Sheldon Richardson will put the Seahawks over the top

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 27: Sheldon Richardson
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 27: Sheldon Richardson /

The Seahawks trade of Jermaine Kearse for Sheldon Richardson wasn’t just a big move. It was a bold move, and makes them the favorite in the NFC.

The Seahawks will reap the benefits of this trade far more than the Jets. Sheldon Richardson was an absolute beast for New York in 2014. A Pro Bowl interior lineman with eight sacks, Richardson showed every sign of becoming an Ndamukong Suh type of player – without the random stomping of opponents. He missed some games in 2015, but still tallied five sacks. That’s half a sack per game, exactly what he had the year before. In 2016 he tailed off quite a bit. His motivation was called into question. The Jets were highly motivated themselves to move Richardson.

When a team is that eager to move a player, you often have to take a second look at the situation. You may wonder, ‘If he’s so good, why are they trading him?” It’s like the reverse of the old Groucho Marx joke, I don’t care to belong to any club that will have me as a member. Google Groucho Marx, you’ll thank me.

So what was the issue with Richardson, and why would the Seahawks want him with all his “baggage”?

More from 12th Man Rising

Think of your job – then think of the Jets

If you’ve been in the workforce for any amount of time, you’ve had a job that was less than great. You remember the place, and you remember the environment. “If you’re five minutes early, you’re late. Your thanks for a good job is your paycheck. There are ten people waiting to take your place, if you don’t like it, there’s the door.” Now none of those were ever said to me, because I am an awesome employee. But you get the idea.

That environment is not too far from the New York Jets. Richardson’s “baggage” was that he was tired of working for an organization with little direction. Not to pile on the Jets, but just look at what’s gone on with them in the past couple of years. I have an excellent friend who is a life-long Jets fan, and even he’s had enough. Right, Ted?

Football players aren’t robots that play according to their payscale. Regardless of their paychecks, they’re people just like you and me that are motivated by great management and great coworkers. Richardson didn’t have that with the Jets. Seriously, how motivated would you be to work for them?

Related Story: More on the details of the trade

Seahawks have the right environment

Compare that type of environment to the Seahawks. Richardson was asked what he liked about the move to the Seahawks on 710 ESPN Seattle:

"“Everything about it; just watching those guys on film get after it, I feel like I can fit right in with that. Other than that, just competing. The effort they give on every play, play-in and play-out, you can’t find that too often in the league like that.”"

With the addition of Richardson, defensive coordinator Kris Richard can line him up next to Michael Bennett with Frank Clark and Cliff Avril on the ends. I’m not quite sure how you run against that unit, or how you have time to pass, either. The Seahawks were already one of the top defenses in the league, and they just added to that strength. I fully expect Richardson to return to his Pro Bowl form of 2015. And when he does, he could still be the fourth-best player on that line.

When the Seahawks first made the deal, I wished they had been able to get a solid offensive lineman instead. But for now it looks like Rees Odhiambo will do the job at left tackle. And as our own Lee Vowell said on the most recent 12thmanrising podcast, the move of Jermaine Kearse should actually help Russell Wilson. Just listen, it makes total sense.

Back on topic. Surrounded and supported by the team Richardson said was “stacked”, he’ll be a key piece in the Seahawks drive back to the title game.