Longtime NFL personnel executive Gil Brandt sees defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson as a possible fit for the Bills in free agency.
Writing on NFL.com, Brandt sees the Seahawks, Bills and Chiefs as potential landing spots for the veteran, although it is not a given that Richardson even reaches the free agent market. The Seahawks could use the franchise tag -- or the transition tag -- when that period begins Feb. 20.
The Seahawks acquired Richardson from the Jets for receiver Jermaine Kearse and a 2018 second-round pick. They likely would recoup a third-round compensatory pick in 2019 should Richardson leave via free agency. The estimated tag figure for defensive tackles is $14.5 million.
Richardson, 27, got off to a slow start in Seattle as he had to get acclimated to the Seattle' 4-3 from the Jets' 3-4.
Richardson has had some personal issues, including a four-game suspension in 2015 for violating the league's substance abuse policy and a one-game suspension in 2016 for violating the league's personal conduct policy. If available, some team might be willing to risk a long-term, big money contract on him, but it is hard to see that team being the Bills.
Here is what Brandt wrote about Richardson's potential landing spots:
Somewhere along the line, Richardson is going to wake up -- and it might be next to Chris Jones or Justin Houston in Kansas City. True, the Chiefs are projected to be relatively tight against the cap. But those guys might be the kind of players who can motivate Richardson to play up to his potential after the Jets traded him away heading into last season. He's an athletic run-stopper with pass-rush ability. I also think Buffalo -- which, with two first-round picks, two second-rounders and two third-rounders, will have a chance to add a ton of talent -- could see Richardson as an attractive fit (provided the issues that led to his ouster in New York don't scare them off). And, of course, Seattle would be able to use him, as well.
Here is the News' Jay Skurski's breakdown of the free agent defensive tackles and the Bills' need at the position:
Starting caliber: Star Lotulelei, Panthers; Sheldon Richardson, Seahawks; Dontari Poe, Falcons; Bennie Logan, Chiefs; DaQuan Jones, Titans.
Aging veterans: Haloti Ngata, Lions; Kyle Williams, Bills; Tom Johnson, Vikings; Pat Sims, Bengals; Ahtyba Rubin, Falcons; Tony McDaniel, Saints.
Depth options: Shamar Stephen, Vikings; Brent Urban, Ravens; Denico Autry, Raiders; Mitch Unrein, Bears; Justin Ellis, Raiders; Jay Bromley, Giants; Jarvis Jenkins, Chiefs; Clinton McDonald, Buccaneers; Beau Allen, Eagles; Cedric Thornton, Bills.
Why it's a top priority for the Bills: There is no guarantee Williams comes back for a 13th season, and after trading away Marcell Dareus, the middle of the defense desperately needs someone who can both shore up the run defense and apply pressure on the quarterback. McDermott knows Lotulelei well given their time spent together in Carolina. He’ll come with a big price tag, but the Bills will have space to splurge on at least one free agent.