Sheldon Richardson

Browns Not Interested In Ndamukong Suh, Could Have Interest In Sheldon Richardson

A report from last week hinted that the Browns could have some interest in Ndamukong Suh. That doesn’t appear to be the case, but the organization could still have interest in adding a defensive lineman. According to Mary Kay Cabot of, reports connecting Suh to Cleveland are “unfounded,” and “there doesn’t seem to be much interest” in adding the veteran. However, if the team does add a defensive tackle, Sheldon Richardson could be an option.

[RELATED: Browns Interested In DT Ndamukong Suh?]

Richardson spent two seasons in Cleveland, collecting 126 tackles and 7.5 sacks in 32 games with the organization. Richardson originally inked a three-year deal with the Browns in 2019, but after he refused to take a pay cut following the 2020 campaign, he was let go. He ended up catching on with the Vikings for the 2021 season, starting seven of his 17 games while collecting 39 tackles and 2.5 sacks.

As Cabot notes, the 31-year-old defensive tackle is still well liked from his time in Cleveland, with the reporter citing Richardson’s ability to help “patch things up” between Myles Garrett and Baker Mayfield following the former’s suspension in 2019. Beyond his locker room presence, Richardson could also provide some guidance to the Browns’ younger defensive lineman, although Cabot hints that the organization may be content rolling with their current grouping.

The team is high on fourth-round rookie Perrion Winfrey, and they also want to see what they’ve got from third-year pro Jordan Elliott and free agent addition Taven Bryan. However, there’s always a chance a spot could open up, and if the Browns decide they need some reinforcement at defensive tackle, there’s a good chance Richardson will get a call.

One name that apparently won’t be called is Suh. The veteran’s run of Pro Bowls stopped in 2016, but Suh became a key piece for Rams and Bucs Super Bowl-bound teams in the years that followed. Last season, he registered six regular-season sacks and added four hits on Matthew Stafford in Tampa Bay’s narrow divisional-round loss.

This Date In Transactions History: Jets DL Sheldon Richardson Suspended Four Games

Sheldon Richardson had a tumultuous 2015 offseason, and his issues (and, potentially, the beginning of the end of his Jets tenure) started on this date seven years ago. On July 2, 2015, the Jets defensive lineman was slapped with a four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy.

Richardson was a first-round pick by the Jets in 2013. After winning Defensive Rookie of the Year during the 2013 campaign, Richardson followed that up with a Pro Bowl season in 2014. That year, Richardson collected 67 tackles and eight sacks in 16 starts. Things were looking good for the younger pass rusher, but then trouble hit.

During the 2015 offseason, Richardson was hit with a four-game ban for a substance abuse violation. We later learned that the player was suspended for marijuana use. Nowadays, players only face a fine for marijuana use, a rule that was negotiated in 2020 as part of the CBA. In 2015, there were several stages to the league’s policy for marijuana use before a four-game suspension could be handed down. In other words, this wasn’t Richardson’s first positive test, and after several warnings, the NFL finally decided to slap the player’s wrist with a suspension.

Only two weeks later, Richardson was arrested in Missouri and charged with resisting arrest and traffic violations. According to reports, the player was street racing at speeds that exceeded 140 miles per hour, and he later tried to evade police who were trying to pull him over. When the car was finally pulled over, it smelled of marijuana, and officers later found a loaded handgun under the driver’s seat. The car was also occupied by two other men and a 12-year-old child. While Richardson avoided drug, gun, or child endangerment charges, he was later found guilty of reckless driving and resisting arrest.

Following his suspension, Richardson was productive in his 11 games in 2015, finishing with 35 tackles and five sacks. He was hit with a one-game ban in 2016 for his previous arrest, and while he still managed to play a significant role, his pass-rushing ability seemed to decline.

Thanks in part to his off-the-field issues, his declining production, and his hefty $8MM fully guaranteed salary for 2017 (via the Jets picking up his fifth-year option), Richardson found himself on the trade block following the 2016 season. The player refused to take a pay cut with any new squad, limiting the Jets’ trade opportunities. Eventually, the organization found a taker in the Seahawks, who gave up a future second-round pick and Jermaine Kearse.

