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2021 NFL Free Agency: The case for Sheldon Richardson and the Dallas Cowboys

One man’s trash is another one’s treasure. Richardson could be just the trove the ‘Boys need.

Syndication: Akron Beacon Journal Jeff Lange via Imagn Content Services, LLC

The Dallas Cowboys are in deep need of defensive run support.

And I mean “deep” as in, slapping a bright red “help wanted” sign on the outside of the team’s doors may not be a big enough SOS to quantify the team’s colossal void of gap-clogging patronage.

The squad’s linebacker play was putrid at best in 2020 (and granted, much of the troupe spent a significant portion of the year riding the pine), while its A and B gap fortitude plummeted to near unexplored shallows.

Now Cowboys Nation can expect to see an uptick in rush containment from the linebacking corp as health and wellness returns for the group during the offseason, and the team has been far from shy about its efforts to fortify its backline with capable, veteran stalwarts at the safety position (Keanu Neal’s versatility to undertake both roles doesn’t hurt either).

But the unit remains deprived of plump steamrollers that can chew up sizable space in the trenches. That’s the area where run defense (or lack thereof) begins for any franchise. And it’s an area that culminated in complete infamy for our protagonist Cowboys last year.

The season wasn’t the easiest novel to get through if I do say so myself.

Luckily for forlorn fanbases though, football is a never-ending entry book, and as autumn leaves turn to spring breeze, we are able to turn a new page on the past with hopes for imminent greater deeds.

The ‘Boys won’t exit the parking lot on their anticipative road to postseason glory though, unless they gas their engine with hyper-fuel up front - on their defensive line.

And with free agency still in swing, plus this year’s draft looming on the horizons, they’ve got plenty of opportunities to do it.

One such opportunity for improvement just unearthed itself.

The case for Sheldon Richardson and the Dallas Cowboys

The Cleveland Browns sent rippling shockwaves through the NFL landscape when they announced their release of DT Sheldon Richardson, whom had just inked a three-year deal worth $37 million with the squad in 2019.

The move came after the “Dawg Pound” agreed to terms on a one-year, $10M contract with Jadeveon Clowney just a day earlier and follows a recent signing of DT Malik Jackson as well. It freed up $11M for the team, but puzzled some who expected Cleveland to wait until after the draft before making such an irreversible call.

But hey - what the Browns do is their own business.

Richardson’s services are now free game, and he’ll likely carry a price tag that’s decidedly lower than the $12M-plus he netted last season,

His production has always been more than satisfactory as a prodigious run-stuffer up the gut: Richardson recorded 64 combined tackles in ‘20, adding 4.5 sacks and a forced fumble.

Even better: he’s never missed more than one outing in his eight campaigns.

That, above his numerical output, has to be a wildly attractive decoration on Richardson’s resume, especially for a front office in Dallas that still retains the sting of the rear-end bite that Gerald McCoy’s deal brought them a year ago.

But sports, as does life, requires a certain dose of short-term memory loss. If Dallas can shake its trauma from previous disaster, bringing Sheldon Richardson aboard can yield more than fruitful results.

Poll

Should the Dallas Cowboys pursue Sheldon Richardson?

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  • 92%
    Yes
    (2507 votes)
  • 7%
    No
    (203 votes)
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