This may come as a surprise, but former Cleveland Browns defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson still not signed in free agency. Would he make a fine addition to the already loaded interior line for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Rated the top available free agent available on NFL Trade Rumors, the former 2013 first-round pick has a lot to offer at the age of 30 Here’s why the already-stacked defending Super Bowl champions should enlist his services.
Why Sheldon Richardson is a Potential Future Permanent Starter
Shockingly, the Bucs re-signed all 22 starters from their 2020 squad. Keep in mind how many one-year contracts among them including Ndamukong Suh. The 34-year-old is on his third one-year deal. Clearly, GM Jason Licht and defensive coordinator Todd Bowles are okay stringing him along. They reward him as long as he continues to produce like a trail on a streamer. Richardson hasn’t matched his first-round potential the way the second overall pick of the 2010 draft did. The Missouri alum could thrive at least in a rotational role.
Despite having half of Suh’s sacks in four fewer seasons, Richardson has more than double the number of forced fumbles with 10. Creating turnover opportunities is crucial in-game situations since averaging at least one every season with his career-high of three with the 2019 Browns. What’s another reason to consider Richardson? Bowles coached him when he was the head coach of the New York Jets when he joined the team in 2015 seeing modest production with 6.5 sacks in a shift from right defensive end to left outside linebacker.
While a dropoff, Richardson found renewed life in the defensive tackle position in 2017 as a Seattle Seahawk, something the Minnesota Vikings and Browns also took advantage of. Despite a lackluster 2017, Richardson produced 12 sacks over the past three seasons and four fumble forces in his stint in Cleveland. Also considering the other depth on the team, Steve McLendon is 35 and another veteran on a one-year deal. He should be at least challenge him and Rakeem Nunez-Roches as quality depth. The final X-factor is Vita Vea, who missed the majority of 2020 due to injury, which the Bucs recently picked up his fifth-year option.
The cost, you ask? Consider how much the Bucs re-signed all their key contributors. They also made room for former Cincinnati Bengals running back Giovanni Bernard. Chances likely are they find some magic cap space for Richardson in another low-cost, low-risk, high reward deal.