Where will Free agent Sheldon Richardson sign?
Sheldon Richardson entered the league in 2013 as the 13th overall pick in the 1st round by the New York Jets. His career seemed destined for stardom. Richardson won the defensive rookie of the year in 2013, followed by both pro bowl and all-pro first team honors in 2014. However, the early success didn’t last long. His play started to fall as well as the Jets team around him.
Richardson was then traded by the Jets in 2016 and since then he been on three different teams. He now will be looking for this fourth different team in the last six seasons. Richardson can still play and be valuable asset along that defensive line. His skill-set would be best suited for a team contending for a championship at this point.
Below are a few teams that can best use Richardson’s services and be a good fit for both sides.
Baltimore Ravens – With guys like Aaron Crawford, Derek Wolfe, Braxton Hoyett etc. along the interior defensive-line, Richardson can be added value here. He brings along a ton of experience, including the past two seasons with rival Cleveland Browns and can easily fit across anywhere on the line. He has experience playing the edge spots, that versatility can make attractive to team like the Ravens looking to make that Super-bowl run.
Kansas City Chiefs – Rich get richer? Absolutely! Richardson could be the perfect person to play behind/along side guys like Chris Jones, Derrick Nnadi, Taco Charlton etc. along that defensive-line. Having gone to back to back Superbowls the Chiefs will be looking to re-load and go all-in one more time with it’s currently structured roster.
This would be a great fit for Richardson to use athletic play style under defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo’s system. With not much proven depth behind Jones and Nnadi in the interior defensive-line, Richardson can make for serious playing time with the Chiefs.
Atlanta Falcons – Yes, I know the Falcons aren’t the most favorite of SB contenders out there. However, this team still has what it takes with the immense amount of talent it has on both sides of the ball. New head coach, Arthur Smith will infuse new life into the team thus making them a sneaky good pick.
With that said, this is another spot that Richardson can come in and thrive. Dean Pees and his aggressive defense will create havoc for offenses and Richardson can play anywhere along the line. Pees likes to put his play-makers in the best position possible to do what they do best, make plays! Richardson and Grady Jarrett can be fearsome double-headed monster for opposing offenses.
Tennessee Titans – Not the most appealing of options but this is also a good fit if the price is right. Having just over 6m in salary cap space, this might be a tight squeeze to fit in Richardson. However, if the two sides can come to agreement, Richardson can play along side the younger guys in Teair Tart and Jullian Taylor.
This would be a good learning experience for both Tart and Taylor to learn from a guy like Richardson who has been through the wars. The Titans lacked a pass rush in the 2020 season. They accumulated just 19 sacks the whole season! Yes, 19 sacks which was good for 30th in the league. For context, TJ Watt had 15 sacks by himself. Now, Richardson is not a sack master by any means but he can certainly give that line a much needed infusion of power.
Wildcard pick – New York Jets – This would be a return home for Richardson. The Jets are no where near a contender of any sorts but Robert Saleh and Joe Douglas have something building in NY. Richardson can come back to where he started and help the Jets become relevant once again. Richardson teaming with budding star Quinnen Williams would be an awesome sight to see. I don’t think this particular re-union will come to fruition but hey we’ve seen weirder things happen before.
Richardson has fallen off the cliff steeply over the past few seasons. However, given the right scheme and culture fit he can be more than a serviceable player. Motivation is always key for players who seem to move around quite often.
Players are constantly trying to prove that they still have what it takes to be successful and impactful players. Richardson is no different and will look for a bounce back season in 2021.