The Redskins are expected to sign wide receiver Paul Richardson to a five-year, $40MM deal, according to Mike Garafolo of NFL.com (on Twitter). The deal includes $20MM in guarantees. Adam Caplan of SiriusXM (on Twitter) first reported that a deal could be on the horizon.
Richardson has reportedly been on the Redskins’ radar for a while. The Redskins were also targeting Allen Robinson, but this year’s top free agent wide receiver has agreed to terms with the Bears. There aren’t a ton of quality WRs available in this year’s crop, but Richardson is among the best.
Richardson stepped into a larger role last year after the Seahawks shipped Jermaine Kearse to the Jets. Richardson, who doesn’t turn 26 until April, averaged 16 yards per grab for Seattle.
The Redskins have been looking for a speedy complement to Josh Doctson and Richardson would fit the bill. With Richardson in the fold, it seems unlikely that they will roll the dice on Terrelle Pryor for another season.
Free agency doesn’t technically begin until Wednesday, but things are already off to a rollicking start for this year’s available wide receivers.
Sammy Watkins has agreed to a three-year, $48MM deal with the Chiefs, and the Bears have agreed to a three-year, $42MM deal with Allen Robinson. Richardson, who was ranked as our sixth-best wide receiver heading into free agency, has matched the $8MM average annual value of Kenny Britt‘s free agent deal from last offseason while adding another year and nearly doubling his guarantees.
This is a nice haul for Richardson, who had not put together much of relevance until his contract year. Having torn an ACL in the playoffs as a rookie, Richardson then played in just one game in 2015. After serving as a lower-level supporting-cast cog in 2016, the former second-round pick broke out last year in averaging 16.0 yards per catch and gaining 703 air yards. He scored six touchdowns in what turned out to be a critical year in his career.
Richardson will be a key piece of a revamped Redskins offense, joining Alex Smith. Jamison Crowder and Jordan Reed will again be expected to play big roles, with Chris Thompson doing so as well, assuming he returns from his season-ending injury.
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