The LA Chargers are seemingly finished with all of the team’s big-name signings this offseason but that might not be the case. A new name is now on the market that would be excellent for the Bolts to bring in.
Defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson was released by the Cleveland Browns on Friday after the Browns signed Jadeveon Clowney. The move frees up money for the Browns, with Clowney’s salary essentially replacing Richardson’s.
This was a surprising move by the Browns considering Richardson was solid for them the last two seasons. As the old saying goes, though, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure and the Chargers could find treasure with Sheldon Richardson.
Why Sheldon Richardson makes sense for the LA Chargers:
One of the hallmarks of nearly every single successful NFL team is a great front seven. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers had a great front seven last year, the San Francisco 49ers had a great front seven in 2020, both the Los Angeles Rams and New England Patriots had great front sevens in 2019, the Philadephia Eagles had a great front seven in 2018… you get the point.
The Chargers do not have a great front seven. They have a great leader in Joey Bosa, who is one of the best edge rushers in the league. They have a solid young player in Uchenna Nwosu who is far from a star and they have a serviceable veteran in Linval Joseph at nose tackle.
Jerry Tillery is entering his third season and has not been great in the first two. He is almost useless against the run and his sporadic big moments do not make up for the times he disappears, or even worse, commits dumb penalties.
Justin Jones is a good depth option, but that is about it.
We know that Brandon Staley is going to get creative with the defense and the front seven in particular. From Bosa to Tillery to the linebackers, there is going to be a lot of creativity, and hopefully, some new ways to generate pressure on opposing quarterbacks.
They could bolster those efforts by bringing in Richardson, who has been one of the best pass-rushing defensive tackles in the league and can still hold his own against the run, unlike Tillery.
The Chargers have the money to do so. According to Over The Cap, the Chargers still have $20.5 million in cap space. The Athletic’s Daniel Popper crunched the numbers with the 2021 NFL Draft and other roster moves and the Chargers have about $11.35 million in spending space.
There are not many other teams with as much space as the Chargers. There are seven teams with more cap space than the Chargers right now: the Browns, Lions, Bengals, Colts, Jets, Broncos, Jaguars.
Some of those teams make sense for Richardson on paper. The Jacksonville Jaguars, Cincinnati Bengals and New York Jets could all use his services. However, I do not think it is a stretch to say that the LA Chargers have a better chance at contending than all of those teams.
If Richardson wants the best chance to win, of the teams with money, he should sign with the LA Chargers.
He can also provide depth for next season as well as Joseph’s contract is expiring. The Chargers could work out a deal that is fully guaranteed in year one and if things don’t work out they can simply cut ties. If they do work out, they can guarantee his contract next season to maintain depth at the position.
The former Defensive Rookie of the Year would be a really fun fit on the LA Chargers and is absolutely someone that Tom Telesco should be calling.