Sheldon Richardson

NFC Notes: Zeke, Beasley, Seahawks

It’s been a roller coaster news cycle regarding Ezekiel Elliott‘s six-game suspension since the regular season started. Now in another twist, it appears that if the second-year running back’s suspension is officially handed down in December, the league will force him to sit out through the playoffs, reports Clarence Hill Jr. of the Star Telegram (Twitter link). This news adds another aspect to the ongoing legal feud in that if the team felt that Elliott was going to eventually serve his suspension, wouldn’t they rather him take it now rather than wait till playoff time? It’s an interesting question, and while the 22 year-old has repeatedly stated his intention to fight the league, the issue will remain a cloud over Jerry Jones‘ organization for the rest of the year. Elliott will be allowed to suit up for this Sunday’s game after the United States Court of Appeals granted him a stay earlier in the day.

  • In other Cowboys news, another pivotal member of the offense is set to play in Week 9 as well. Wide receiver Cole Beasley cleared his final step of concussion protocol today after taking the week trying to recover from his head slamming to the ground in last Sunday’s game versus Washington, according to Brandon George of Dallas News. Beasley stated that he didn’t really suffer any concussion symptoms throughout the week, but was definitely feeling the effects of the contact during the game. “It wasn’t crazy,” Beasley said. “It was just kind of some dizziness when I hit the ground and it only lasted for a little while. I was able to pass most of the concussion test stuff, but some of the stuff we did it started making me kind of nauseous and made feel like I was going to throw up and they held me out.”
  • The Seahawks are in a tough spot with injuries heading into this week’s contest against Washington. Apart from Earl Thomas potentially missing a few games, the team also may be without defensive starters Sheldon Richardson (oblique) and Bobby Wagner (hamstring) with both players being officially listed as questionable, according to Brady Anderson of ESPN.com. Anderson does report that safety Kam Chancellor will play in Week 9 after dealing with an ankle injury throughout the week. However, losing these three key defensive starters would greatly hurt a Seattle team that is riding a ton of positive momentum after winning their last four games.
  • Anderson also passes along that Seattle’s newest trade acquisition, tackle Duane Brown, is adjusting to his new team’s offense well because of his experience with the Seahawks zone-blocking scheme, according to head coach Pete Carroll. “He’s done exceptionally well,” Carroll said. “Like we said earlier, the carry-over that he had from six years being in the same system has really ensured that he can make this transition as fast as you possibly could make it.” Brown figures to be a major upgrade at left tackle ahead of the team’s former starter on the blind side, Rees Odhiambo, who ranks as the worst qualified tackle in the NFL according to Pro Football Focus.

West Notes: Ward, Donald, Hawks, Schofield

John Elway spoke with T.J. Ward‘s agent earlier this summer and informed him the team did not intend to sign the veteran safety to an extension, with the GM telling media (including Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post) a Ward re-up was not in the team’s plans “at that point of time.” The Broncos made Ward one of the highest-profile cuts of the roster-slashing weekend, but Jhabvala reports the team did not come to a decision on Ward until last week. The rise of second-year safeties Justin Simmons and Will Parks, along with Ward’s injury history, played a role in the departure.

Citing a lack of clarity during the process, Ward on Monday called the Broncos “completely unprofessional” regarding the separation. The divorce came with one season remaining on the 30-year-old defender’s four-year contract. The eighth-year safety will earn up to $5MM with the Buccaneers this season. Ward missed all of Denver’s preseason games with a hamstring injury and missed six games due to injury in three Broncos campaigns — two of which producing Pro Bowls. Mike Klis of 9News described the process as Simmons — a 2016 third-round pick who served as Denver’s third safety last season — Wally Pipp’ing Ward (Twitter link). Klis notes Elway gave Ward “every chance” to make this year’s team.

Here’s the latest from the West divisions, shifting to Seattle, which just made the biggest trade in a week full of them.

