New York Jets defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson has been involved in trade rumors for a long time now. As the Jets are an awful team with one un-missable surplus — Richardson, Muhammad Wilkerson, and Leonard Williams are all excellent players who could be mistaken for one another — Richardson has become the odd-man out.
That’s because Williams is on a rookie deal and Wilkerson signed an $86 million contract, while Richardson is playing his fifth-year option at $8 million and will be a free agent in 2018. There’s little chance that New York will re-sign Richardson, so the question became — how much better could they do than a third round comp pick and what were teams willing to pay Richardson long-term if they acquired him? Well, Richardson himself answered some of those questions on Thursday, and he told Manish Mehta that the Seattle Seahawks were definitely interested ... at a lower price than he thinks he’s worth.
“It’s a business, bro,” Richardson told the Daily News during a lengthy and open discussion about his future. “There was one team that asked me to take a pay cut ... and it was Seattle. And Washington too. There were a lot of offers. A lot of good offers. You’d be surprised.”
It’s a notion that Field Gulls has been kicking around for awhile too.
A player the Seahawks could CONSIDER if they test the value of their first round pick in trade: Sheldon Richardson.— Field Gulls (@FieldGulls) February 28, 2017
I also outlined Richardson as a potential target in 2018 when he’s a free agent, but probably at a cost that will be out of their range:
Richardson was a dominant force in 2014 (66 tackles, eight sacks, one safety, one FF from the interior of the DL) but quiet since Leonard Williams joined the fray in New York. They weren’t able to trade him (yet) and Richardson could get huge money in 2018 ... likely more than the Seahawks are willing to spend.
Richardson has been quieter since Williams arrived, going from Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2013 and Pro Bowler in 2014 (with an unbelievable Adjusted Value of 19 (league-leader usually hovers around 20)) to being more of a “team player” in the last two seasons. But if and when he leaves the Jets — which is something he said he doesn’t necessarily want to do and wants to continue playing with Mo and Williams — Richardson could be a Defensive Player of the Year candidate in the right situation.
The time for him playing in Seattle may have passed. They drafted Malik McDowell instead of acquiring Richardson, though now McDowell’s NFL value was unknown even before his ATV accident. The Seahawks must also consider a contract extension for Frank Clark after the season. This would have been the season to acquire him and see if it is just a one-year rental that gives Seattle the best defensive line in the league, but they would have only done it at the right price.
I doubt the right price will show itself before the trade deadline, but it’s interesting to know that the Seahawks weren’t just calling to check in, but potentially made an offer.