The New York Jets' defensive linemen are adjusting to life without Sheldon Richardson after the franchise traded him to the Seattle Seahawks for wide receiver Jermaine Kearse, a 2018 second-round pick and swapped seventh-round picks.
Though Richardson was a former Pro Bowler, hesd coach Todd Bowles said the Jets' depth up front was a reason they could afford to trade the 26-year-old Richardson.
"That was our deepest position at the time," Bowles said, according to ESPN's Rich Cimini. "Obviously, we have three other guys that can play and we have [Mike] Pennel that can play and we have Claude [Pelon] that can play. You don't replace a guy like that, you just do different things."
The Jets enter the regular season with six defensive linemen: Muhammad Wilkerson, Leonard Williams, Pennel, Pelon, Steve McLendon and Kony Ealy.
"Whether a guy is traded, suspended, cut, hurt or anything else, you have to adjust," Bowles said. "As a coach, you have to be prepared to adjust, so it's no different."
Williams, the Jets' first-round pick in 2015 who made the Pro Bowl last year, said Richardson was a mentor to him, and Wilkerson, who signed a long-term extension with New York last year, said he will miss Richardson, with whom he was teammates since Richardson was drafted 13th overall in 2013.
"That's still my brother. That's still my friend," Wilkerson said, according to the New York Daily News' Daniel Popper. "I know he's going to do great things out in Seattle. There's nothing more for me to say about it. Of course I would like to have him here, but ... it's a business. There's nothing else nobody can say or do about it."
The Jets' defense ranked fourth in average yards per carry and 11th in rushing yards per game last year, and McLendon is confident the Jets' line can play well in 2017.
"I don't want to use any other team, but if you look around the league," McLendon told Popper, "some teams probably don't have as much talent as we have, but they're probably at times a little bit more disciplined. That's where we need to be at."