As the dust settles from the 2017 NFL Draft and the ridiculous, meaningless grades are handed out the New York Jets find themselves in an interesting position with two prominent players: Eric Decker and Sheldon Richardson.
Both players who were once considered building blocks for the team now could be on the trade/chopping block.
Let’s face it, New York Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan completely dropped the ball when he did not trade Sheldon last year prior to the trade deadline. The talented, yet underachieving defensive lineman was in the midst of a mediocre season on the field while raising questions off of it. Fast forward to 2017 and now Richardson is guaranteed over $8 million dollars in what could be a contract year.
The Jets reportedly shopped Sheldon throughout the draft but his current contract, future contract demands, and off the field concerns scared off suitors. At this point Richardson has all of the leverage as his financial demands can dictate where he wants to play.
So what is the next step for the Jets? Well, the team could pursue a trade for a conditional 2018 draft pick. Or the team could let Sheldon play out his contract and hope for a compensatory pick in 2019. And the remotest of options is finding a way to extend Richardson if he has a very productive 2017 season.
It is the belief of many that the departure of Sheldon would be a significant boost for the locker room and would free up reps for young emerging players on the defensive side of the ball. With that being said it appears the departure of Richardson should happen sooner rather than later, and sadly with depreciated return on the investment.
With the release of Brandon Marshall it is no secret that Eric Decker is the best wide receiver remaining on the Jets roster. But is he a good fit for the rebuilding New York Jets who have a plethora of young wideouts fighting for playing time?
Well, Decker is coming off of two significant injuries, has a salary cap hit of $8.75 million dollars, and is 30 years old. The first question is: when will Eric be fully healthy? The second question: if released can a player like Quincy Enunwa take over primary reps in the offense?
While answering these questions you also have to keep in mind the leadership and work ethic of Decker while in a locker room with the aforementioned young group of wide receivers. Decker could be an invaluable asset not only to the receiver room, but also to young quarterbacks Christian Hackenberg and Bryce Petty. Can you really put a price tag on this?
It is going to be fascinating to see how the Jets handle Eric Decker, a very respected player on and off the field. Decker could be a defining move/signal for the rebuilding efforts of Mike Maccagnan.