In a massive coup prior to upcoming roster cuts on Saturday, the Seattle Seahawks have acquired defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson from the New York Jets in exchange for wide receiver Jermaine Kearse and draft pick compensation.
A source confirmed the deal to KJR on Friday afternoon.
The Seahawks will reportedly send their 2018 second-round draft pick to the Jets along with Kearse to acquire Richardson. The teams will also swap seventh-round picks to complete the deal.
Richardson was a Pro Bowl selection in 2014 when he recorded eight sacks as an 3-4 pass rusher with the Jets. While Richardson was an end with the Jets, he'll likely slot in as a defensive tackle with Seattle.
Richardson appeared in 58 games with the Jets over the last four season after being selected with the 13th overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft. Richardson is set to make just over $8 million after the Jets exercised their fifth-year option on his contract. He will be a free agent after this season.
The addition of Richardson always compensates for the loss of second-round pick Malik McDowell after an ATV accident in July. McDowell could miss the entire season while recovering from his injuries.
Kearse has produced some of the most significant catches in franchise history. Kearse caught the go-ahead touchdowns in both NFC Championship victories against San Francisco and Green Bay. He caught a touchdown in Super Bowl XLVIII, bouncing off multiple Denver defenders in the process, and his juggling catch over Malcolm Butler in Super Bowl XLIX gave Seattle a chance to win the game in the final minute.
However, he is coming off a somewhat disappointing season. Kearse caught 41 passes for 510 yards and just one touchdown last year and was frequently flagged for offensive pass interference penalties.
With Seattle's depth at receiver, Kearse became expendable. That they also managed to get Richardson in a deal for Kearse is a home run.
A report from ESPN Friday morning said the Seahawks had restructured the contract of wide receiver Doug Baldwin, which created $5.2 million in additional salary cap space for the 2017 season. Pushing cap costs into the future like that is something the Seahawks have not done in the John Schneider era. They did not need to do such a deal to make sure they have enough cap space for the start of the season, so it was a pretty clear indication they had an intention of filling that cap space with something of note.
Richardson fits the bill.
Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network is also reporting that with Richardson in the fold, the Seahawks will look to deal Ahtyba Rubin as well with the Denver Broncos being a likely destination.
Additionally, the Seahawks acquired cornerback Justin Coleman from the New England Patriots in exchange for a 2018 seventh-round draft pick. Seattle acquired the pick in a swap with the Philadelphia Eagles two weeks ago that brought Matt Tobin to Seattle. The Seahawks sent a fifth-round pick to the Eagles to complete that trade.
Coleman spent two days on Seattle's practice squad in 2015 before the Patriots re-signed him to their active roster.
Photo Credit: EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 27: Sheldon Richardson #91 of the New York Jets sacks Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots during their game at MetLife Stadium on December 27, 2015 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)