Sheldon Richardson would fit nicely with Arizona Cardinals

GLENDALE, AZ - OCTOBER 17: Running back David Johnson
GLENDALE, AZ - OCTOBER 17: Running back David Johnson /

The defensive lineman from the Big Apple would be an excellent addition to the Arizona Cardinals’ contingent of defenders

At the moment, Arizona Cardinals’ general manager Steve Keim appears to be satisfied with what the club’s defensive line has to offer. It’s an area of the squad that hasn’t really been addressed (aside from the re-signing of Frostee Rucker) during the current offseason. But a closer look reveals that maybe it should be.

One of the biggest losses of this year’s free agency period was suffered by the Cardinals. When defensive end Calais Campbell decided to flee the nest for the Jacksonville Jaguars, he took a wealth of production and experience with him. Possibly more than Keim and the rest of the front office care to admit.

There appears to be help available if Arizona wants it. The New York Jets have held a fire sale out on the East Coast, and it may not be over yet.

Reportedly, defensive end Sheldon Richardson is the latest Jets’ player that may be available for the right price. The 13th-overall pick of the 2013 Draft is coming off of the least productive campaign of his career, but maybe through no fault of his own.

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New York head coach Todd Bowles, the Cards’ former defensive coordinator, moved Richardson around like a chess piece in 2016. The 6’3″, 294 pounder appeared at 3-4 defensive end and nose tackle, 4-3 defensive end and tackle, middle and outside linebacker and even “roaming” linebacker last season. Not a recipe for success for any player in the NFL, no matter who it is.

The reason for Bowles playing a version of “musical chairs” with the now-26 year old was due to a surplus of talent on the Jets’ d-line. History indicates that Richardson appears most comfortable at 3-4 defensive end, which is where he’d play for the Cardinals. He tallied 66 tackles and eight sacks playing there in 2014, earning himself a trip to the Pro Bowl.

But, of course, there are sticking points. Richardson’s salary for ’17 being one of them. He’s scheduled to make just over $8 million in the final year of his rookie deal, and will be seeking an extension soon.

Compensation may also be an issue. The Jets aren’t looking to just give the talented Richardson away. They’ll obviously ask for a high pick or more in return for him, but Keim will obviously put a limit on what he’ll be willing to part with.

Losing a player of Campbell’s caliber has undoubtedly weakened defensive coordinator James Bettcher’s unit. Bringing Richardson to the desert certainly looks good on paper. Now, if only Keim can make it happen.