Saints defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins is headed into free agency for the first time and he knows that his health is a question that teams will have this season.
Rankins tore his left Achilles in the 2018 playoffs and then had surgery on his right Achilles the next year to prevent another tear. He returned to play 12 games in 2020, but wasn’t playing at the same level he was at before the first injury.
During an appearance on SiriusXM NFL Radio, Rankins said that he felt all the way back from his left Achilles injury during the season but was still bothered by the right side. After more than a month away from the field, Rankins said he’s continued to round into his old form.
“Now, I legit wake up and feel like me again,” Rankins said. “I can run around and have that bounce in my step that I know I used to have. That’s exciting for me. Going into free agency, that’s why it’s exciting for me, because I know that no matter where I end up, you can cut that 2018 tape on and say that’s the guy you’re getting.”
That 2018 tape will show that Rankins had eight sacks and 15 quarterback hits, but he may need to sign a one-year deal to prove he’s back to that form this offseason.