New York Jets DE/LB Sheldon Richardson seems to believe that he can make more money playing LB. That’s not necessarily true.
There’s nothing more annoying in the game of football like trying to move a stud defensive lineman to an outside linebacker. There are countless examples of how these experiments have failed.
From Jason Taylor, Mario Williams, Julius Peppers, to even Sheldon Richardson, in almost every case the player is more dominant at the defensive line position. Richardson claimed that he thinks playing both positions is beneficial to him.
“I think it’ll give me more money, just to be honest. my film don’t lie.”
Well, Sheldon Richardson is right about one thing, his film doesn’t lie.
— Joe Caporoso (@JCaporoso) October 23, 2016
That’s a pretty good example of what Richardson can do as a down lineman. If you take a look at his best year, 2014, he had eight sacks, ll while playing with his hand down on the d-line.
Now, insert Todd Bowles and company and Sheldon is moved to OLB, or in the case of Arizona a couple of weeks ago, ILB. Last year he had five sacks, a drop-off from the year before. While this year he has 1.5 sacks and as you can see his one sack came from him on the d-line.
Sheldon Richardson is listed as 6’3 and 294 pounds. That’s pretty big for a linebacker. The other converted lineman to linebackers were much smaller in size, which is another factor as to why it doesn’t make much sense.
I can see if he thinks he’s going to get Von Miller like money, but he doesn’t put up that kind of production. Richardson is a much better player with his hand down, but it seems clear that he doesn’t see that and neither do the Jets.
The Jets invested in Muhammad Wilkerson, who is talented, but in my opinion not as talented a player as Richardson. Maybe Richardson’s off the field issues played a role in the decision, but it seems like he’s not in the plans for the future.
Ultimately, what it comes down to is playing the position your best fit for will get you the most money. If some team pays him big bucks to play OLB they are wasting their money, but if they plan to use him as a down lineman, they’ll get their money’s worth.