Sheldon Richardson Suspended

Jets star defensive end Sheldon Richardson has been suspended for four games due to a violation of the leagues substances abuse policy. Richardson will lose $310,353 in salary and forfeit another $334,823 in bonus money. That is a major financial loss for a player scheduled to earn just under $1.32 million for the season. Richardson will also lose the guarantee protection in his current contract.

The way that these suspensions work is that Richardson will be allowed to participate in training camp and the preseason and his suspension will go into effect following final cutdowns. At that point the Jets will see Richardson’s cap number reduce by $310,353. They will receive a full credit the following year for the forfeited signing bonus.

The suspension is an interesting one for the Jets who are currently in the midst of a contract dispute with defensive end Muhmmad Wilkerson.  Prior to this suspension one would assume that the Jets felt they had a great deal of leverage in talks with Wilkerson due to the presence of Richardson and top draft pick Leonard Williams. While I don’t believe a four game suspension changes that leverage (if anything it gives them more of a chance to see Williams play) the long term effects could change the thought process.

Once a player is involved in the suspension process the penalties begin to increase dramatically. While Richardson will say all the right things, the fact is the team has to worry about any future hiccups. Financially they are protected, but if they stand in the future to lose Richardson for more time, perhaps as much as a season, well then it makes more sense to take care of Wilkerson’s contract ASAP.

Jets head coach Todd Bowles recently dealt with a situation like that in Arizona with Daryl Washington who was signed to a lucrative contract extension and proceeded to be suspended multiple times, missing all of 2014. Players that could have been useful to the team were allowed to walk because of Washington’s presence. He probably doesnt want to see the same occur in New York if they can prevent it.

  • McGeorge

    I’m pretty bummed about it, not because of the loss this year, but because of the potential loss of 8,12,16 games in the future.
    I’m really disappointed in Richardson, especially when everyone knows they get tested.

    One of my office colleagues (a Patriot fan) was quite eager to share news of Richardson suspension with me. He said Richardson could hang out with Brady! LOL

    • mike jones

      They all know they get tested, but its not until a very late date, and apparently many of them push the date at which they stop partaking to edge. Some people get caught. It’s not a moral failing in my mind.

  • mike jones

    If I was a jets fan, I’d like it. A little more leverage.

  • Tyler Ferree

    I’m generally not particularly worried about the first instance especially considering Richardson has had no past subsance issues in college, at least that we know of, and he’s of an age mistakes like this are ultimately expected. If there is multiple instances of this, that is a different issue since at thag point it is a pattern of behavior.

    Gates (PEDs) and McClain(substance abuse for the millionth time) are more consering since Gates’ is in his mid 30s and was probably using then all last season to counter the drop off experienced in 2013 (think Bonds and Clemens) San Deigo can’t know what they really have, while McClain clearly has a problem.

    • eddiea

      In order to be suspended,he would’ve already failed 1-3 tests already. Meaning next fail equals 1 yr suspension. Whether he had problems in college have no bearing on NFL punishment. Basically, he and those like him are idiots b/c they know they can be tested at anytime but still used.

      • McGeorge

        What is the NFL policy on Marijuana ?
        Was it Pot, or something else?
        I thought it was not as harsh as you describe (full year suspension) for the next offense.

        In any case it was a terrible decision on his part.

        • eddiea

          Sorry,i forgot 8 games comes before full season,unless player intentionally misses/dilutes urinalysis. But like you said, it was a terrible decision on his part

        • RegisHawk

          Marijuana discipline: The punishment for a positive test is also changing. As is the case now, a first-time offense lands the player in the substance abuse program without a suspension. The primary difference is the punishment for a second positive test: simply a two-game fine. Each additional violation receives the following progressive discipline: four-game fine, four-game suspension, 10-game suspension. A player can therefore test positive for marijuana three times without getting suspended.

          By the look of this, he’s already gotten tagged 3 times, got put in the program, lost 2 game-checks, then lost 4 game-checks. This is Strike-4.