According to Rich Cimini who covers the New York Jets for ESPN, the Jets will "almost certainly" try to trade defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson over the next couple weeks.
Subtracting Sheldon Richardson would be addition for Jets' D-line https://t.co/zA325LFPj1— Rich Cimini (@RichCimini) February 27, 2017
The entire NFL world heads to Indianapolis this week for the 2017 NFL Scouting Combine, so the Jets will likely be shopping Richardson around to other NFL teams here soon. No trade can be officially completed until the start of new league year which begins at 4 p.m. ET on March 9th.
As we know, the Broncos kicked the tires on a potential Sheldon Richardson trade around the trade deadline this past season. ESPN's Rich Cimini reported the Cowboy's and Broncos contacted the Jets about Richardson, but the price tag ultimately ended up being too high. There was a rumor that the Jets wanted a first-round pick for Richardson, so I can understand why teams would not meet the Jets asking price.
So it makes sense that the Broncos may look to revisit those trade talks again this offseason when his trade value likely lowers. We already know the team is in the market for a 3-4 defensive end after they offered Earl Mitchell a three-year deal, but were outbid by the San Fransisco 49ers last week.
I'd expect the asking price to be a second or third round pick for Richardson. He's still only 26 years old and has been productive in his short NFL career. So I'd expect the Jets to try to get as much as possible for Richardson.
Richardson is a very talented player. He was selected 13th overall in the first-round of the 2013 NFL Draft by the New York Jets. He ended up winning the Defensive Rookie of the Year award that season and made the Pro Bowl in 2014. In four NFL seasons, Richardson has totaled 142 tackles, 18 sacks, 1 safety, 6 pass deflections, and 5 forced fumbles. So he has been a disruptive player during his career.
So he's young, productive, and talented, why are the Jets looking to trade him? First reason is that they don't really have a position for him right now. They re-signed Muhammad Wilkerson last season and drafted Leonard Williams early in the 2015 NFL Draft. The other reason is well, Richardson's off the field issues.
First, Richardson was suspended four games by the NFL for violating their drug policy. Then a few weeks later he was arrested for fleeing police and reaching a high speed of 143 MPH with his car. They also found a loaded gun under his seat, the car smelled of marijuana, and there were three other passengers in the car at the time, including a 12-year-old boy. Then this past year, Richardson went on his Snapchat prior to a game and well, had his mind on other things than the upcoming game(NSFW and such), and then got into a late season feud with teammate Brandon Marshall.
So while he is a very talented player, the off the field issues continue to pile up and there are no indications that they will stop anytime in the near future. So he's definitely high-risk acquisition for any team interested in him. The Broncos have a great culture and a locker room full of vets who can mentor Richardson, but is he worth the risk?
The Broncos have a need at that position with Derek Wolfe struggling with injuries last season, rookie Adam Gotsis not being ready and a lack of depth behind those two. So a player like Richardson would be a huge upgrade(if his head is screwed on straight) for the Broncos defensive line.
There are a few roadblocks in the way of a potential trade getting done. First, all those off the field red flags I mentioned above should lower his trade value. He is in the league's drug program and has a prior arrest on his record. So that could scare away a few teams. Also, he is entering the final year of his rookie contract and has a cap number a tad over eight million dollars this upcoming season. That's quite the price tag for a risky player and someone who could end up being a one-year rental for a team.
So what do you think Broncos Country? Should the Broncos revisit trade talks for Sheldon Richardson this offseason despite his multiple red flags? Or should the Broncos go in another direction to upgrade their defensive line this offseason?