The Seattle Seahawks‘ terrifying defense just hit the upgrade button.
The Seahawks acquired defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson from the New York Jets in exchange for receiver Jermaine Kearse and a 2018 second-round pick, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport and NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo reported, per sources informed of the pact. The teams also swapped seventh-round selections in the deal.
With a lockdown secondary, rangy linebackers and relentless rushers off the edge, the Seahawks were already among the most devastating defenses in the NFL. If there was one minor weakness, it was on the interior of the defensive line, which lacked depth and a penetrating difference maker. The addition of Richardson fills the gap and then some.
The No. 13 overall pick in 2013 immediately splashed on the scene, winning Defensive Rookie of the Year. Richardson followed that up with a beastly eight-sack 2014 Pro Bowl season.
The last two seasons have seen the 26-year-old struggle in a sinking Jets locker room. He’s coming off a 1.5-sack 2016 campaign, during which New York had been looking for a trade partner since last October.
Set to make $8 million entering the final year of his rookie contract, Richardson will head to Seattle motivated to prove he’s one of the best interior pass rushers in the NFL before cashing in in 2018. It’s scary to think about the Seahawks defense when he, Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril join forces. Who gets double-teamed?
For the Jets, the trade ships out a player viewed as a locker room distraction and continues their offseason of jettisoning veteran starters. Gang Green’s defensive line remains the Jets‘ strength with Muhammad Wilkerson and Leonard Williams anchoring a team angling for the No. 1 overall pick in 2018.
Kearse, who signed a three-year, $13.5 million contract in 2016, moves from a deep receiver corps to one of the thinnest in the NFL.
The big news is the Seahawks fortifying a deep, talented defensive roster with a motivated player who can beat up opposing offensive lines. The rest of the NFC just got put on notice.