The 24-year-old Sheard entered the NFL in 2011 as a second-round pick of the Browns and has appeared in 61 games, totaling 23 sacks and seven forced fumbles. Only two of those sacks and none of those forced fumbles came last season, but Pro Football Focus (subscription required) still ranked Sheard a solid 16th out of 46 qualifying 3-4 outside linebackers in 2014. He ranked an even more impressive 10th out of 42 in 2013.
Earlier Tuesday, ESPN.com’s Mike Reiss wrote that Sheard would make sense for the Pats. Per Reiss, the Pats spent 73.5% of the time in sub packages last year, and Sheard “would add another “joker” to the team’s versatile stable of pass-rushing linebackers.”
If the Patriots are unable to ink Sheard to a deal, the Buccaneers, Bengals and Seahawks are other possible suitors, Rand Getlin of Yahoo! Sports tweeted Monday.