Richardson got into 15 games during the 2017 season, but the Seahawks decided to move on after he finished with only 44 tackles and one sack. He had a bounce-back season in Minnesota in 2018, finishing with 4.5 sacks. That performance earned him a three-year contract from the Browns, and following 32 games and 7.5 sacks between two seasons, the veteran was cut. He rejoined the Vikings last offseason, and he finished the season with 39 tackles and 2.5 sacks in 17 games (seven starts).

With the Jets having used the 13th-overall pick on Richardson, they didn’t get the best return on investment during his four years with the team. Fortunately for the organization, they somewhat managed to save face with the assets they received from Seattle. The Jets got two solid seasons out of Kearse (including a career year in 2017), and the second-round pick was ultimately used in the trade with the Colts for the third-overall pick, a selection that ultimately turned into QB Sam Darnold.

Richardson’s declining production and hefty salary certainly played major roles in the Jets looking to eventually move on. However, the off-the-field issues undeniably played a role, and those issues seemingly started to become public knowledge on this date in 2015.

NFC Rumors: Bears, Biadasz, Cowboys, Vikings

The Bears made Kyle Fuller a surprise cap casualty shortly after free agency’s outset, and while the team did sign Desmond Trufant, the former well-paid Falcon has struggled with injuries in each of the past two seasons. Chicago has resisted adding more help at the position, and Trufant may not have the inside track to start opposite Jaylon Johnson at outside cornerback. After a strong minicamp, Kindle Vildor may be ahead of Trufant on the track toward a starting job, Adam Jahns of The Athletic notes (subscription required). Although the 2020 fifth-round pick out of Georgia Southern only played 135 defensive snaps as a rookie, new DC Sean Desai mentioned him as an in-house solution to replace either Fuller or departed slot corner Buster Skrine. The Bears going with Vildor alongside Johnson will certainly represent an experience step back, with Fuller and Skrine having combined to play 17 seasons.

Here is the latest from the NFC:

  • On a similar note, the Cowboys appear set on a 2020 Day 3 pick taking over at center. Travis Frederick‘s retirement initially thrust Joe Looney into Dallas’ starting lineup, and after fourth-round pick Tyler Biadasz replaced an injured Looney early last season en route to four starts, the veteran reclaimed his job after a Biadasz pregame hamstring injury. Biadasz played just one offensive snap in Dallas’ final eight games, but Calvin Watkins of the Dallas Morning News notes the Cowboys plan to use the Wisconsin product as their starter this season. Looney, 30, remains a free agent, while OC Kellen Moore has talked up Biadasz this offseason. Biadasz started three years at center for the Badgers, winning the Rimington Award — given to college football’s top center — in 2019.
  • Some additional details have surfaced on Sheldon Richardson‘s second Vikings contract. The well-traveled defensive tackle agreed to return to Minnesota on a one-year, $3.6MM deal. The Vikings included some incentives in the former Defensive Rookie of the Year’s contract as well. Richardson can collect $250K if he reaches five sacks this season, Ben Goessling of the Minneapolis Star Tribune tweets. If Richardson gets to seven sacks, a $500K bonus will await. The team included another $250K bonus if the 30-year-old D-tackle makes the Pro Bowl. Richardson has two five-plus-sack seasons (2014 and ’15) and one Pro Bowl on his resume.
  • The Saints have included an interesting incentive in Ryan Ramczyk‘s extension, but it only will benefit the All-Pro right tackle if he moves to the left side.

Sheldon Richardson Turned Down More Money From Browns To Sign With Vikings

Sheldon Richardson ended his free agency this past week by signing a one-year deal with the Vikings worth $3.6MM with a max value of $4.35MM via incentives.

Apparently, he could’ve gotten a little more than that. The defensive tackle turned down more money from the Browns, Mary Kay Cabot of writes. We had previously heard that Cleveland made an offer, but it wasn’t known what the financials were like.

Kay Cabot writes that Richardson’s decision was “more about principle” after the Browns elected to release him back in April to save around $12MM in cap space. She also says that Cleveland may have been able to get him back had they gone a bit higher than they did, but that they “set their price and stuck to it.”

Richardson signed a three-year, $37MM pact with the Browns in 2019, and made it 2/3 of the way through it. He spent 2018 with the Vikings, so it’s not like he chose a totally foreign environment over returning to the Browns. The 13th overall pick of the 2013 draft turned 30 in November.

