The Daily News has learned that Washington was among several teams that had trade discussions with the Jets over the past couple days. The Jets also had trade talks with the Cowboys before last year’s trade deadline.
The sticking point for serious suitors now is Richardson’s fully guaranteed $8.1 million this season (on his fifth-year option), according to sources.
Jets DE Sheldon Richardson remains on the trading block. GM Mike Maccagnan, speaking at the conclusion of the draft, was tellingly non-committal on Richardson. "There's a whole offseason ahead of us," he said. "We'll see how it unfolds going forward." The Jets shopped him during the draft, sources said. They appear desperate to get rid of him. His $8.1 million guaranteed salary is a huge stumbling block.
Presumably the Jets would receive a 2018 pick in a Richardson trade.
The team does not find itself in a great position. At this point, it is difficult for me to see a rationale behind keeping Richardson. The team is likely looking at a bad year whether or not it keeps the defensive lineman. Retaining him past 2017 will require a lucrative contract extension, which doesn’t seem likely or desirable for any number of reasons.
If the Jets don’t trade him, they likely will lose him for nothing. It makes sense to at least try to get something in return. In theory, the team could get a compensatory Draft pick, but that would require the team to adjust its free agent strategy. You only get compensatory picks if you lose more than you gain. The Jets will probably be sitting on a lot of cap space next year on a roster that needs upgrades almost everywhere. Is it really the right move to restrain yourself and leave extra holes just to land a pick for Richardson then instead of getting a pick for him now?
Of course, dealing him isn’t easy. Because he is a free agent after 2017, any team that trades for him is getting a one year rental. Given Richardson’s baggage, it seems unlikely a new team would be willing to extend him immediately. Teams aren’t going to be willing to pay as much for a one year rental as they would for a long-term contributor so that drives down the price the Jets can command for his services.
And Richardson’s $8.1 million one year pricetag is also pretty high for a player who has struggled on the field and created a lot of off field headaches for his team over the last two seasons. He might be on what is essentially a one year prove it deal, but it is an expensive prove it deal. There isn’t any incentive for him to reduce his $8.1 million pricetag either.
Does you get the sense there are no good options? That’s the situation the Jets find themselves in. They will never get equal value for Richardson’s ability. If they don’t take dimes and quarters on the dollar for him now, they probably will lose him in a year for nothing.
The least bad option is probably to take what you can get for him now and eat some of the salary. And that is not a great outcome. It’s just the only one that makes sense.