When the New York Jets traded defensive end Sheldon Richardson to the Seattle Seahawks the move was met with its fair share of criticism and praise.
Getting back wide receiver Jermaine Kearse addresses a need on the depth chart and in the locker room. Kearse brings experience to a young receiver corps. This is huge for a team in the midst of a major rebuild.
The Jets managed to get a 2018 second-round pick from Seattle as well, the teams also swapped seventh-round picks.
While acquiring Kearse for the present, the additional draft picks are for the future. Both, however, are in line with the Jets commitment to improving their team chemistry.
Make no mistake about it, the Richardson trade has as much to do with changing the team’s chemistry for the better as it does anything else involved.
Richardson was the 13th pick in the 2013 NFL draft and went on to win Defensive Rookie of the Year. He followed that up a year later by making the Pro Bowl. The last couple of seasons, however, were a struggle for him.
While the Jets began to fall apart on the field, Richardson’s production fell off as well. His reported locker room issues also didn’t help his case for having a future with the team.
Forget about equal value, the Jets weren’t going to get that for Richardson. He’s too good of a talent, only 26 years old, and he’s in a contract year.
Richardson’s talent makes trading him a risky move but the Jets have proven already they’re determined to stay with their rebuild. Veterans Brandon Marshall, Calvin Pryor, and Darrelle Revis were all shown the door in the offseason.
Besides declining production, these players all had one thing in common last season — they made headlines for all the wrong reasons. With the team now in a much-needed youth movement, it’s crucial to have the right voices in the locker room and on the sidelines.
The case can be made for not giving up on a player with Richardson’s type of skills set. But you do have to take chances along the way in order to make sure your vision comes to fruition. The Jets are no different.
While they may not have received equal value for Richardson, they did get back future chips to cash-in through the draft.
Arguably more important they also doubled-down on their goal of making sure the atmosphere is as positive as it can for what’s expected to be a very long season.
There’s pros and cons to every major decision, then there’s time to do what’s in the best interest of all involved. The Jets decided they were ready to move on, then went about the business of getting back something better than nothing.