Vikings Sign Sheldon Richardson

The Vikings announced that they’ve officially signed Sheldon Richardson. The defensive lineman will play on a one-year, $3.6MM deal that could reach $4.35MM via incentives (Twitter link via’s Tom Pelissero). 

The Vikes effectively handled two birds with one stone. Earlier today, they reworked Danielle Hunter‘s contract to satisfy the defensive end and carve out some extra breathing room on the 2021 cap. Now, they’ve used those extra dollars to further strengthen the defensive line with Richardson.

It’s a reunion for Richardson, who spent the 2018 season in Minnesota. After that, he moved on to the Browns, but he was released in April after refusing a pay cut. The former Defensive Rookie of the Year will further beef up the Vikings’ interior, joining Michael Pierce and newcomer Dalvin Tomlinson. Thanks in part to Pierce’s opt out, the Vikings ranked 27th in yardage allowed last year. It’s safe to say they’ll fare better this time around.

Richardson has 118 career starts to his credit with 31 sacks and 58 tackles for loss across eight seasons. Last year, he graded as a top-40 interior defender, per Pro Football Focus while notching 4.5 sacks and 64 tackles.

Vikings, Sheldon Richardson Discussing Deal

After spurning a potential return to the Browns, Sheldon Richardson is considering another reunion. The Vikings have the defensive tackle on their radar and have entered discussions to bring him back.

Richardson, who played the 2018 season in Minnesota, is on the cusp of re-signing there, Field Yates of tweets. KFAN’s Jack Day was the first to report a Richardson-Vikings reunion was on the radar (Twitter link). Richardson spent the past two seasons with the Browns but has opted not to accept a reduced offer to return for a third season. The Browns released Richardson in April.

The Vikings have already devoted considerable resources to their defensive tackle position. Last year, they poached Michael Pierce from the Ravens in free agency. Pierce, however, opted out in 2020. In March, the Vikes added ex-Giants starter Dalvin Tomlinson. Richardson returning would give Minnesota one of the best D-tackle groups in the NFL.

Minnesota’s defense ranked fourth in yardage yielded during Richardson’s Twin Cities season, but a much younger group dropped to 27th in 2020. Mike Zimmer‘s first bad Vikings defense was without Danielle Hunter for all of last season and missed Anthony Barr for most of it. The Vikings now have Hunter back in the fold, after adjusting his contract earlier Monday, and are clearly serious about bolstering their D-line.

A veteran of four teams, Richardson has started 118 games in his career. The former first-round pick and Defensive Rookie of the Year started 16 games with Minnesota three years ago and remained a quality starter during his Cleveland stay. The 30-year-old defender has 31 career sacks and 58 tackles for loss in eight seasons.

Sheldon Richardson Declines Browns Offer, Plans To Sign Elsewhere

Despite making Sheldon Richardson a cap casualty earlier this year, the Browns wanted to bring him back. However, it looks like the two-year Cleveland contributor will not return to northeast Ohio.

They made the defensive tackle veteran an offer to return, Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer tweets, but Richardson is planning to continue his career elsewhere.

[RELATED: Vikings, Richardson Discussing Deal]

Richardson, 30, bid farewell to the Browns earlier this year. That made sense, considering the team released him in mid-April. That move saved the Browns around $12MM in cap space, but Cleveland kept Richardson on its radar and wanted to retain him at a lower price. The longtime D-line starter who entered the offseason with one season remaining on a three-year, $37MM Browns accord remains in search of a new team.

The former Defensive Rookie of the Year certainly could have helped the Browns, who have devoted most of their offseason resources to retooling their defense. At D-tackle, however, the team has lost talent. Prior to Richardson’s release, four-year starter Larry Ogunjobi signed with the Bengals. The team regrouped and signed Malik Jackson but then cut Richardson. The Browns do have former Bengals starter Andrew Billings back; Billings opted out in 2020.

Richardson graded as a top-40 interior defender, per Pro Football Focus, last season. The Mizzou alum registered 4.5 sacks and 64 tackles in his second Browns campaign. He has started 118 career games and missed more than one game in a season just once. The former Jets, Seahawks, Vikings and Browns starter likely will have a new team ahead of training camp.

Browns Would Consider Bringing Back Sheldon Richardson

Sheldon Richardson was released by the Browns last week, but there’s a chance he lands back in Cleveland. During a conference call on Friday, Browns general manager Andrew Berry said that the team would welcome back Richardson.

