Browns Leaving Door Open for Reunion With Veteran Defender

Getty Sheldon Richardson leads a group of Browns tacklers against the Jets.

The Cleveland Browns released Sheldon Richardson earlier this offseason but are still holding out for a reunion with the veteran defensive tackle.

Head coach Kevin Stefanski talked about the possibility of a reunion with Richardson while on 92.3 The Fan’s Bull and Fox.

“I’d definitely say he’s on our radar and I’m hopeful,” Stefanski said. “I know Andrew and his agent have kept an open dialogue. Sheldon knows how I feel about him. Really good player. From our end, we’d be thrilled to bring him back”

Browns general manager Andrew Berry had a similar sentiment about the situation.

“Stance is very similar to what I said about Sheldon (RIchardson) the last couple times — we do keep in contact with Sheldon and his reps and if it’s the right fit, we certainly welcome him back with open arms,” Berry said. “But, it obviously has to work on both sides”

Richardson joined the Browns as an unrestricted free agent in 2019. Last season, he started all 16 games and totaled 64 tackles, 4.5 sacks and one forced fumble.

The move saved the Browns $12 million in cap space and the Browns have looked to cheaper solutions to fill the hole in their defense.

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Browns Add Veteran DT Damion Square

Despite what Stefanski and Berry are saying, the door appears to be closing on a reunion with Richardson, with the team adding yet another defensive tackle to the roster on Tuesday.

The Browns announced the signing of Damion Square, who had been an iron man for the Chargers the last four seasons, not missing a game.

Square, a nine-year veteran, spent the past seven seasons with the Chargers, appearing in 81 games with 24 starts. He is a former undrafted free agent out of Alabama.

Square began his career in 2013 with the Eagles and appeared in 10 games as a rookie. He posted 20 tackles and a sack last season. Square has 120 tackles, 6.5 sacks, nine passes defensed and two fumble recoveries in his career.

The move comes one day after the Browns signed troubled former second-round pick Malik McDowell. He’s never played in an NFL game, but was a highly-touted prospect out of Michigan State where he appeared in 36 games, registering 90 tackles, 24.5 tackles for loss, 7.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and one interception.

Browns Defense Will Look Different After Rebuild

GettyBrowns defensive end Myles Garrett.

The Browns could have up to nine new starters this season, with Myles Garrett and Denzel Ward being the holdovers. That includes two new starters at the defensive tackle spots in Malik Jackson and Andrew Billings.

Jackson signed a deal with Cleveland this offseason, while Billings is returning after taking last year off due to COVID-19 concerns.

The Browns will have a bevy of options at the defensive tackle spot behind those two. Cleveland inked highly-touted undrafted free agent Marvin Wilson to a deal this week and added Tommy Togiai in the fourth round of the NFL Draft. Jordan Elliott, a third-round pick last season, should also see an increased role in the rotation up front.

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