Defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson intends to sign a three-year, $36 million deal that includes $21.5 million in guaranteed money with the Cleveland Browns, per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
The #Browns are signing former #Vikings DT Sheldon Richardson to a 3-year, $36M deal, source said. A ton of capital on that D-line.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 12, 2019
Richardson, 28, enjoyed a resurgence season last year with Minnesota, recording 49 tackles, 4.5 sacks, six tackles for loss, and 16 quarterback hits.
The move to Cleveland will be Richardson’s fourth team in four years after being traded from the New York Jets to the Seattle Seahawks after the 2016 season. The University of Missouri product spent 2017 with the Seahawks and 2018 with the Vikings.
Richardson’s NFL career started off with a bang as he was voted into the Pro Bowl in 2014 in just his second season. He posted a stat line of 66 tackles, eight sacks, 11 tackles for loss, and 21 quarterback hits. However, following his breakout season, Richardson’s off-field issues began to be a problem.
A four-game suspension in the 2015 season for violating the NFL’s Substance Abuse Policy and a one-game suspension in 2016 for violating the NFL’s personal-conduct policy derailed his time in New York.
After posting career-high eight sacks in 2014, Richardson would only record 7.5 sacks over the next three season, two with Jets and one with the Seahawks.
General manager John Dorsey has proven time and again that he is willing to take a chance on a player with off-field issues as long as they have the talent to help his team. While Richardson hasn’t had a season as productive as his 2014 campaign, his numbers with the Vikings last year proves that talent is still there.
Richardson’s play dwindled in the second half of the season due to the high number of snaps he played but with solid depth already in place, the Browns can afford to rotate their interior freely as the year goes on.
The signing adds to a deep defensive interior for Cleveland that includes, Myles Garrett, Olivier Vernon, Larry Ogunjobi and Emmanuel Ogbah.
That's 30.5 sacks, 81 quarterback hits and 33 tackles for loss in 2018 between the 4. https://t.co/WvQYZoHDZS
— Daryl Ruiter (@RuiterWrongFAN) March 12, 2019
The move gives the Browns one of the more talented defensive lines in the league while giving Richardson another chance at becoming the dominant force on the front line that many saw him be early in his career.