Richardson signed to help Browns’ defense

CLEVELAND — Browns general manager John Dorsey has built a fearsome front on defense.

One week after acquiring end Olivier Vernon in a trade, Cleveland added an inside presence to its line by agreeing with free agent tackle Sheldon Richardson on a three-year, $39 million contract, a person familiar with the deal told The Associated Press on Tuesday.

Richardson, who has played with three other teams since 2013 and been suspended twice by the NFL, will receive $21.5 million guaranteed, said the person, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because league rules prohibit teams from announcing signings until 4 p.m. today.

ESPN first reported the agreement.

The Browns have also decided to bring back wide receiver Breshad Perriman, who has agreed to a one-year, $4 million deal for next season, the person said. Perriman revived his career with Cleveland last season after being released by Baltimore.

The imminent signing of the 28-year-old Richardson gives the Browns a potentially menacing front four as he’ll play alongside Pro Bowl end Myles Garrett, who had 13 ¢ sacks last season and has 20 in 27 career games.

Richardson will help the Browns get to the quarterback and plug the middle. The 6-foot-3, 295-pounder spent last season with Minnesota, where he had 49 tackles and 4 ¢ sacks in 16 games. In six seasons as a pro, he has 23 ¢ sacks and 195 tackles in 87 games.

Vernon, who didn’t live up to expectations the past few seasons, gives Cleveland another threat off the edge, and Larry Ogunjobi emerged last season as a dependable run stopper.

Cleveland’s defense ranked No. 30 overall last season and had 37 sacks, and Dorsey has made upgrading the front seven an offseason priority.

Perriman gives Mayfield another target and a player with whom he has built a connection. A first-round pick in 2015, Perriman was a bust with the Ravens and they cut him before last season.

He signed with the Browns in October after a rash of injuries ruined Cleveland’s depth and was a pleasant surprise, finishing with 16 receptions for 340 yards and two touchdowns in 10 games. He expressed his desire to stay with the Browns and the team and agent struck a deal before he was set to hit the open market.

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