The New York Jets have traded one of their best defensive players.
The Jets shipped former first-round pick and starting defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson to the Seattle Seahawks in exchange for wide receiver Jermaine Kearse and draft considerations, sources confirmed to ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Friday. The two teams also exchanged seventh-round picks for next year’s draft.
While the Jets have finally added another wide receiver, the move may have been more of an opportunity to free up $8.069 million in cap space with no dead money attached. Richardson enters the final year of his rookie contract and would have made that same amount on his fifth-year option salary, but was unlikely to re-sign with the Jets.
Richardson, a former Pro Bowler and NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, has had his share of legal issues having been suspended in both 2015 and 2016. In 2015, he served a four-game suspension for failing multiple marijuana tests. In 2016, he sat out one game following an arrest in a high-speed police chase.
Richardson has also had public spats with teammates including former Jets wide receiver Brandon Marshall, who he publicly criticized once again recently during a radio interview, which angered head coach Todd Bowles, according to NJ.com.
For Seattle, the move adds yet another former first-round pick in Richardson, who was selected by New York at No. 13 overall in 2013. The Seahawks also added former first-rounders Dion Jordan and Marcus Smith this offseason.