant, the simple fact is that the rules are there and by selfishly skirting them, he hurt the team. The off-field issues may hurt his stock in any trade negotiations.
He’s also made it abundantly clear that he wants to get paid, and paid big. There will be no discount down the road for the Jets.
However he was also the 2013 NFL Defensive rookie of the year. In 2015, he finished with 35 tackles, 5 sacks and 2 forced fumbles, and the stat line doesn’t even do justice to just how disruptive he was. His talent is not in question, but would you want to commit a hefty salary to someone who’s shown himself to be incredibly immature and I’d argue, selfish? I know I wouldn’t.
Not to mention that a report surfaced following his benching against the Dolphins last weekend suggesting that he often misses meetings or is at least late to them (Wilkerson too). I really can’t imagine the Jets getting a 1st round selection for him, but a 2nd and potentially a conditional late round pick? That’s a lot more likely.
Going back to the Denver report, the Broncos already possess one of the best defenses in the NFL. If you add Richardson to that unit, it gets downright scary for every other AFC team. It wouldn’t be a huge surprise if the Broncos came back in for Sheldon this off-season. They may lose Sylvester Williams to free agency in 2017, and you don’t know how Vance Walker will come back from a torn ACL he suffered this year. Does the thought of pairing Richardson with Derek Wolfe sound good to you? You can imagine it sounds very good to Elway.