New York Jets: The Sheldon Richardson Trade Was About the Future
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - NOVEMBER 09: Defensive end Sheldon Richardson #91 of the New York Jets reacts in the first quarter against the Pittsburgh Steelers during a game at MetLife Stadium on November 9, 2014 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

In an offseason full of goodbyes, the New York Jets saved the best for last.

Friday, general manager Mike Maccagnan traded embattled defensive end Sheldon Richardson to the Seattle Seahawks for wide receiver Jermaine Kearse and a 2018 second-round pick.

Make no mistake about it, this was a home run for Gang Green’s front office. The trade accomplishes two main goals for the Jets: It adds two assets for next year and allows the defensive front to play in their natural positions.

Kearse is a Super Bowl-winning player, and that mentality alone will help in developing the abundance of youth at the wide receiver position. Kearse has averaged 43 receptions, 577 yards and two touchdowns a season over the past three years.

If Christian Hackenberg does break into the starting role, a player like Kearse could provide a safety blanket for the second-year player.

But it’s the second-round pick that’s the grand prize for Maccagnan. While many questioned Richardson’s value when it seemed apparent that a trade was needed, it didn’t look like any organization would pay the steep price of a pick in the first three rounds.

With the high draft pick, it will allow the Jets to gamble on yet another quarterback with their first-round pick. Depending on where the Jets fall in the draft order in what is sure to be a mediocre draft year, the Jets could have their pick of the litter which includes: Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen, Josh Allen and Mason Rudolph.

Moving Richardson marks the end of the “Sons of Anarchy.” After allowing Damon “Snacks” Harrison to leave in free agency and now trading Richardson, Muhammad Wilkerson remains the lone member.

Not all is doom and gloom though. Maccagnan found excellent value when Leonard Williams fell into the team’s lap during the 2015 NFL Draft. Williams was considered the best prospect in the draft when he was selected by the Jets with the sixth overall pick.

Richardson is a natural 3-4 defensive end. Problem is, Wilkerson and Williams are too. To get the three on the field, Richardson was forced to move to linebacker, which limited his explosiveness and ability to react to the snap.

Attitude may have also played a role in his departure, as there had been speculation of tardiness and negativity from Richardson and Wilkerson—something Brandon Marshall may attest to.

For as much of a headache can be, Richardson’s talent will be missed. He has won Rookie of the Year and has been selected to a Pro Bowl. Under better circumstances, Richardson probably would have grown into a player that the Jets faithful would have loved.

Instead, he’s now an afterthought for a rebuilding franchise.

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