Sheldon Rankins agrees to free agent contract with the Jets

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John Sigler
·2 min read
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NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo reported Sunday that New Orleans Saints defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins is leaving for a $17 million, two-year deal with the New York Jets. Rankins had a busy free agency; Garafolo’s NFL Network colleague Tom Pelissero added that the Jets outbid an offer from the Cincinnati Bengals (who recently signed Rankins’ teammates Trey Hendrickson and Vonn Bell), while The Athletic’s Katherine Terrell added that the San Francisco 49ers and Las Vegas Raiders were each suitors.

It’s easy to see why he received so much interest. Rankins will turn 27 in a few weeks and has been very productive when healthy, though injuries have caused him to fall short of expectations as 2015’s twelfth overall draft pick. He’ll be in a good position to shake (or shimmy) back next to imposing lineman Quinnen Williams in first-year head coach Robert Saleh’s defense.

Rankins will also join former Saints special teams standout Justin Hardee (who inked a three-year contract with New York) when the Jets host New Orleans during the 2021 regular season. Here’s hoping he takes it easy on his old teammates after racking up 17.5 sacks and 44 quarterback hits in 63 games with them (plus five playoff appearances).

We won’t know for sure until the NFL announces 2022 compensatory draft picks next offseason, but if things stay the same the Saints would project to recoup a fifth round pick for Rankins’ departure. That’s along with the third or fourth rounder they expect to receive after Trey Hendrickson signed with Cincinnati, though the addition of fullback Alex Armah wiped out a seventh rounder for Hardee. There’s a lot of factors in play including more roster moves for the Saints, but they could use the additional picks after the league office forfeited their 2022 sixth rounder for COVID-19 protocols violations.