The big headliner for the Jets will be star defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson, who the NFL announced will be suspended one game for a personal conduct policy violation. Richardson will be eligible to return to the team on Sept. 12, the day after the Week 1 opener at home vs Cincinnati, who will be missing star linebacker Vontaze Burfict. He's serving a three-game suspension due to multiple NFL safety rules violations.
A full-time starter for the Jets at defensive end, Richardson is being suspended for an offseason incident that took place last year. He was arrested last summer in Missouri after being clocked driving at speeds up to 143 mph while racing another car and attempting to evade cops.
That also involved a 12-year-old boy in the back seat when the events in question took place. Police also reportedly smelled marijuana and found loaded guns under the floor mats when they finally pulled him over.
Richardson did avoid jail time after agreeing to the guilty plea earlier this year, but was still given two years of probation and will have to perform community service in addition to fines related to the traffic violations. That was enough for the NFL to suspend him a whopping one game, while Burfict got three for nothing involved off the field, but that's a discussion for another day.
Richardson is entering his fourth year in the NFL and may be on the verge of becoming a superstar. He was named the 2013 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year after being a first-round selection by the Jets in the 2013 draft. In 2014, he was named to the Pro Bowl after racking up 66 tackles, eight sacks and one forced fumble. A hamstring injury limited Richardson to just five sacks and 35 tackles in 11 games last season.
The 6'3", 294-pound Richardson is now part of one of the NFL's best defensive lines that includes Muhammad Wilkerson and 2015 first-round pick Leonard Williams. However, Wilkerson is also in danger of missing regular-season games this year between his recovery from a broken leg, as well as his potential to holdout as he disputes the franchise tag placed on him this offseason.
That unit also powered the Jets' fourth-ranked total defense and second-ranked run defense last year. It's a tough Week 1 test for a Bengals offense replacing several starters while breaking in first and second-year guys, but that will be easier with Richardson out of the lineup.