The Cleveland Browns have added a bevy of prospects at the defensive tackle position over the last few months since releasing Sheldon Richardson. However, the Browns are keeping in touch with the former Pro Bowler and are holding out hope for a reunion.
Browns insider Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com broke down the team’s interest in Richardson.
The Browns parted ways on good terms with Richardson, with the agreement that he could be re-signed later in the offseason. There’s been interest from other teams in the ninth-year pro, but he enjoyed his two seasons here, and might prefer Cleveland to starting over again elsewhere.
The Browns released Richardson earlier this offseason in a major cap-saving move, saving around $12 million. That’s not to say that he wasn’t productive while in Cleveland, both on the field and as a locker room leader.
He joined the team in 2019 as a free agent. Last season, he started all 16 games and totaled 64 tackles, 4.5 sacks and one forced fumble. He also showed off a versatile skill set, being able to flex out to defensive end at times when injuries ravaged the position.
As Cabot points out, Richarson took a liking to the city of Cleveland, which he referenced in his goodbye post.
Richardson said his goodbye to Cleveland in an Instagram post, writing: “It was just starting to feel like home. Aye Dawg Pound I had a great time….til next time.
Depending on the bites Richardson is getting in free agency, he could be open to taking slightly less to play on what is expected to be a Super Bowl contending squad in the Browns alongside Myles Garrett and Jadeveon Clowney on the defensive line.
Myles Garrett Hoping Defense Meshes at OTAs
The Browns will have new faces all over the defense next season, so the unit had some key veterans — including Myles Garrett and Denzel Ward — attend OTAs to get in some extra work.
“Really the D line and kind of as a defense, we decided we needed to be there to work with the younger guys, get some work in with the coaches and for everyone to be able to get on the bags, work on their technique and get on some cleats and a helmet,” Garrett said. “I know it has been awhile for some of these guys. Just being able to do that and work on your craft a little bit and work on the plays, it flows a little bit more seamless than if we were to take such a long, extended break from each other and not know each other’s tendencies and know how we are on the field.”
The Browns had some pillars to build around in Garrett and Ward on the defensive side of the ball. Garrett collected 12 sacks, two pass deflections and four forced fumbles in 14 games.
Malik McDowell An Interesting Prospect for Browns
The Browns added an interesting name to the mix in Malik McDowell, who is a former second-round pick but has not played an NFL snap.
McDowell was the 35th overall pick by the Seahawks in 2017 draft but suffered what was thought to be a career-ending injury during an ATV accident. He also dealt with some legal trouble after being selected, but appears ready for a return to the NFL.
“He seems bright. He seems very attentive to what we are doing. He likes to ask questions to coach to make sure that when he gets back he will be ready to play so I like that about him already,” Garret said of McDowell. “I am hopeful for the guy. I am hopeful for what he can do for us.”
At Michigan State McDowell appeared in 36 games, registering 90 tackles, 24.5 tackles for loss, 7.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and one interception.