Don’t tell Jets defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson the team is tanking this season.
“Tanking for what?” Richardson responded when asked about it by NJ.com.
Told that some think the Jets are tanking this year so that they can draft a franchise quarterback first overall next year, Richardson scoffed.
“Whatever,” Richardson said. “I mean, I don’t tank nothing. So that’s all opinions outside of this organization. We don’t come here — and we’re not going to go through training camp, and have 14-hour days — to go tank a season. I’ll be damned.”
The issue, however, is not about the players playing to lose. Of course players play to win. Richardson isn’t going to allow an offensive lineman to block him, or forego a chance to sack a quarterback, just because it could help the Jets’ draft stock. The question is whether the Jets’ front office is building a team determined to win this year, or whether they’re more interested in building for the future.
On that front, it’s hard to argue that the Jets are doing anything other than building for the future. They’re shedding expensive veteran salaries and fielding this year’s team on the cheap. Richardson will be playing to win on Sundays, but the front office is putting together a team that probably can’t win five games.