The Seattle Seahawks were able to trade for defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson on Friday. The Washington Redskins should have done more to try to acquire the talented player.
On Friday afternoon, a rare, blockbuster trade happened in the NFL. The Seattle Seahawks and the New York Jets agreed to a trade that sent talented defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson to Seattle in exchange for receiver Jermaine Kearse and a second round pick. The deal will make the Seahawks’ strong defensive line even better, and the team has to be ecstatic about the move.
Early in the offseason, the Washington Redskins were one of the teams that was showing interest in Richardson. This is sensible, given the fact that their defensive line was a big weakness for the team last year. The unit has looked better this offseason, but having Richardson in the fold would make it even stronger.
However, the Redskins were reportedly unwilling to take on Richardson at his full salary in a deal. That hang up was the reason that they were unable to complete the trade. That said, the decision to ask for a pay cut could be a regrettable one for the Redskins for a couple of reasons.
The first is that the Redskins still are lacking depth on the defensive line. While the team did add some quality pieces in the offseason, they didn’t get a proven game changer. Of all the acquisitions, rookie Jonathan Allen is the closest to being a star. He has performed very well in the preseason and looks like a three down starter at the five technique.
That said, the two major free agent acquisitions on the line for the Redskins have not panned out as well. Stacy McGee is currently the starter at the right end position, but it appears that he will be an early downs player who will focus on stuffing the run. Meanwhile, Terrell McClain has predictably struggled in Washington’s 3-4 alignment, as he doesn’t have a true position in this defense. He could end up being a backup, which is a waste because of the contract they are paying him.
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If Washington had Richardson on the line, the unit would look a lot different. Richardson would be a three down starter at one of the end positions, and it’s likely that Allen would have started opposite him. That would have been a fearsome duo for opposing offensive lines to deal with. Then, after the injury to Phil Taylor, McGee could have moved inside to start at nose tackle with Ziggy Hood being the primary backup at all positions. That would have been ideal for Jim Tomsula, but that will not happen now.
The other reason for regret is that the price to acquire Richardson was not altogether too much. Sure, second round picks are valuable, but the Seahawks just had to trade one and a decent starting receiver to get Richardson. Kearse is at best a No. 2 guy. The Redskins likely could have offered a second round pick and maybe another late round pick to interest the Jets.
Of course, they also would have had to clear some salary cap space to fit Richardson’s contract under the cap, but they could have managed that to bring in a top notch talent. In that situation, the candidates for pay cuts would have been Shawn Lauvao and DeAngelo Hall, who just took a second cut recently.