  • The injury to rookie Malik McDowell prompted the Seahawks to trade for Sheldon Richardson, Pete Carroll said, via the Seattle Times’ Bob Condotta (on Twitter). Currently on the NFI list, McDowell does not have a timetable for a return, Condotta adds (via Twitter). Carroll said the team could still look to add another defensive tackle (Twitter link, via Condotta).
  • Richardson will play the three-technique position in the Seahawks’ 4-3 scheme, the fifth-year defensive lineman said Monday (via Condotta, on Twitter). He will line up inside of Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril, giving the Seahawks one of the most talented defensive fronts in football. Richardson primarily played 3-4 defensive end with the Jets but also saw time at outside linebacker. He played 4-3 defensive tackle at the University of Missouri, though.
  • Aaron Donald remains a holdout as the Rams begin their Week 1 preparations, but Sean McVay won’t impose a deadline on how late the All-Pro defensive lineman can report to the team and still play Sunday, Alden Gonzalez of ESPN.com reports. Rams reps flew to Atlanta to meet with Donald, but the sides reportedly aren’t close to a deal. Gonzalez adds McVay nonetheless remains “optimistic” about a solution.
  • A two-position starter for the Broncos during the past two seasons, Michael Schofield attracted widespread interest on the waiver wire. The Chargers won out due to their position in the waiver hierarchy, but the Lions, Redskins, Vikings and Saints also put in claims on the fourth-year guard/tackle, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. A 2014 third-rounder, Schofield started for the Broncos at right tackle during their Super Bowl season and lined up at right guard throughout 2016. While Denver didn’t sport particularly effective O-lines during those seasons, Schofield clearly has believers out there.
  • Speaking of waivers, the Seahawks hoped they’d have a chance to stash wide receiver Kasen Williams on their practice squad, Carroll said (via Condotta, on Twitter), but the Browns swooped in with a claim. The Seahawks will move on without Williams and Jermaine Kearse, traded to the Jets in the Richardson deal. Paul Richardson and Tyler Lockett are now Seattle’s top complementary wideouts, and Lockett (per Condotta, on Twitter) is expected to play in Week 1 after breaking his fibula late last season.

Jets, Seahawks Swap Sheldon Richardson, Jermaine Kearse

The Seahawks have agreed to acquire defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson and a 2018 seventh-round pick from the Jets in exchange for wide receiver Jermaine Kearse, a 2018 second-round pick, and a 2018 seventh-round pick, per Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter links).Sheldon Richardson

The Jets and Seahawks had been discussing the concept of this deal for weeks, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. New York, of course, had been shopping Richardson for much longer than that. Seattle reportedly showed interest earlier this year, but it wanted Richardson to accept a paycut from his $8.069MM base salary. This time around, the Seahawks agreed to take on his full salary. The Seahawks were able to take the hit after reworking receiver Doug Baldwin‘s contract and shedding Kearse’s $2.2MM salary in the trade.

Richardson certainly has his warts, which may have contributed to a limited trade market. For one, he wasn’t all that effective last season, as Richardson managed only 1.5 sacks in 15 games (though he still graded out as the NFL’s No. 31 edge defender, per Pro Football Focus). Richardson also comes with off-field question marks, as he has a substance abuse suspension in his past, and has dealt with commitment and tardiness issues.

But, if healthy and motivated, the addition of Richardson would give the Seahawks arguably the best front seven in the NFL. Richardson, who can conceivably play either along the edge or on the interior, would join a Seattle defensive unit that also includes Michael Bennett, Frank Clark, Cliff Avril, Bobby Wagner, and K.J. Wright on the front end, and the vaunted Legion of Boom in the back end.Jermaine Kearse

The Jets, meanwhile, needed a wide receiver following a season-ending injury to Quincy Enunwa, and Kearse will add experience to a group that includes rookies ArDarius Stewart and Chad Hansen. Kearse, 27, posted 41 receptions for 510 yards a season ago, but Seattle has developed enough wideouts — including Paul Richardson, Tyler Lockett, and Kasen Williams — that Kearse wasn’t needed any longer. The Seahawks had been shopping him earlier this week, and the Browns were among the interested parties.

For a rebuilding club like New York, adding a veteran piece such as Kearse doesn’t make a ton of sense, so it’s possible the Jets took on Kearse simply to help offset Richardson’s salary. Gang Green won’t take on any dead money by trading Richardson, while Seattle will incur roughly $1.83MM in dead cap during the upcoming season as a result of dealing Kearse.

Gee Scott of ESPN Radio (on Twitter) first reported that Kearse had been traded to the Jets. 

