BY Art Thiel 03:31PM 09/01/2017

Seahawks deal Kearse to Jets for D-lineman

The Seahawks made a bold move Friday, trading WR Jermaine Kearse and a No. 2 draft pick to the Jets for DT Sheldon Richardson, equal parts talent and baggage.

Jermaine Kearse was part of numerous large moments with the Seahawks. / Drew Sellers, Sportspress Northwest

The Seahawks Friday traded popular local (Lakes High School/University of Washington) guy Jermaine Kearse to the New York Jets for DL Sheldon Richardson, who apparently has been targeted since not long after top draftee Malik McDowell crashed his ATV and knocked himself out of his rookie season.

The Seahawks also sent second-  and seventh-round choices to the Jets, and the Jets sent a seventh-rounder to Seattle with Richardson. The deal was first reported by ESPN.

Kearse, a favorite target of QB Russell Wilson but coming off a down year, caught 153 passes for 2,110 yards and 11 touchdowns in his five seasons with the Seahawks after arriving as an undrafted free agent from the Huskies.

He had a knack for the memorable moment, including the game-winning catch in overtime of the 2014 NFC Championship to beat Green Bay, and a spectacular, rolling dive reception in the Super Bowl against New England that set up the Seahawks inside the five-yard line inside two minutes.

Perhaps most dramatic of all was a catch late in the 2013 NFC Championship against San Francisco, when Wilson’s 35-yard pass on fourth and eight went to Kearse for a touchdown that put the Seahawks up for good.

But the Seahawks seem to have a surplus of talent at the wide receiver spot, presuming that Tyler Lockett and Paul Richardson remain healthy behind Baldwin. Another ex-Husky, Kasen Williams, has had a great preseason, and the coaches are high on the upside of rookie third-rounder Amara Darboh of Michigan.

Also, Kearse’s 2018 contract is sizable enough that he was considered unlikely to remain a Seahawk beyond this season.

Meanwhile, Richardson fills the off-season aspiration to restore the defensive line depth that was an integral part of the success of the 2013 that won the Super Bowl.

McDowell was taken with the 35th pick in April’s draft for that purpose. But when he was injured in a still-unexplained accident involving an ATV earlier in the summer, the Seahawks’ plans to rotate McDowell with Michael Bennett, Cliff Avril and Frank Clark to keep pass=rushing legs fresher in the fourth quarter went awry.

The return of McDowell, who spent only a couple of days in Seattle getting examined before going home to heal, is still unknown.

Richardson’s talent, however, is well known —  as is his ability to mess up off the field.

Richardson, 26, was the 13th pick in the first round of the 2013 draft from the University of Missouri, where he was a teammate of C Justin Britt for a year. A junior college transfer, Richardson played a single season under coach Gary Pinkel before declaring for the draft.

He was named NFL defensive rookie of year in 2013, becoming a four-year starter.

In the spring, the Jets picked up his fifth-year contract option for $8 million. Before taking on that salary, the Seahawks Friday converted most of WR Doug Baldwin’s base salary of $7.75 million to a signing bonus, freeing up $5.2 million under the salary cap for 2017.

Richardson, who is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent after the season, brings baggage.

He was suspended for the first four games of the 2015 season for testing positive for marijuana. On July 14, 2015, not long after receiving his suspension, Richardson made national headlines when he was arrested in Missouri after police said he drove his car in excess of 140 mph attempting to evade them.

Two adults and a 12-year-old were in the car with him, and police reported the smell of marijuana in the car. A loaded handgun was found beneath the driver’s seat.

In January 2016, he was found guilty of reckless driving and resisting arrest, fined, received two years of probation and ordered into 100 hours of community service. Prosecutors declined to press drug or child-endangerment charges, and Richardson was found to be in proper possession of the firearm.

For the episode, the NFL suspended Richardson for the first game of the 2016 season.

Richardson made more headlines earlier this month when he went on ESPN radio in New York and ripped former Jets teammate WR Brandon Marshall, part of a feud that began the previous season and disrupted the locker room of the Jets, who finished 5-11.

“That man what he did to the locker room,” Richardson said on the Michael Kay Show. “I was the one who addressed it, and I would still address it to this day. If he can’t come out (in the) media and tell them what he did and how he actually quit on his team way before the season was over, that’s all in itself.”

After Marshall signed in free agency with the Giants, Richardson said he had “15 reasons”  the locker room is better. Marshall wore No. 15.

