The New England Patriots remain active on the second day of free agency. This time, the team added to its defensive front seven by signing free agent linebacker Jabaal Sheard to a two-year, $11 million deal, according to Aaron Wilson:
Jabaal Sheard Patriots two-year deal, $11 million, $4 million bonus, salaries $1 million, $4 million; roster bonuses $1 million, $1 million— Aaron Wilson (@RavensInsider) March 11, 2015
The 25-year old was originally drafted by the Cleveland Browns out of Pittsburgh in the second round of the 2011 NFL Draft. In his four years in Ohio, Sheard appeared in 61 games and recorded 23.0 sacks.
This move, which has written Mike Lombardi (the former Browns General Manager) all over it, most likely bolsters New England's pass rush and therefore might help compensate the loss of cornerback Darrelle Revis a little bit. While Sheard played as an outside linebacker in Cleveland's 3-4 defensive scheme, he might switch to defensive end in New England (similar to Akeem Ayers) and projects to be a 3-down player.
Furthermore, as Rich Hill pointed out, this move also adds depth to the Patriots' defensive edges, where Chandler Jones and Rob Ninkovich have played the vast majority of snaps the last few seasons.