Newly-acquired wide receiver Jermaine Kearse said he feels he has a lot to prove after the Seattle Seahawks traded him to the Jets for defensive end Sheldon Richardson.
"I'm here to do whatever I can to help this team win games," Kearse told reporters on Monday. "... I got a chip on my shoulder and I have a lot of things to prove."
The Jets acquired Kearse, who is entering his sixth season in the league, on Friday when they dealt Richardson, a 26-year-old Pro Bowl defensive end entering the final year of his contract, to the Seahawks. The Jets also received Seattle's 2018 second-round pick, and the two teams agreed to swap seventh-round picks.
"It was a good move for both parties," head coach Todd Bowles said on Monday. "... We needed an extra wide receiver, we needed an extra pick and they got a good player."
The Jets had been looking to trade Richardson, whom the Jets drafted 13th overall in 2013, since last season reportedly due to maturity concerns. The NFL suspended Richardson four games in 2015 for violating the league's substance abuse policy, and suspended him one game in 2016 after he was arrested for driving 140 mph with a 12-year-old in a car. He also had taken verbal shots at former teammate Brandon Marshall since Week 3 of last season.
Richardson, who recorded 18 sacks, forced five fumbles and recovered three fumbles in 58 career games with the Jets, thanked the franchise in a farewell Instagram post.
"I will like to thank the Jets organization for everything you've done for me," wrote Richardson, who will earn $8.1 million in 2017 in the final year of his rookie contract. "It was my pleasure to give it my all for gang green but god has another plan for me so from my family to yours thank you again and god bless!!!"
Defensive end Leonard Williams, who was the sixth overall pick in 2015, said Richardson mentored him and was one of the key players who helped him get acclimated to the NFL.
"Coming in as a young player," Williams said, "Sheldon helped me out a lot. I'm gonna miss him. He's a great guy and a great player."
While Bowles said he was impressed with Kearse's veteran leadership and his ability to make big plays in key moments (he has six receiving touchdowns in 10 playoff games), he added he needs to get up to speed with the offense heading into Sunday's season-opener against the Buffalo Bills.
Kearse, who is in the second year of a three-year, $13.5 million deal, will earn $2.2 million this season and is slated to earn a base salary of $5 million next season. The 27-year-old receiver has recorded 153 receptions for 2,110 yards and 11 touchdowns in 69 regular-season games.