Seahawks Rumors: Seattle Won't Use Franchise Tag on Sheldon Richardson

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistFebruary 22, 2018

JACKSONVILLE, FL - DECEMBER 10:  Sheldon Richardson #91 of the Seattle Seahawks walks off the field during the second half of their game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field on December 10, 2017 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

The Seattle Seahawks reportedly want to keep defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson "long-term," according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, but "a tag is unlikely."

Using the franchise tag on Richardson would cost the team around $14 million, per Marc Sessler of NFL.com.

The Seahawks acquired Richardson in a trade with the New York Jets just before the start of the regular season, sending wideout Jermaine Kearse and a 2018 second-round pick the other way. Richardson, 27, responded with a solid season, registering 44 tackles, two fumble recoveries, a sack, a forced fumble and an interception.

Pro Football Focus gave him a grade of 83.8 on the season, the 27th-best mark amongst interior defensive linemen.

After the season, Richardson said he wanted to return to Seattle.

"I definitely expect to be back here," he said in January, per Curtis Crabtree of Pro Football Talk, adding: "They haven't threw out a number or nothing but they said they wanted me back so that's a plus in my book."

Head coach Pete Carroll also expressed an interest in retaining the player.

"If we could be fortunate enough to get Sheldon back, that would be huge," he said, per Crabtree.

The Seahawks will have Jarran Reed, Nazair Jones and Malik McDowell available at the position, however, leaving them with some flexibility and leverage in any contract talks. On the other hand, Richardson is an experienced and proven player on a defense that could be facing the possibility of missing veterans like Cliff Avril and Kam Chancellor because of neck injuries.

A reunion makes sense for both sides, but with the Seahawks projected to have around $14 million in cap space, it's certainly feasible the Seahawks could lose out to higher bidders in free agency if they indeed eschew using a franchise or transition tag.

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