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La Canfora’s Latest: Jets, Fins, LA

NFL News
October 4, 2015

The Dolphins and Jets are in the midst of their Wembley Stadium showdown, and Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports has been busy rounding up news from both teams. La Canfora also passes on some notes from the NFL-in-Los Angeles saga, so let’s dive right in:

  • The NFL has given the Jets no indication that Sheldon Richardson will be subject to any immediate discipline on top of his four-game suspension that ends today. Richardson, of course, was suspended for violations of the league’s drug policy, but while facing that suspension, he was arrested for resisting arrest, allegedly speeding at over 140 mph with a 12-year-old relative in his car, smelling of marijuana, and having a fully-loaded automatic weapon in the car. Richardson, who has a court date later this month, could of course be suspended for those alleged transgressions at some point down the line–in fact, the Jets are said to be bracing for a 10-game ban–but for now, the NFL has simply stated that the matter is “under review.” As such, Gang Green expects to have Richardson back with the team during its Week 5 bye and suited up for its next game in Week 6.
  • The 2016 fates of Richardson and Muhammad Wilkerson, of course, are inextricably linked, and Wilkerson’s agent, Chad Wiestling, says his client will not entertain any in-season extension talks with the Jets. Wilkerson, who is eligible for unrestricted free agency at season’s end, is off to a typically excellent start to the 2015 campaign, generating significant pass rush and excelling as a run stuffer in the middle of the Jets’ defensive line. Between his play and the exorbitant contracts handed out to fellow top defensive linemen like Marcell Dareus, Wilkerson’s value is on the rise. It is expected that the Jets will put the franchise tag on Wilkerson–at an estimated $15MM–but in this case, the tag may simply be a precursor to a trade, given the team’s pressing needs in other areas and the league-wide interest in Wilkerson. Wilkerson, for his part, hopes to stay with the Jets, but given that New York’s extension offers to this point have been more in line with contracts signed by less-accomplished players like Cam Heyward and Corey Liuget, the Jets would have to considerably up the ante if they want to retain Wilkerson’s services on a long-term basis.
  • Despite the swirling rumors regarding Joe Philbin‘s job security, La Canfora says Dolphins ownership is not considering any immediate changes even if the team’s disappointing start to the season continues. Owner Stephen Ross, who has been striving for continuity in the wake of the major overhauls the club has undergone in recent years, reportedly wants to see things through with Philbin. It is not inconceivable that Miami could make changes in the bye week with respect to an assistant coach, play-calling duties, etc., but for the time being, Philbin himself is safe. How much good will he has left, however, remains to be seen, particularly if today’s game in London continues on its current trajectory.
  • Rams owner Stan Kroenke is reportedly more willing to share his proposed Inglewood stadium with another club than originally thought. However, it remains unclear whether that other club would be Kroenke’s “tenant” or if it would have more of an “equity” stake in the stadium. Kroenke, of course, prefers the former option, but he is open to a more equitable arrangement as well, which would require a significant financial investment from the second team. At the moment, all options are on the table, and should the league approve a two-team arrangement in Inglewood, it appears as though it would be able to make the finances of such an arrangement work. But if a vote was taken today, neither the Carson project nor the Inglewood project would have enough support (24 votes) to move forward. It could be that Kroenke, who is said to have only 10-12 fellow owners in his corner at the moment–the Chargers/Raiders project in Carson has considerably more support–is becoming more receptive to compromise in order to bring his vision to fruition.

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