The Jacksonville Jaguars had a hard time slowing down opposing offenses last season, and their inability to generate pressure upfront and stop the run played a huge role. While new defensive coordinator Joe Cullen’s presence would help, the team’s brass has to give him a few pieces to work with. They will have different options in the open market and may have one more if defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson becomes available.
The Browns aren’t struggling for cap space the way other teams are, but they could still move on from a few players in order to get some breathing room. Richarson is set to count $13.16 million against the cap in 2021 and releasing him would free up $11.5 million of cap space with a dead cap hit of just $1.3 million.
A first-round selection in 2013 by the New York Jets, Richardson logged 64 total tackles (five for a loss), 4.5 sacks, one forced fumble, and three passes defensed last season. Over his eight-year career, he’s registered 461 total tackles (58 for a loss), 31 sacks, ten forced fumbles, and 14 pass deflections.
Richardson could make an immediate impact on the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Defensive tackle DaVon Hamilton and Doug Costin showed flashes as rookies in 2020, and even though they could be part of the Jaguars’ long-term plans, the team’s brass still needs to add talent to their front four. Richardson is still playing at a high level and doesn’t need to leave the field often. Last season, he appeared in 74 percent of the Browns’ total snaps on defense and 73 percent the season in 2019.
Due to the limited cap floor NFL teams will be working with this offseason, it’s uncertain what kind of market Richardson would have if he were to hit the open market but a two or three-year deal that averages $8 million per year would make sense. The Jaguars lead the league in cap space and should be able to outbid every other team. The fact Jacksonville will be one of the most attractive destinations for free agents this offseason wouldn’t hurt the ‘Jags’ chances to land the Missouri product either.
Adding Richardson would give the Jags the chance to use their early-round picks on other positions such as defensive end, tight end, or cornerback. Then again, this is contingent on Cleveland releasing him, but if he’s available, this Jacksonville team should make a play for him.