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jets’ Richardson: Two Teams Wanted Pay Cut

The Jets have been looking to move Sheldon Richardson for some time, but they have been unable to find a suitable trade for the last year. Apparently, teams have been able to agree on trade compensation with Gang Green, but they also asked that the defensive lineman accept a pay cut. Richardson says the Seahawks and Redskins both wanted to acquire him, but they requested a pay slash that he was not willing to take. Sheldon Richardson (vertical)

It’s a business, bro,” Richardson told Manish Mehta of the Daily News. “There was one team that asked me to take a pay cut … and it was Seattle. And Washington too. There were a lot of offers. A lot of good offers. You’d be surprised.”

This year, Richardson is owed a fully-guaranteed $8.1MM salary, a price that’s a bit too rich for a player who has experienced off-the-field trouble and slipping production in recent years. Still, he’s immensely talented and, at his best, he’s among the best front seven players in the league. Seeing the potential in Richardson, the Seahawks and Redskins were probably willing to give up something decent in the way of draft compensation, but they wanted him at a more affordable rate.

Richardson had 62 total tackles and 1.5 sacks in 15 games last year. Richardson finished the year as Pro Football Focus’ No. 19 ranked edge defender, putting him in a three-way tie with Nick Perry of the Packers and Frank Clark of the Seahawks. His 81.6 overall score was a career low, weighed down by his weak 63.0 mark as a pass rusher.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC Rumors: Dolphins, Steelers, Jets

The Dolphins released cornerback Brent Grimes in March 2016, which his wife, Miko Grimes, took credit for at the time and again in an interview this week with Jack Dickey of SI.com. “People say I got him cut with my mouth,” said Miko Grimes. “Duh! That was the goal!” While Miko Grimes has taken to Twitter in the past to make anti-Semitic comments about Dolphins brass and attack quarterback Ryan Tannehill, her obnoxious behavior did not spur Brent Grimes’ release, reports Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. Rather, the Dolphins cut the now-Buccaneer “because of his size, his age, and the magnitude of his contract,” writes Florio, who adds that they first tried to trade him.

More from a couple other AFC cities:

  • If the Steelers and franchise-tagged running back Le’Veon Bell are going to reach a multiyear agreement by Monday’s 4 p.m. ET deadline, it probably won’t come until the 11th hour, according to Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. There hasn’t been any movement toward a deal Friday, per Fittipaldo, so it continues to look as if Bell will play the season for $12.12MM.
  • There could still be major changes to the Jets’ defensive line by Week 1, suggests Rich Cimini of ESPN.com. The Jets have shopped Sheldon Richardson in recent months, and if a team comes along this summer willing to trade a third-round pick for him, Gang Green should take it, opines Cimini. Steve McLendon, one of Richardson’s prominent line mates, also might not be a lock to remain a Jet into the regular season. New York would like to see second-year nose tackle Deon Simon emerge this summer, and if that happens, it may make McLendon expendable, notes Cimini.
  • Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said earlier this summer that receiver Martavis Bryant will have to “win back everybody’s trust” as he returns from a yearlong suspension. Bryant took exception to that, telling Dan Graziano of ESPN.com on Thursday that he and Roethlisberger “should have a man-to-man. Because some of the things he put out there about me, I kind of didn’t agree with how he did it.” Nevertheless, Bryant added that “everything’s great” between him and the QB at the moment.

AFC East Rumors: Patriots, Harris, Jets

The Patriots gave David Harris more money than the Jets were offering on a reduced deal, a source tells Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. Harris agreed to a two-year, $5MM deal with the Pats on Wednesday morning, giving the veteran linebacker a chance at winning his first ever Super Bowl.

Florio also hears that the terms of Harris’ deal were already agreed upon before he touched down in New England. The purpose of the Wednesday visit was to ensure that it was a good fit for both sides and it didn’t take long for everyone to feel comfortable about the union.

