Sheldon Richardson will return. But to the Seahawks or the Jets?

Sheldon Richardson will be a key piece for a defense looking to rebound from an off year. But will that team be the Seahawks or the Jets?

Sheldon Richardson is yet another Seahawks free agent that has Seattle working overtime on the number cruncher machine. I guess that would be a computer, actually. Before we go off into crunch mode, let’s discuss exactly where Mr. Richardson would like to go.

According to an article in the New York Daily News back in December, the Jets want Richardson back, and he’s eager to make it happen. As Manish Mehta reported,

The Jets aren’t the only ones who want a reunion, according to team and league sources. My understanding is that Richardson, who is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent after this season, would love to return to the team that drafted him, too.

You’ll notice those sources aren’t named, or even directly quoted. Mr. Mehta makes several good points in his piece. If they can get Richardson back, they’ll have picked up a decent receiver (Jermaine Kearse) and a second round pick for basically leasing Richardson to the Seahawks for one year. The Jets would look pretty smart if they can pull this off.

There does appear to be one problem with the Daily News piece. Sports Radio KYR reporter Curtis Crabtree does have a named source for his story.

Not, “sources say”…the only source that really counts, Sheldon Richardson himself. I tend to trust a story that quotes the player more than unnamed sources. Listen, I’ve got sources that say Johnny Manziel will rejoin the Browns and take them to the Super Bowl. I think they left out the part that it would be as a guest lecturer, and he’d be buying the tickets. But a story’s a story, right?

Should the Seahawks bring Richardson back?

Now that we’ve discussed where Mr. Richardson may go, should the Seahawks try to re-sign him? According to Pro Football Focus, he graded as Seattle’s best down lineman, at 83.8. Remember, Michael Bennett graded at 80.6. Just for kicks, I should mention Dion Jordan graded out at 83.6. That’s just over five games, of course.

So, back to Sheldon Richardson. Even for an interior lineman, one sack doesn’t exactly set the world on fire. On the other hand, Pete Carroll is a big fan. After Richardson played a major role (yeah, that sweet strip of Carson Wentz) in the Seahawks win over the eventual NFL champion Philadelphia Eagles, Carroll had this to say, as reported by Lindsey Wisniewki for the Seahawks Wire:

 “He has really good awareness and savvy and all of that…[and] has been a great facilitator for other guys’ sacks,” Carroll said. “He has been close, causes the problems and other guys make the sack. We see the value there. I think he is really a good player, so that only makes Bobby more effective. It just helps him. He holds the line of scrimmage well… is a good reader…he takes care of his gaps and responsibilities and stuff and that allows Bobby to play fast and KJ too.”

Yes, there really are guys that play bigger than their stat line. Richardson is definitely one of those players. And let’s remember this, too. Richardson is just 27 years old. Eventually, it will all come down to money, as it almost always does with free agents. The range Richardson is expected to get is all over the map. Spotrac projects him to get a little over $12 million per year for four years. But anticipates he’ll just get a one year deal for no more than $9 million.

The final piece of the puzzle? According to Spotrac, the Seahawks have just over $13 million in cap space. The New York Jets have a bit over $79 million. That much extra cash can change a man’s favorite team pretty quickly.

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