Rex Ryan knows how to stir up controversy. And in an offseason which saw the Jets make headlines by trading for Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow, the Jets appear on the verge of making another big-time splash.
The Jets have apparently made contact with Alabama running back and top-five hopeful Trent Richardson, in what is looking like another draft-day deal for the Jets, according to ESPN.com.
Richardson told reporters about the Jets' interest during a pre-draft media session in New York on Wednesday.
"They wanted to know my information as far as whether that's the right number to reach me in case something does happen, with them trading up," Richardson explained.
With the Jets picking 16th currently, it seems extremely unlikely that they would even have a whiff at Richardson without a miracle or a trade. But trading is something Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum proved he's not afraid to do, as the Jets moved up the draftboard in three-straight seasons from 2007 to 2009.
Three years ago, Ryan led the charge as the Jets jumped way up into the top five to draft quarterback Mark Sanchez as their signal caller of the future. This season it appears the Jets may be intent on finding a tailback to replace the loss of reliable but aging halfback LaDanian Tomlinson.
The only question would be if the move indicated that the Jets have doubts about the team's current running back Shonn Greene. But with the short lifespan for tailbacks in the NFL, it wouldn't be a great shock to see a team look to solidify the position with another viable option.
Richardson seems to be the prized possession for the Jets, and he also seems excited by the possibility of playing for New York.
"I would love it," Richardson said. "I don't feel bad about playing for any team. Football is football, and it's the National Football League."
Tannenbaum seems to feel similarly about the halfback, praising Richardson for his versatile skill set.
"I do think Trent Richardson is a great player," Tannenbaum said last week. "I think he will help a team. He's a three-down back, he can pass protect and he can catch the ball. He played for coach [Nick] Saban and, obviously, had a lot of success. … There are a lot of things to like about Trent. So whoever gets Trent will have a really good back for a long, long time."
The reality, though, is that really good back may end up donning the threads of the "gang green" for many years to come.
Photo via Facebook/Trent Richardson