Jets defensive end Sheldon Richardson said he is committed to being with New York for the 2017 season amid trade rumors that have surrounded him over the past several months.
Richardson acknowledged he has heard the rumors and is open to the possibility that this season, his fifth since the Jets drafted him 13th overall in 2013, could be his last with New York.
"I'd be a fool not to be open to it," he said, according to Newsday's Bob Glauber. "I just want to go out there and have a great season. I can get my trade value to go up. I can get traded during the season. Might get a first-round, second-round pick. You never know."
However, Richardson said he has not asked to be traded and reiterated his dedication to the Jets.
"It's totally up to them," Richardson said. "I want to be here."
Even so, Richardson, who will earn $8 million this season after the Jets picked up his option, said he knows this season could be his last as a Jet given he is set to be a free agent at the end of the season.
"I'd like to do the longevity thing, but it's not likely in this day and age," Richardson said. "We'll see."
Teammate Leonard Williams said earlier in May that Richardson has not let trade rumors affect him, and Richardson said he would take a team-first mindset heading into a contract year.
"Just do your thing now," said Richardson, who recorded a career-low 1 1/2 sacks in 15 games. "Be a team guy. Whatever happens happens. We knew the time was going to come. That's just the way it rolls sometime. Other than that, these guys (in the locker room) know I love 'em til the death of me."
Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter
While it's perhaps not that common, the mid-season trade scenario is something I've been weighing up for a while. If the Jets were only getting low-ball offers in the trade market, then it makes sense to hang onto Richardson and see what happens. As he is entering a contract year, this may be his last chance to restore his value to a point where he can earn big bucks in his next contract, so he'll be motivated. The Jets can exploit that fact both in terms of the production they'll get from him for as long as he remains on the team and from his trade value potentially being re-ignited.
While the Jets still probably wouldn't get much more than a conditional pick, if they trade him to a contender that needs defensive reinforcements it could be the type of move to push a team over the hump. Perhaps if they could attach conditions to the acquiring team's postseason success, they'll make out quite well. Alternatively, if Richardson is truly rejuvenated, they could opt to retain him, leading to other possibilities such as a tag-and-trade or even an extension -- with Muhammad Wilkerson perhaps being moved instead. These seem unlikely right now, but it's good to see Richardson saying and doing the right things and hopefully that will lead to improved production from him.