The Jets want to build through the draft and they had an immediate need to get better at wide receiver. They also have a talented defensive line that has intriguing depth, so Friday's blockbuster deal made sense on a number of levels.
"We felt it was kind of a good fit, good value for the trade," said GM Mike Maccagnan after his club acquired veteran WR Jermaine Kearse from Seattle in addition to the 'Hawks second and seventh-round draft picks next April in exchange for DL Sheldon Richardson and the Jets' Round 7 selection next spring. "We obviously acquired a future pick and we've always talked about building this thing through the draft, so that stays with our plan from that standpoint. We also picked up a good player from the receiver standpoint, which we'll add to our wide receiver room and help our young guys come along."
After losing Quincy Enunwa to a bulging disk in his neck, the Jets became an awfully young, inexperienced group at receiver. Robby Anderson had a good camp and rookies ArDarius Stewart and Chad Hansen have started to emerge, but neither has played a regular-season game. In Kearse, the Green & White immediately pick up a starting caliber receiver who has played on the biggest stage.
"When we lost Quincy, it was obviously unfortunate and we knew it was going to be tough with a young group of players. With Quincy — even though he wasn't a very old player — he was sort of the veteran of the group," Maccagnan said. "I wouldn't classify it or characterize it as our motivation for the trade."
The second-round pick is key for the Jets. Having a pair of second-rounders next April gives the team just another opportunity to gain an instant impact player in the draft. And while Richardson is an immense talent, there was no guarantee he was going to be here past 2017.
"Sheldon was in the option year of his contract. He was going to become a free agent at the end of the year. It allows us an opportunity to acquire some draft capital and a player we feel may bring an element to our team not only from a talent standpoint, but from a character and intangible standpoint into our receiver room," Maccagnan added of Kearse. "In reality, teams that have needs and surpluses kind of work well for potential trades."
In Richardson, Leonard Williams and Muhammad Wilkerson, the Jets had three Pro Bowl talents. But there were certain packages they were not going to used on the field at the same time. There is rotational depth up front with veteran Steve McLendon, who can play nose, leading the way. Williams is a budding star and the Jets hope Wilkerson can regain his 2015 form next fall.
While Kearse isn't a game-breaker, the Jets got a dependable player and the second-round pick in return. Some wondered if the Jets could get *only *a second-round pick if they opted to deal Richardson.
"When you make a decision, you do try to make them both short and long term," said the third-year general manager. "From that standpoint, we felt good about the potential trade to help us out in what we want to accomplish in terms of short and long term."
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