MAY 2: The Jets have officially exercised their 2017 option on Richardson, per Mehta (Twitter link). However, as Brian Costello of the New York Post tweets, the club won’t be picking up cornerback Dee Milliner‘s option, so he’ll be eligible for unrestricted free agency next year.
APRIL 18: The Jets will exercise their fifth-year option on defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson in advance of next month’s deadline, writes Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News. The decision comes as no surprise, since Richardson has been one of the Jets’ best defensive players since entering the NFL in 2013, and his option salary won’t be fully guaranteed right away.
As Joel Corry of CBSSports.com tweets, Richardson’s fifth-year option for 2017 will be worth $8.069MM. That figure is guaranteed for injury only until the first day of the 2017 league year next March, at which point it becomes fully guaranteed as long as Richardson remains under contract.
Richardson, who served a four-game suspension at the start of the 2015 season for violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy, was his usual effective self upon returning, picking up five sacks and forcing a couple fumbles. Pro Football Focus, which classified him as an edge defender, ranked him 30th out of 110 qualified players in the group.
Despite the fact that the Jets used their franchise tag on Muhammad Wilkerson this offseason, the team is believed to prefer Richardson in the long term, as long as he can stay out of trouble off the field. The Wilkerson situation will be interesting to monitor — if he’s traded or even just doesn’t sign a multiyear deal with the Jets, it probably increases the chances of the club eventually working out a long-term deal with Richardson instead.
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