The fourth-year player operated as the Packers’ fourth safety last season, but his value comes from his special teams contributions. Richardson led the Packers with 361 special teams snaps and 13 special teams tackles last year, and Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel makes a case for why the Packers will keep him around next season.
Green Bay, which assigned Richardson a low-end tenure as a restricted free agent last month, played Richardson on just 121 defensive snaps last season and return top three safeties Morgan Burnett, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Micah Hyde. Should the Packers match, Richardson as of now would become their 13th-highest-paid player, with a 2015 salary exceeding Hyde and Clinton-Dix. Richardson would also be one of the richest special teams performers in the league, topping Pro Bowlers Matt Slater, Justin Bethel and Darrell Stuckey, according to Silverstein.
Silverstein reminds this situation is similar to a 2008 scenario where Packers GM Ted Thompson matched a Titans offer for Jarrett Bush, a fellow special-teamer whose Packers career went on to last nine seasons after he re-signed again with the team in 2012. There remains a chance Bush, who will be 31 when the season starts, could return to Green Bay. But he’s an unrestricted free agent coming off surgery at an advanced age for exclusive kick- and punt-coverage players.
Since Richardson, 25, came into the league undrafted out of Vanderbilt, the Packers wouldn’t receive any compensation should they not match the Raiders’ offer. Despite lucrative extensions for Randall Cobb and Bryan Bulaga, the Packers can easily afford to keep Richardson, with $17.7MM worth of cap space. They would save $1.5MM by not matching Richardson’s offer.
The Raiders have $20.7MM of room and would likely present a better chance at defensive playing time, with recently signed Nate Allen and 38-year-old Charles Woodson slotting as Oakland starting safeties and scant depth behind them.