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Jabaal Sheard: Latest News, Rumors and Speculation Surrounding Free-Agent OLB

Matt Fitzgerald@@MattFitz_geraldCorrespondent III

Cleveland Browns outside linebacker Jabaal Sheard celebrates after a 24-3 win over the Cincinnati Bengals in an NFL football game Thursday, Nov. 6, 2014, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Michael Conroy/Associated Press

Jabaal Sheard made a successful transition to outside linebacker for the Cleveland Browns over the past two seasons. He also played defensive end, so his versatility was being coveted in free agency. He has reportedly signed with the New England Patriots on a two-year deal.

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Sheard Reportedly Signs With Patriots on 2-Year Deal

Wednesday, March 11

NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported that Sheard and the Patriots have agreed to a two-year contract:

Ian Rapoport @RapSheet

The #Patriots signed former #Browns DE Jabaal Sheard to a 2-year deal worth $11M. $5.5M guaranteed. They liked him in the draft.

ESPN's Adam Schefter reported Tuesday that Sheard would visit the Patriots Tuesday night, specifying there was no deal in place yet.

On Monday, Yahoo Sports' Rand Getlin reported that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Cincinnati Bengals, Seattle Seahawks and Patriots had shown interest in Sheard. Getlin added that Sheard "is going to be a steal for one of these teams."

Sheard has been a steady Browns contributor since the team chose him in the second round of the 2011 NFL draft. After starting his career as more of a pass-rusher, he evolved and used his athleticism to play coverage more often and develop a better all-around game.

Browns defensive coordinator Jim O'Neil said toward the end of the 2014 campaign that Sheard was the team's best run-stopper at outside linebacker, per the Akron Beacon Journal's Nate Ulrich:

Nate Ulrich @NateUlrichABJ

#Browns DC Jim O'Neil: Jabaal Sheard is probably our best OLB against the run.

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After Cleveland's Week 17 loss to Baltimore, Sheard weighed in on his future:

Jabaal Sheard @jabaalsheard

Not the way I thought we would go out. Much improvement from the last 3 years. It been a fun year learned a lot here th

Jabaal Sheard @jabaalsheard

anks to all the fans who believed in me!!!! Gave me a chance hope to be back next year if not good luck

With the Patriots reeling in Sheard, they might be getting one of the more underrated front-seven playmakers on the open market. He should add depth and make an immediate impact in the AFC East, where each of the teams within the division have been active in free agency.

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