[RELATED: Browns Release DT Sheldon Richardson]

“I think it is certainly possible,” Berry said (via Andrew Gribble of the team’s website). “Obviously, it is something that has to work for all parties involved, but we like Sheldon. He was a productive member of our team, a big part of our success last year. If that ends up being the right fit, that alignment is certainly something we would welcome.”

Cleveland’s logic for releasing Richardson in the first place were purely financial, as the team saved $11MM by making the move. Especially after losing Larry Ogunjobi to the Bengals, the Browns could still use a player of Richardon’s caliber. The former first-round defensive lineman started for Cleveland over the past two seasons, collecting 7.5 sacks and 16 QB hits. Pro Football Focus graded the Mizzou product as a top-30 interior defensive lineman in 2019 and slotted him just inside the top 50 at the position last season.

Berry seemed to appreciate Richardson’s stint with the team, although he noted that the team could look to the draft to fill a hole in the middle of their defense.

“Like all positions across the draft, there are a number of good, young prospects who are going to come into the league,” Berry said. “All of that being said, Sheldon is a big loss. He was a big part of what we did last year. He had a really strong presence in our locker room, and we are very thankful for all of the contributions he had. Those are big shoes to fill for sure.”

Cleveland’s current depth chart at defensive tackle includes Andrew Billings, Malik Jackson, Sheldon Day and Jordan Elliott.

Browns Release DT Sheldon Richardson

Active in adding defensive starters this offseason, the Browns subtracted one on Friday. They released Sheldon Richardson.

The former first-round defensive lineman had started for Cleveland over the past two seasons. The Browns will save $11MM by making this move, one that comes a month after free agency’s outset, while also leaving a void in the middle of their defensive front.

With Larry Ogunjobi having signed with the Bengals, the Browns now no longer employ either of their starting D-tackles from the past two seasons. On a three-year, $37MM deal agreed to in 2019, Richardson was due a $10.9MM base salary in 2021. This move comes two days after the Browns agreed to terms with Jadeveon Clowney. While Richardson and Clowney do not play the same position, the Browns committed to sign the edge rusher for one year and $8MM.

This move will send Richardson into free agency at an inopportune time — following the most significant cap reduction in the cap era and four-plus weeks after the market opened. The Browns did add veteran defensive tackle Malik Jackson — on a one-year, $3.75MM contract — and have Andrew Billings, who opted out in 2020. But the team now figures to be on the hunt for interior D-line help.

The former Defensive Rookie of the Year, Richardson has played with four teams in his eight seasons. The Jets traded him to the Seahawks in 2017, and Richardson signed a one-year deal with the Vikings in 2018. After signing with the then-John Dorsey-run Browns a year later, Richardson accumulated 7.5 sacks and 16 quarterback hits during his two Browns seasons. Richardson did not miss a game during his Cleveland stay.

Pro Football Focus graded the Mizzou product as a top-30 interior defensive lineman in 2019 and slotted him just inside the top 50 at the position last season. While now 30, Richardson will surely generate interest and should have a path to a starting lineup in 2021.

Browns To Sign Sheldon Richardson

The Browns are signing former Vikings defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson to a three-year, $36MM deal, Ian Rapoport of tweets. The Browns’ D-Line now looks pretty fearsome with recent pickup Olivier Vernon and Myles Garrett on the bookends and Richardson occupying a space in between. 

Richardson, a longtime Jets standout, was shipped to the Seahawks days before the start of the 2017 season. Then, last year, he signed with a one-year, $8MM deal with the Vikings.

It was a disappointing year for the Vikes, but Richardson had a solid year on an individual level. He finished out with 4.5 sacks and 49 tackles and graded out as the No. 47 ranked interior defender in the league, per Pro Football Focus.

It’s a massive upgrade for Richardson compared to the relatively small deal he settled for last offseason, and his decision to re-enter free agency in 2019 paid off handsomely. The former first round pick had some off-field issues early in his career and face questions about his motivation with the Jets, but he’s mostly put those to rest the past couple of years.

It’s the first splashy free agency signing by the Browns so far, and it likely won’t be the last with all the cap space Cleveland is sitting on.With fellow defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi, the Browns now have a very solid run-stuffing duo on the interior. The Browns are looking to build on the momentum they had toward the end of last season, and are focused on building up the defense.