CLEVELAND — Editor's note: the video in the player above is from a previous story.
After releasing Sheldon Richardson in April, the Cleveland Browns publicly entertained the idea of re-signing their former defensive tackle.
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But rather than returning to Cleveland, Richardson opted for a different type of reunion, signing with the team he played for prior to joining the Browns, the Minnesota Vikings.
Arriving in Cleveland as a free agent signee prior to the 2019 season, the 30-year-old Richardson served as a mainstay of the Browns' defensive line for each of the past two years. Appearing in all 32 games during his two-year stint in Cleveland, the 2014 Pro Bowl selection totaled 126 tackles, nine of which came for a loss and 7.5 sacks, including 64 tackles, five of which came for a loss and 4.5 sacks in 2020.
Yet despite his production, the Browns opted to release Richardson in a move aimed at preserving cap space with several key players currently up for extensions, including quarterback Baker Mayfield, running back Nick Chubb, cornerback Denzel Ward and offensive guard Wyatt Teller. In cutting Richardson, Cleveland saved $12 million in cap space.
Asked about the potential to re-sign Richardson to a smaller salary, Browns general manager Andrew Berry left the door open.
"It is certainly possible," Berry said in April. "Obviously, it is something that has to work for all parties involved, but we like Sheldon. He was a productive member of our team and a big part of our success last year. If that ends up being the right fit, that alignment is certainly something we would welcome.”
Ultimately, however, Richardson opted to sign elsewhere, with Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network reporting that the Missouri product's new deal is for one year and worth up to $4.35 million.