The veteran tackle was cut by the team earlier this offseason in order to save cap space.
Despite a sizable offer from Cleveland, Richardson decided to sign elsewhere.
— PURPLE JABLES (@PurpleJables) June 15, 2021
Richardson has decided to move on, so the Browns will be forced to quickly find a replacement.
The Browns front office brought in plenty of bodies at defensive tackle, but it won’t be easy attempting to replace a player like Richardson.
In 2020, the Browns used their third-round pick to select defensive tackle Jordan Elliott.
He was an accomplished player during his three years in college.
Elliott recorded 76 tackles, 18 tackles for loss, and 5.5 sacks during his time with Texas and Missouri.
Obviously, Cleveland felt Elliott had all the tools to make an impact in the NFL and selected him 88th overall.
Jordan Elliott has the tools that translate well to the NFL.
— PFF College (@PFF_College) January 7, 2020
It’s difficult to grade how his rookie season went because he played a limited role in Cleveland.
Sadly, Elliott was stuck behind Richardson and Ogunjobi, so there wasn’t a significant role for him on the team.
A year later, the Browns are without their starters from a year ago and need Elliott to step up.
It’s not an easy task to go from being a depth player for a season then become a full-time starter.
However, it appears Cleveland believes in Elliott because he’s the projected starter going into training camp.
Fans shouldn’t expect Elliott to produce Pro Bowl numbers, but he was an above-average player when it came to defending the running game in college.
The Browns are hopeful that translates to the professional level because Andrew Billings is likely going to play alongside Elliott.
While Billings is decent, Cleveland needs Elliott to play like he belongs there if the Browns want to have success slowing down the running game.
Obviously, Jadeveon Clowney doesn’t play defensive tackle, but the Browns need him to help replace Richardson’s production.
The three-time Pro Bowl pass rusher signed a one-year deal with Cleveland over the offseason.
He is coming off two straight below-average campaigns, but does have the ability to be an elite pass rusher.
Clowney has recorded over 250 tackles and 32 sacks over the course of his career.
— Josh Hyber (@JoshHyber) December 23, 2018
The ability is there, but Clowney has struggled to stay healthy over the last few seasons.
Cleveland gave Clowney a one-year deal with a heavily incentive-based salary.
That means Clowney needs to perform on the field, assuming he wants to get paid.
Obviously, Myles Garrett is a stud, but Cleveland doesn’t have much help on the d-line anymore.
The organization brought in league average players to replace Richardson and Larry Ogunjobi this offseason.
That being said, Clowney needs to step up and play like he did a few years ago when he was with the Houston Texans.