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Cowboys Free Agency Rumors: Is Sheldon Richardson Plan B After Cowboys Missed Out On Jason Pierre-Paul?

The price for Richardson has undoubtedly dropped since the teams last discussed a deal. Can they get a deal done this time?

New England Patriots v New York Jets Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images

Ralph Vacchiano of is reporting that the Cowboys and Jets could pick up their talks from last season and possibly look to move DT Sheldon Richardson to Dallas.

The Jets and Dallas Cowboys reportedly talked about a Sheldon Richardson trade at the deadline last season, so don't be surprised if it happens again.

And if that idea has you perking your ears, Vacchiano also writes that the Cowboys were going to attempt to sign Jason-Pierre Paul, had the Giants let him hit free agency.

The Cowboys, according to a source, were going to try to pry Jason Pierre-Paul away from the Giants if he had become a free agent and they still need a pass rusher. Some of the top ones are franchised, leaving the market [thin].

If the interest in JPP was real, and given that estimates of JPP's market value were in the area $15 million annually, the Cowboys certainly appear to be willing to spend big in free agency to bring in the War Daddy they are looking for. Here's Jerry Jones on ESPN Dallas 103.3 via the Dallas Morning News.

On if he would go out and get a top pass rusher...

Jones: If I have a chance to bring one of these premiere pass rushers, one of these war daddies that takes two to block, if I have a chance to get a player like that - I's not a question of that. It's a question of where is he? And who gives him up if he's a veteran, or where is he in the draft, or where is he anywhere? So, yeah we do need pressure. We're going to try to do something about it.

Could Richardson be Plan B after Cowboys missed out on JPP?

Sheldon Richardson has been on the market for quite a while, and this is not the first time the Cowboys have been linked to Richardson. News broke in early November last year that the Jets were actively shopping Richardson, and it wasn't long before reports emerged that the Jets called the Cowboys to shop Richardson. As it turned out, the Jets' asking price was a first-round draft pick in 2017 or 2018, per a report from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Since then, Richardson's trade value has taken a dive.

A first-round pick in 2017 or a first-round pick in 2018 was the asking Price, the source said. That was a non-starter for the Cowboys regarding a player they didn’t know if they will keep beyond next season when his contract ran out.

And that was before word came out last week that Richardson was benched by the Jets for the first quarter against the Miami Dolphins for being late to team meetings. The word out now is that it’s a regular occurrence.

If the Jets are trying to dump a bad apple, why would their asking price be so high?

Rich Cimini, Jets beat writer for ESPN, recently elaborated a little further on the trade that never was:

I think some people in the organization might be second-guessing the decision not to trade him to the Cowboys in October before the deadline. The Jets reportedly demanded a first-round pick. I can't swear to this, but I bet the deal would have been completed if the Jets had been willing to accept a second-rounder. Now I'd be surprised if they get that much.

Richardson was the 13th overall pick in the 2013 draft (the Cowboys had him ranked 16th overall on their 2013 draft board), and his NFL career started off well. Richardson was named the 2013 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, and was named to the Pro Bowl in 2014 after an 8-sack season.

But then things started to come undone. He was suspended at the start of the last two seasons, once failing the league's substance abuse policy, once for violating the off-the-field personal conduct policy. Early in the 2016 season he got into a much publicized fight with Brandon Marshall, was benched late in the season for being late repeatedly, and finished the season with just 1.5 sacks. Not exactly the type of resume teams are looking for in free agency.

The Jets couldn't get anybody to bite on Richardson for a 1st-round pick, and now they'd be lucky if a team gives them 4th-round or maaaaayybe a 3rd-round pick for Richardson. The Jets could choose to keep him, of course, but the trio of Muhammad Wilkerson (signed last year to a five-year, $86 million deal), third-year player Leonard Williams, and Richardson did not work out well last year, so the Jets could be looking to get something while there's still something to be gotten, because they'll lose him next year for nothing (unless you count a possible comp pick in 2019).

Ralph Vacciano explains why there might still be interest from the Cowboys:

Taking a one-year flier on Richardson makes sense for them, coming off a 13-win season and feeling ready for a Super Bowl run. If Richardson works out, they can sign him to a long-term deal. If he gets into trouble or regresses, they owe nothing beyond the $8.069 million for 2017.

In Dallas, Richardson will likely play defensive tackle, and could replace Terrell McClain if McClain leaves for greener pastures. Richardson's natural position is a 3-technique, but at 6-3, 294, he could also rotate all along the D-line.

There is no denying Richardson is very talented, and maybe a change of scenery is just what he needs to live up to his talent. The Cowboys probably wouldn't get a better player with their mid-round picks, and if they pair him with a 1st or 2nd-round defensive end, the just might be able to rebuild their D-line in one go.

What would you be willing to invest for Richardson? If you feel a third is too high, maybe a fourth? Or a fourth and a sixth or seventh? Nothing?

Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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