For the past few seasons, free agency has rolled around for the Dallas Cowboys and they have done exactly what we thought they would do. Rather than spend money early in free agency or be aggressive in the trade market, the Cowboys prefer to let the market settle and pick their spots in terms of who they want to add.
The only way this strategy can be sustainable is if they draft well and they extend the players they draft to second contracts. But in the event where the Cowboys bring in players through free agency, they also have to be smart with the contracts they give out.
One team that has been extremely active so far this offseason is the Seattle Seahawks. By releasing Richard Sherman and trading Michael Bennett, the Seahawks are committed to shedding salary cap and getting younger. They will also lose some of their current free agents like wide receiver Paul Richardson.
Richardson tweeted this Saturday afternoon:
One thing I do know is I had a ball in Seattle! ✊— Paul Richardson Jr (@prichiejr) March 10, 2018
With Richardson likely becoming a free agent, he should have plenty of interest. At 6-feet, with top-end speed and good hands to go with it, Richardson has quite the intriguing skillset. Add in that he is 25-years-old he should see somewhat of a strong free agency market.
Well, there is a chance that Richardson’s injury history could keep him from receiving a long-term deal. Richardson spent his first three years in Seattle in and out of the training room leading to missed games and inconsistent play. He finally put it together in 2017, his contract year. If he were to receive something long-term, Spotrac’s suggested long-term market value is four years for $26 million, roughly $6.3 million per year.
Dallas wants to let the market play itself out and then pounce on the opportunity to add players who should have already been signed. That could be the case with Richardson. If teams decide to add receivers through the draft rather than spending money in free agency, Richardson could get the short end of the stick. His injury history is always a concern, along with consistency.
Looking back at the 2014 NFL Draft when Richardson was a prospect, the Cowboys set up a private workout with the Colorado product:
Dallas already has a lot of money tied up in the receiver position, but they have been looking into receivers at the top of the draft, so that should prove that they are very interested in upgrading the receiver position.
Adding a player like Richardson would be huge for a variety of reasons. For starters, the addition of Richardson would allow the Cowboys to look elsewhere at the beginning of the draft. It would also give Dak Prescott and the Cowboys a unique combination of size and speed. Richardson can play either inside or outside and if he can stay healthy, he could really be a nice piece in the Cowboys’ offense.
It seemed that Dallas wanted to continue to give Brice Butler more opportunities in the 2017 season. But his tendency to drop passes and run the wrong route kept him from those opportunities. With Richardson, the Cowboys could get a fourth receiver involved to go along with Dez Bryant, Terrance Williams, and Cole Beasley.
With the Cowboys commitment to letting the market play itself out, Richardson is a name to watch because because of his injury history and his spot on the depth chart in Seattle, he could be overlooked at the start. If Richardson is still on the market by the second or third week of free agency, the Cowboys would be wise to offer a contract in the range of two-year deal worth $12 million and hope they can get lucky.