Here’s more from the AFC East:

  • There has been lots of speculation about the Jets tanking in 2017 to land a top quarterback in the 2018 draft, but don’t expect defensive end Sheldon Richardson to go along with that plan. “I mean, I don’t tank nothing,” Sheldon Richardson told Darryl Slater of NJ.com. “So that’s all opinions outside of this organization. We don’t come here — and we’re not going to go through training camp, and have 14-hour days — to go tank a season. I’ll be damned.” Richardson, 27 in November, is entering a contract year, so he has every reason to bust his behind this fall. He recently expressed interest in staying with Gang Green, but that feeling might not be mutual.
  • When the Patriots were exploring the idea of signing Damien Williams this offseason, the running back kept in contact with the Dolphins throughout the process, ESPN.com’s James Walker writes. Ultimately, the Pats signed Mike Gillislee instead, another restricted free agent running back from an AFC East rival. When things didn’t pan out with New England, Williams signed his one-year, $1.8MM tender, a deal that marks a significant pay bump from his 2016 salary. Williams says he’s excited to continue playing in Miami.
  • This year could mark a changing of the guard for the Jets at running back, USA Today’s Scott Pitoniak writes. Matt Forte, 32 in December, could wind up on the short end of a timeshare with Bilal Powell, a promising tailback entering his age-29 season. Beyond 2017, that could impact Forte’s future with the Jets. The veteran is under contract through 2018, but the Jets can cut him next offseason and save $3MM against just $1MM in dead money.

Sheldon Richardson Wants To Stay With Jets

Jets defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson is entering a contract year, meaning he could be a season away from potentially leaving a rebuilding outfit for a contender. But Richardson, who has been a Jet since they used a first-round pick on him in 2013, wants to stay where he is.

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“I got drafted here … me and New York got a little edge to us both,” Richardson told Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News. “I hate losing. They hate losing. I hate it. I hate it with a passion. But I want to turn it around here. That’s it for me, man. I started here. I want to finish here. That’s how I think about it. It ain’t in my power as far as that (happening) though.”

The problem for Richardson is that, while he’d like to continue with the Jets, the feeling might not be mutual. The Jets have tried to trade the twice-suspended Richardson since at least last season, when both the Broncos and Cowboys expressed interest in him. More recently, Gang Green offered the 26-year-old to the Buccaneers, Colts and Seahawks, but none bit on New York’s asking price. Now, the Jets – who look bound for the No. 1 pick in the 2018 draft and have two other high-profile D-linemen in Leonard Williams and Muhammad Wilkerson – remain “amenable” to moving Richardson, according to Mehta.

In the event Richardson stays put and doesn’t ink an extension, he’ll play 2017 for $8.069MM – his fifth-year option salary. Despite his past off-field troubles, including suspensions for substance abuse and personal conduct policy violations, Richardson would perhaps put himself in line for a substantial long-term payday by staying out of trouble and bouncing back from a somewhat disappointing 2016. Across 15 games and 14 starts, Richardson posted a career-low sack total (1.5, down from five in 2015 and eight in 2014), though he still ranked 31st among Pro Football Focus’ 109 qualified edge defenders.

Richardson isn’t going to stay in New York for less than he believes he’s worth, as he told Mehta: “Hometown discount? I’m from St. Louis. … There’s no team in St. Louis. Kansas City is close. But not them either.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

East Notes: Revis, Jets, Giants

The Cowboys have a fair amount of cap space, but they are reportedly uninterested in adding Darrelle Revis to their defensive backfield. That doesn’t mean, however, that certain Dallas players don’t want to see Revis in silver-and-blue in the fall. Star wideout Dez Bryant tweeted Revis yesterday afternoon, saying, “Dallas?…I promise you are going to love what we got going on around here..your attitude fits our culture…waiting…..” While the Cowboys are doubtlessly pleased to see that Bryant is happy in Dallas, Charean Williams of Pro Football Talk confirms the earlier report that the team is unlikely to sign Revis. The Cowboys signed Nolan Carroll and drafted three corners this offseason, and they have chosen to build through the draft in recent years rather than sign expensive free agents.