“That whole situation was sticky because we were losing, and then you’re doing little things that are drama queen-ish, and he’s dogging out this guy and that guy,” Richardson said. “It’s everybody’s fault except for his. . . . No one wanted to say something to him. Then I say something to him — the criminal, the bad guy — and the media just ran with it.”

Rubin reportedly on trading block

Because of the Richardson acquisition, the Seahawks are seeking to move DT Ahtyba Rubin, perhaps to the Broncos, according to the NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

 

Rubin, 31, joined the Seahawks as a free agent before the 2015 season. He had 36 tackles, two sacks and was fourth among Seattle’s defensive linemen in snaps. He re-upped in 2016 with three-year deal worth up to $12 million. Last year he had 39 tackles, a sack and three forced fumbles.


YourThoughts

  • “He was suspended for the first four games of the 2015 season for testing positive for marijuana. On July 14, 2015, not long after receiving his suspension, Richardson made national headlines when he was arrested in Missouri after police said he drove his car in excess of 140 mph attempting to evade them. Two adults and a 12-year-old were in the car with him.” But hey, he probably stands during the National Anthem.

    • art thiel

      No word yet whether he laundered money through Russian oligarchs,

      • Nor has he been accused of beating or raping women, it seems.

    • jafabian

      Weed is legal here so it’s all okay.

    • roger_lococco

      But hey, he probably stands during the National Anthem.

      So you’re saying we can only boycott the Seahawks and the NFL for one reason? Or can we silently protest against them for all their misdeeds?

      • art thiel

        I think you should stay away from the NFL entirely, because teams are filled with players not up to your standards.

  • jafabian

    Man, it’s hard to see Jermaine leave. Local kid done good. Complete beast in the playoffs. But there’s a logjam at WR and Chuck Knox always said that football games are won in the trenches. Can’t go wrong with a lineman. Especially a Pro Bowler. With all the transactions that Schneider had been doing since the end of last season up to today the club is definitely going for it. They’re not just standing pat.

    • art thiel

      Richardson’s role: Get Aaron Rodgers.

  • wabubba67

    Love the trade….but keep Rubin!

    • art thiel

      Too late. Richardon made Rubin, 31, expendable.

  • ll9956

    Like others, I’m sorry to see Kearse go. It just emphasizes that in the NFL, these decisions are pure hard-boiled business.

    One thing I’m curious about is why NFL reporters like Ian Rapoport and ESPN reporters ALWAYS seem to know about trades and other info before the local sportswriter community. The source of the info has to be the Seahawks. Why don’t they first tell the local guys–like Art and others?

    • art thiel

      Agents are the sources for most tips, and they and their clients want the widest profile for their developments. NFL.com and ESPN.com are national platforms and the house organists for the league. The NFL and its digital outlets including ESPN seek to marginalize independent media, hoping to train young consumers to rely on the house organists for the music.

  • Matt712

    This is a great move! I don’t feel bad for Kearse; he has done quite well for himself and is an upgrade at receiver for NY. Here, he was at his ceiling where, this preseason, we’ve seen others reach his level of play with room to grow, and for less money.
    On the other side of the trade, Richardson lands in a winning atmosphere for perhaps the first time in his career. He’s gonna be tough to retain after this season, but hopefully McDowell will be back and healthy.

    As for the Brock trade, Schneider was smart to stockpile DBs in a league that’s hungry for them. Good trade bait. But the D Elliott injury hurt us. That said, I’d like to see Desir make it through. I thought he had a really good camp and seemed to get better with each preseason game.

    • art thiel

      Kearse has had a far better career than any of us imagined watching him at Washington. He’s a walking ad for Lasik surgery.

      The degree of Coleman’s fit without a camp here will be a major test for Kris Richard.

  • tor5

    Like others, I’m sure gonna miss Kearse. I understand how logic dictated this move, but the cool thing about Kearse is that he was kind of an illogical player — not spectacular until you needed a miracle, then he’s the guy! In fact, his whole career is kind of a miracle. He’ll always be a Hawk to me, and I’ll continue to root for him.

    • Ken S.

      You said what was on my mind when I heard about this trade. Had there been no #18/Williams Kearse probably would still be in Seattle. I wish him well. I watched his career from the first catch he made as a Dawg.

      As for Richardson – lets hope he has seen the error of his ways. Looks like this could be a big help on the d-line. You can never have too many sack-masters!

      • art thiel

        Looks like Wiliams’ rise wasn’t a reason for moving Kearse.

        Richardson really loads up the D-front, which is critical right from the first game in Green Bay.

    • art thiel

      Years from now Kearse will occupy a unique niche in Seahawks history — the average player with a knack for the spotlight moment.