The New York Jets have been trying to trade Sheldon Richardson since last year, and they have yet to receive an offer that they deemed fair. Had Richardson been willing to play for less money in 2017, things may have gone differently.
In a candid interview with Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News, Richardson said that the Jets received “good offers” for him, but two teams wanted him to agree to a pay cut as part of a potential trade.
“It’s a business, bro,” Richardson said. “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.”
Richardson is set to make $8.1 million in 2017 after the Jets exercised the fifth-year option on his rookie contract. That’s a bargain for a player of his caliber, so perhaps teams wanted him to agree to a long-term extension that would have lowered his salary for the upcoming season. Whatever the case, Mehta reports that several teams tried to low-ball the Jets.
Richardson recorded just 1.5 sacks in 2016, which was the lowest total of his four-year career. However, the Jets tried to play him in spots where he wasn’t comfortable, and he was reportedly outspoken about that behind closed doors. He’s speaking about it publicly, now.
“You know my opinion. In my opinion, I’m the best defensive lineman in the league,” Richardson said. “That’s my opinion. You can’t go draft a D-lineman and then ask him to play outside linebacker, middle linebacker all in the same season. It’s just don’t work like that.”
A former No. 13 overall pick, Richardson is just 26. His trade value is likely lowered by his two suspensions for off-field issues and the issues he had with one veteran teammate in the locker room last year, but his talent is undeniable. With defensive tackle Muhammad Wilkerson reportedly having trouble staying in shape, Richardson may be more valuable in New York than ever.
“Would I pay me?” Wilkerson said when asked about becoming a free agent after the season. “I’d pay me … I would (keep Leonard Williams, Wilkerson and him), because you can save money in other places with a stout defensive line.”
If the Jets want to completely blow up their roster, they’re already well on their way. That doesn’t mean they have to trade a player of Richardson’s caliber for the low price some have mentioned, and it sounds like they are not going to do that.
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