Now that it’s been revealed that Sheldon Richardson cannot be trusted, future plans for the New York Jets have been considerably altered.
By Robby Sabo
As NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced the name of USC defensive tackle Leonard Williams the No. 6 pick of the 2015 NFL Draft, a few things had been decided.
First and foremost, football fans around the country quickly realized these weren’t your father’s New York Jets. Instead of boasting an inept front office and leadership group who’d select the wrong guy while rationalizing it based on positional need, newly minted general manager Mike Maccagnan made the right pick, going with the most talented player.
Williams would join Muhammad Wilkerson, Damon Harrison and Sheldon Richardson in forming one of the scarier defensive fronts in all the land. However, with Todd Bowles’ 3-4 scheme coming from Arizona, it created a scenario where there’d be one too many guys.
None of these big-hogs can play the edge in sub-packages. Perhaps the only one who could possibly masquerade as an edge rusher would be Richardson, but having all four on the field at the same time would present itself very seldom.
Thus, the current contract dispute between Wilkerson and the Jets organization was currently being viewed as the excuse to move on without the 25-year old All-Pro stud after the 2015 season.
After all, Williams isn’t going anywhere and Richardson has shown immense ability during his first two seasons in the league (11.5 sacks). Furthermore, Richardson brought more of an athletic and speed element as opposed to Wilkerson that could be the perfect compliment to the USC beast known as Williams.
Naturally, it seemed destined that Big Mo would play elsewhere in 2016.
Then Richardson decided to make some noise in all the wrong ways.
If it wasn’t good enough that he got tagged with a four game suspension for a failed drug test (marijuana), he made the rounds earlier this week with his resisting arrest charge.
Rich Cimini of ESPN New York provided the very ugly details surrounding Richardson’s arrest:
A fully loaded semi-automatic weapon was found in the car, a 2014 Bentley, police said, and there was “a very strong odor of burned marijuana” emanating from the vehicle, the St. Charles County prosecuting attorney’s office said in a statement posted to its website. Richardson’s car was traveling as fast as 143 mph, according to the statement.
Not only does it effect the Jets from a football standpoint – as Goodell will surely come down hard on the youngster by way of heavy suspension – but Maccagnan and Bowles have to be seriously concerned with the man’s makeup as a human being.
Suddenly, Wilkerson now holds all the cards in this hotly contested contract negotiation.
At Jets training camp on Saturday, Maccagnan opened up to the media about his troubled defensive end.
“At this point in time, we’ll see how it progresses,” Maccagnan said Saturday. “It’s not about words right now, it’s about actions — not actions on the football field. It’s how he handles himself.”
“We do worry about Sheldon in terms of the decisions he has made off the field,” Maccagnan said. “There is a degree of trust that has been broken, but we’re supportive.”
Could we actually expect the rookie GM to be anything other than noncommittal at this point?
It’s simply impossible to say anything of the contrary. Failing a few drug test (based on the new, more relaxed stance on marijuana that came down last fall) is one thing. Driving recklessly while evading police with the scent of drugs and a 12-year old in the car is an entirely different case all together.
This incident occurred just a couple weeks after the four-game ban was handed down. Simply astonishing.
Granted, nobody should give up completely, but the kid simply cannot be trusted.
Maccagnan’s very solid and comfy plans for his studly defensive front has quickly turned into a point of contention. Wilkerson must be signed as soon as possible, with Richardson as the odd-man out.
Mo, of course, has reported to training camp and is in full participation. At the same, he’s also been on record as stating he doesn’t want to negotiate during the season. This puts Maccagnan fully on the spot at this very moment.
There’s a little over a month left until the 2015 NFL begins. Thanks to Sheldon Richardson, it’s now decision time for Mike Maccagnan.
Get Wilkerson signed as soon as possible. Sometimes, plans are reversed based on events fully out of your control.
If Big Mo doesn’t get signed by the end of August, the Jets Big-Three at defensive end might be down to one (Williams) in 2016.
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