Now for more from the league’s east divisions:

  • Rich Cimini of ESPN.com has a number of Jets-related notes this morning, and he observes that, outside of this year’s No. 6 overall selection, Jamal Adams, the player who has really stood out in the team’s OTAs is fellow rookie safety Marcus Maye. Maye, a second-round choice, impressed the organization with his ability to digest the defense and limit his mental mistakes on the practice field, leading New York to believe it could have an excellent safety tandem on its hands.
  • Cimini also believes that the Jets are making a mistake by parting ways with Eric Decker. He says young quarterbacks like Christian Hackenberg and Bryce Petty need a reliable wide receiver to help their development, and without Decker, New York really does not have such a player. Cimini also says that, if Jeremy Maclin signs somewhere other than Baltimore, the Jets’ leverage in Decker trade talks with the Ravens would of course increase, though he does not expect the Jets to get anything higher than a late-round draft choice for Decker regardless of what happens with Maclin.
  • Cimini also notes that there is “nothing cooking” on the Sheldon Richardson trade front, and that the Jets are prepared to go into the season with him and are hoping he can boost his value in advance of the trade deadline.
  • We have heard a lot about a potential long-term deal for Giants receiver Odell Beckham lately, but James Kratch of NJ.com, like many other writers, believes the most likely outcome is that OBJ plays out the 2017 season on his modest $1.8MM salary and that the two sides begin discussing a multi-year extension after the season.
  • In the same piece, Kratch says the Giants really like second-year kicker Aldrick Rosas, who has been exceedingly impressive in offseason practices, and that it is unlikely Big Blue adds a veteran kicker at this point.
  • Eagles rookie Nate Gerry‘s conversion to linebacker is going well, as Dave Zangaro of CSNPhilly.com writes. The Nebraska product has put on about 16 pounds over the past month in his effort to go from hard-hitting collegiate safety to professional linebacker, and he will have the opportunity to get significant playing time in an unsettled linebacker unit in Philadelphia.

Jets Shopped Sheldon Richardson To Bucs, Colts, Seahawks

The Jets are still attempting to shop defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson, and though they’ve offered him to clubs such as the Buccaneers, Colts, and Seahawks, Gang Green has yet to find a taker, reports Rich Cimini of ESPN.com.Sheldon Richardson (vertical)

New York has been accepting offers for Richardson since at least the 2016 trade deadline, when both the Broncos and Cowboys expressed interest in the 26-year-old. Last month, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com suggested that while the Jets want to move Richardson, they won’t simply give him away. The likelihood of a trade could be around 50/50, as Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News recently reported New York’s price for its talented pass rusher has dropped.

Richardson certainly has his warts, which could contribute to a limited trade market. For one, he wasn’t all that effective last season, as Richardson managed only 1.5 sacks in 15 games (though he still graded out as the NFL’s No. 31 edge defender, per Pro Football Focus). Richardson also comes with off-field question marks, as he has a substance abuse suspension in his past, and has dealt with commitment and tardiness issues.

Additionally, Richardson is only under contract for one more season. In 2017, Richardson will earn $8.069MM under the terms of his fifth-year option before becoming an unrestricted free agent in 2018.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

“50-50 Chance” Jets Trade Sheldon Richardson

The Jets were trying to trade Sheldon Richardson during the draft, and now that the draft is over, they are still trying to move the big defensive lineman. Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News reports that New York had conversations with several teams over the past couple of days about a potential trade, and that the Redskins were one of those teams (the Cowboys also expressed some interest in Richardson before last year’s trade deadline).

Sheldon Richardon (vertical)

Of course, the Jets have been trying to deal Richardson for some time, but one of the major roadblocks to a trade is Richardson’s salary. He is owed a a fully-guaranteed $8.1MM this season, and no one wants to absorb that hit for a player who, for all his promise, has seen his production slip over the past two seasons and who has two separate suspensions to his name. Mehta says that, if Richardson were amenable to a pay cut, he would have been traded during the draft.

Nonetheless, one of Mehta’s sources said that there is a “50-50” chance that Richardson is traded over the coming months, and Mehta reports that the team’s asking price has dropped. After all, the Jets don’t have a ton of leverage, as rival clubs know that New York has already committed major dollars to Muhammad Wilkerson and has a rising star in Leonard Williams at the other bookend, so keeping Richardson long-term isn’t really viable.

Whether or not the asking price has dropped enough for another team to pull the trigger is unclear, but a change of scenery is clearly best for both Richardson and the Jets. Even though Richardson does not have a great deal of incentive to accept a pay cut at this point, perhaps he will concede to enough of a reduction to force someone to take on the former Defensive Rookie of the Year.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.