The Cleveland Browns could use some veteran depth in the defensive tackle position, and veteran Sheldon Richardson was floated as an option for the AFC North roster.
Richardson spent two seasons with the Browns but was fired in the final offseason and signed with the Vikings shortly thereafter. The Browns wanted Richardson back, but he wasn’t willing to take a hefty pay cut to stay in Cleveland.
“You know, I started something there. To be honest, I just couldn’t agree on what I wanted from Cleveland,” Richardson said.
Richardson started seven games for the Vikings and had 39 tackles, six tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks and 18 quarterback pressures in Minnesota last season. He received an overall score of 62.1 on Pro Football Focus.
2020 Browns third-round pick Jordan Elliott and free-agent pickup Taven Bryan — a former Jaguars first-round pick — are entered in the starting roles. Malik Jackson and Malik McDowell were the starting guns a year ago, but neither returned.
Cleveland is also expected to get some production in the defensive tackle position from the fourth-rounder Perrion Winfreywho was named NFL.com’s proposed all-rookie team. The Browns open training camp on July 27.
The Browns don’t have much proven talent at the defensive tackle spot, and bringing in Richardson as a mentor and part of the rotation could be a solid move for Cleveland. Cleveland.com’s Mary Kay Cabot thinks the Browns would consider it. Per Cabot:
As noted by Cabot, Richardson was a locker room manager during his time in Cleveland and has developed a strong following. However, an average salary of more than $12 million was previously too expensive for the Browns, but they would likely be open to bringing it back to a lower amount. He played in Minnesota last season on a one-year contract for $3.6 million.
Considering the Browns have the largest remaining cap spot for the coming year at nearly $45.5 million — per over the cap — it would make sense to squeeze him in with a sensible deal.
While some rumors have linked the Browns to five-time Pro Bowler Ndamukong Suh, Cabot says there is no interest from Cleveland in bringing him in.
“Reports that the Browns are interested in five-time Pro Bowl defenseman Ndamukong Suh appear unfounded,” Cabot wrote on July 19, noting much interest.
Suh, the former No. 2 overall pick in the 2010 draft, spent the last three seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and played an important role on the defensive line. He started 49 contests for the Bucs during that span – not missing a game – with a total of 112 tackles, 23 tackles for loss and 14.5 sacks.