The interior line was beaten down quite a bit. Long drives and a lack of depth killed them in the long run but inconsistent play by Sheldon Richardson didn’t help either. Richardson has never lived up to his draft selection and despite his lone Pro Bowl appearance in his second season, he has largely been ineffective and at times a bust of a player.
He showed some flashes last year, but nothing to write home about. What saves Richardson is that he’s the best available. You’re not going to cut him because you found someone better. Maybe there’s an undrafted free agent on the squad who can take his spot but that’s nothing to count on or expect.
Bringing in Domata Peko isn’t meant as a replacement for Richardson or Larry Ogunjobi. Mostly because I think Ogunjobi is a bonafide great player and should get a new contract. Hopefully. If he earns it. The team needs depth at tackle though. He’s not here to force Richardson or Ogunjobi out. Just to provide some veteran depth if either man gets hurt or if new signing Andrew Billings fails to impress or gets hurt himself.
Teams often carry four if not five defensive tackles in a 4-3 defense. There’s room for him on the roster if he can earn it.
Especially considering the AFC North is going to be run-heavy this year. Last year was the only year Peko had any sort of injury issue and has largely been healthy and productive for the length of his career across Cincinnati and Denver. He’s a good run stopper up the middle but you maybe shouldn’t rely on him to play 65% or more of the snaps on defense.
As mentioned before, he’s a depth signing, not a starter signing.