Sheldon Richardson in Trouble Again…

Jets defenisve end Sheldon Richardson, currently slated to begin a four game suspension for a drug violation in September, was arrested and recently charged for resisting arrest following being clocked driving 143 mph. Brian Costello was all over this one:

Richardson’s off the field decisions are now putting the Jets in a very difficut position regarding their future roster decisions and at this point the team is going to need to look long and hard at a player who promised just a short time ago there would be no more problems from him.I dont think there is any denying the ability of Richardson on the field. While I certainly play favorites with the Jets I dont think it is a stretch to say that he is the best 34 defensive end outside of JJ Watt in Houston. He is a monster on the field and can dominate the field of play. But with multiple slip ups related to marijuana and now this latest incident the team absolutely has to begin to question his reliability.

The Jets drafted a defensive end, Leonard Williams, with the 6th overall pick to seemingly replace Muhammad Wilkerson, another top defensive end in the NFL in a year when Wilkerson became a free agent. Wilkerson may be a more complete player than Richardson at this stage, but he isnt the physical talent that Richardson is nor what Williams projects to be. Wilkerson has reportedly been seeking a contract worth in excess of $14 million a season which the Jets, rightfully in my opinion, have not agreed to.

But for as good as Richardson may be, the Jets are in a position where Richardson should not be looked at in the same light as players like Daryl Washington and Josh Gordon, who can’t keep their off the field exploits from impacting their on the field availability. Richardson is already a marked man in the eyes of the NFL and a little slip up is going to cause significant suspension time.

Currently Richardson has two yers remaining on his contract and the Jets can pick up an injury guaranteed option year on him for 2017 after the season. However, if Richardson is suspended for a longer period of time following this arrest he risks his status as an unrestricted free agent in 2017. You need 6 weeks on an active roster for at least four seasons to qualify  for veteran free agency. If he does not get it this year he will be a RFA in 2017 and the Jets will have no reason to pick up the option. That would cost Richardson around $8 million in salary in 2017. So this could be a massive financial loss for him.

If I was the Jets I would be very concerned about his availability for the future. The team needs to look long and hard at his situation and decide if there is a future for him in New York. Because if there is not they should work on getting Wilkerson’s contract finalized before falling into a position where they are desperate to re-sign him with Richardson sitting on the sidelines. You look at mistakes teams have made and you dont want to make the one where you let one player walk away while keeping your fingers crossed that another one really, really, really means it this time when he says he wont get in more trouble.

As a fan it’s tough to see with Richardson. While he was never going to be the most popular player on the team, he was the team’s best draft pick since Darrelle Revis in 2007. You had dreams of the next generation of the “sack exchange” being on it’s way with Richardson as an unstoppable force. Now  I’d be prepared to move on without him.

I think at this point Id be worried enough about Richardson to where you are hoping to get to showcase him this year and turn around and hope to find a trade partner next season, especially if the organization was kept in the dark the last two weeks about this situation. Maybe thats the rash Jets fan in me talking and being extra pessimistic from years of heartbreak following this team, but the Jets are in a rare position where they clearly have a suitable player in Wilkerson to be a long term contributor and I’m not sure they can afford to lose him now.

  • McGeorge

    That Leonard Williams draft pick is longing better and better.
    Too bad this gives Wilkerson more leverage.

  • buk

    Jason with this new development you have to admit the Jets can no longer afford to play games with Mo Wilkerson’s contract.
    As bad as the most recent act by Sheldon was his failure to inform the Jets and his appearance on Michael Kay just yesterday stating he won’t be in the “news” again is proof of some deep rooted problems. Terrible judgement to be involved in an incident like this only weeks after receiving a 4 game suspension and not informing the jets and his media appearances yesterday suggest some serious denial issues.
    So for me this is exactly like a Josh Gordon situation because this incident and the probability of more failed drug tests will keep Sheldon off the field this entire year and possibly longer. Sheldon likely didn’t report the incident to the Jets because the Jets would likely have been required to report it to the NFL. If Sheldon’s car smelled of weed then most likely he was likely smoking it yet again. I’m sure he wanted as much time to try to get whatever he was using out of system and this incident will invite another drug test by the NFL since he is already in the drug testing program.
    So as a Jet fan i’m prepared for the worst because Sheldon has already admitted to several failed drug tests and failure to take a drug test which got him the 4yr ban in the first this. And this happened after the NFL relaxed it drug policy concerning weed. My guess Sheldon has had problems going back to college we don’t even know about.
    Mo Wilkerson is now the Jets best football player under 30 the Jets can count on period. You can’t count on Revis , Cromartie or Harris to be on the team or be high level players in 3 yrs and sadly you can throw Sheldon in that same boat. It’s time to stop talking about what Mo can’t do or that Sheldon has a higher ceiling because it matters how you conduct yourself. Geno may not even be on the team next year and at some point Ferguson and Mangold have to be cut or forced to take a paycut and that O-Line rebuilt. Leonard Williams is rookie, Coples is clearly going to have the chance to show whether he can finally step up this year, Snacks will be UFA next year, it’s time to lock up Mo because the Jets leverage just went out the window.

    • buk

      I forgot to add that in hindsight Sheldon not showing up for voluntary OTA and his moody behavior with the media last year is a red flag that his personal issues have already begun affecting his commitment to team and likely his preparation.

    • McGeorge

      I wouldn’t overpay Wilkerson just because of this. Ok, I’d over pay him a little, but not 14MM.

      Why can’t they can negotiate a team friendly deal with Richardson when the time comes?

      As a Jets fan I am very disappointed in him.
      The pot was dumb, since it was easily avoidable.

      But insane speeding with a 12 year old, drugs, and a gun,that’s plain out stupid.
      Its criminal. He could have killed someone.

  • Jim

    Hindsight is 20/20, but the Jets (Idziks) big mistake at this point, is not locking up Wilkerson at $10-11 m/y before the 3-4 DE market busted and the Jets had an ungodly amount of cap space.
    Now what do you do, 1) overpay 2) franchise, then overpay 3) franchise and trade, 4) let him go and collect end of 3rd rd comp pick ?

    Hoping Richardson situation doesn’t get worse, but things looked pretty bad for Marcel Dareus about this time last year and he’s kept himself out of the news since then. Here’s hoping…

    • buk

      Idzik’s was in negotiations to extend Harris and Wilkerson and got neither done and I fear we’ll have to overpay for both. If Jets don’t sign Mo now they will be forced to franchise him next year and he won’t sign tag or report like Dez or Houston until a new deal is done or he has to.
      Jim already highlighted in his post there are no good options. If Mo just has a Mo season and Sheldon misses the year he will incredible leverage against the Jets next offseason. Worse if Mo decides to holdout reg season games on the tag and the tag will give the jets very little flexibility with the cap especially with the way Revis contract is structured.
      Dareus may have calmed down but so far his actions have cost him a 1 game suspension. With that 12yr old in the car i’d be very surprised is the NFL did not hand down another suspension under personal conduct policy even before the legal part of the incident is resolved. If they don’t want Richardson on the field after the 4 game suspension he won’t be. As a fan, a child in that car at that speed demands a 4 game suspension if NFL security can confirm just that part occurred. He can’t play through that awaiting a plea deal in today’s NFL.
      As a Jet fan I think it best NFL and Jets come down hard on Sheldon for his sake and hope he gets suspended enough games to lose a year eligibility for free agency. As Jason said, Jets won’t need to pick up his option and can give him the hardball Mo treatment even if he does turn it around.