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Paul Richardson out for the rest of the season

NFL: Green Bay Packers at Washington Redskins Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Paul Richardson, a former second round pick of the Seahawks who had 703 yards for Seattle in 2017 and left in free agency to join Washington, is headed to injured reserve according to several reports on Monday. Richardson will have surgery on his AC joint. Washington also lost it’s two starting guards.

Richardson was slow to get going during his rookie season in 2014, but started to show progress at year’s end only to tear his ACL in a playoff game against Carolina. That injury forced Richardson to miss the first eight games of 2015 and just one game into his return he suffered a hamstring issue that caused him to sit out for the rest of the year. Richardson returned in 2016 but was mostly an afterthought at receiver up until he started showing up and making big plays in Seattle’s quest for a fifth straight playoff appearance; he made one of the most unbelievable touchdown catches in NFL history against the Detroit Lions and had 83 yards in the Seahawks divisional round loss to the Atlanta Falcons.

The trade of Jermaine Kearse in 2017 opened the door for Richardson to start and he contributed 44 catches for 703 yards and six touchdowns. The numbers were decent for Seattle’s offense, but Richardson’s highlights only tease at a ceiling that has never really materialized. The team opted to let him leave in free agency without a fight and Washington inked him to a five-year deal worth up to $40 million. Richardson had $12.5 million guaranteed at signing, including a $10 million signing bonus, a $1.5 million base salary for 2018, and $1 million guaranteed for 2019.

In reality, Washington’s going to have little financial gain to release Richardson any sooner than 2021, putting him squarely in the team’s plans for 2019 regardless. It may seem too early to even bring up what Washington’s options are for parting ways with Richardson, but given the historical context in regards to injuries and his lackluster contributions to Jay Gruden’s offense so far (20 catches for 262 yards and two touchdowns over eight games), this deal is off to a rough start.

Of course, this is disappointing news for everyone, and I hope Richardson returns healthy at the start of 2019 to prove he can still put all the pieces together.