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NFL Free Agency: New York Jets signing DT Sheldon Rankins - Reports

Sheldon Rankins last played in the NFL for the New Orleans Saints
Sheldon Rankins last played in the NFL for the New Orleans Saints
Tyler Wombles
Modified 22 Mar 2021

Sheldon Rankins has a new home. The 26-year-old defensive tackle is signing a two-year contract with the New York Jets, according to multiple reports Sunday.

Rankins can earn $17 million via the new deal, ESPN reported, citing a source. NFL Network's Mike Garafolo also revealed the money on Rankins' contract.

He spent the past five seasons with the New Orleans Saints after they drafted him with the No. 12 overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. Before joining the Saints, Sheldon Rankins was a star in college football for the Louisville Cardinals.

Despite his massive potential, Rankins struggled due to injuries during his five years in New Orleans, starting with a fractured fibula and culminating in multiple missed games each season he has been in the league.

The Saints exercised Sheldon Rankins' fifth-year option worth $7.69 million this past season, but in November, he was placed on injured reserve because of a knee injury before being activated the next month.

Sheldon Rankins should help revamped New York Jets defense in the 2021 NFL season

The New York Jets are acquiring Sheldon Rankins, pictured here in NFL action for the New Orleans Saints
The New York Jets are acquiring Sheldon Rankins, pictured here in NFL action for the New Orleans Saints

Rankins should pair well with new New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh, who is the former San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator. Saleh, a defensive mastermind, is looking to revitalize the beleaguered Jets unit with his patented 4-3 scheme, and Sheldon Rankins looks set to play a key role in Saleh's effort.


The New York Jets also recently signed defensive end Carl Lawson on a three-year, $45 million contract and linebacker Jarrad Davis on a one-year, $5.5 million contract, and adding Rankins only further beefs up that defense.

Quinnen Williams and Folorunso Fatukasi were already on the roster, plus other players whom Saleh will be able to build off of and Rankins should be able to gel well with.

Sheldon Rankins has 116 total tackles, 17.5 sacks, 25 tackles-for-a-loss, 44 quarterback hits and one interception so far in his NFL career. He totaled 133 tackles, 18 sacks, 31.5 tackles-for-a-loss and two interceptions during his college career at Louisville.

The Jets' signing of Rankins was well-received by many NFL fans and analysts, including The Athletic's Connor Hughes, who foreshadowed what a Rankins-featured defensive unit could look like.

"Robert Saleh’s defense was at its best with Bosa, Armstead, Buckner and Thomas," Hughes tweeted Sunday. "Sheldon Rankins another piece in building that type of a front with #Jets."

SNY's Ralph Vacchiano noted how the New York Jets are taking a high-risk, high-reward bet by signing Rankins.

"DT Sheldon Rankins, now the presumed starter next to Quinnen Williams in Robert Saleh's 4-3 defense, had 8 sacks in 2018," Vacchiano tweeted Sunday. "But he tore his Achilles in the playoffs that year and battled ankle and knee injuries the next two years. The New York Jets are making a big bet on his return to health."
Published 22 Mar 2021, 11:40 IST
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