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