Sheldon Richardson Traded to Seattle; Jets Get Jermaine Kearse, Picks

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistSeptember 1, 2017

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - JANUARY 01: Defensive End Sheldon Richardson #91 of the New York Jets follows the action against the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium on January 1, 2017 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Al Pereira/Getty Images)
Al Pereira/Getty Images

The New York Jets traded defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson to the Seattle Seahawks in exchange for wide receiver Jermaine Kearse and draft considerations Friday, the Seahawks announced.

Adam Schefter of ESPN first passed along word of the trade, adding the Jets also received a second-round pick and a seventh-round pick, while the Seahawks also landed a seventh-rounder. 

Kearse said goodbye to Seattle on Instagram following the trade:

Richardson, 26, remains a talented interior defensive asset, though his production has waned somewhat since his eight sacks in 2014. Last year, he posted just 1.5 sacks in 15 games, though he did add 62 tackles, two fumble recoveries and a forced fumble.

But the former Rookie of the Year and 2014 Pro Bowler has made as many headlines for issues off the field as his play on it in the past two years. He was suspended for four games in 2015 after testing positive for marijuana, and one game for violating the league's personal conduct policy in 2016.

And given the presence of burgeoning superstar Leonard Williams and Muhammad Wilkerson, Richardson became expendable. The Jets extended Wilkerson on a five-year, $86 million deal in July 2016, rendering it unlikely the team would splash major cash to commit to Richardson in the long term.

Rather, the Jets reportedly have been trying to deal Richardson since the 2016 trade deadline, per Connor Hughes of NJ.com. They also reportedly shopped him during the 2017 NFL draft, according to Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News.

With Seattle, Richardson will have the opportunity to reestablish himself as one of the top defensive tackles in the game and should see more playing time. Given that he's also entering the final year of his rookie contract, per Spotrac.com, he'll be playing for a lucrative contract next offseason as well.

Meanwhile, Kearse will help boost a Jets receiving corps that took a serious hit when Quincy Enunwa suffered a season-ending neck injury last month. New York's newest addition should have an opportunity to slide into the No. 1 role ahead of Robby Anderson and ArDarius Stewart once he learns the offense.


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