The Washington Redskins stepped up their efforts to address key roster needs Tuesday, filling one of them by agreeing to a contract with former Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Paul Richardson. The contract, when signed, will be for five years and $40 million (with $20 million guaranteed), according to a person familiar with the discussions.
Washington also made overtures to defensive back Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson, both of whom met with coaches Tuesday after Wilkerson spent Monday dining with team personnel. On Tuesday night, multiple reports indicated Wilkerson had agreed to a deal with the Green Bay Packers, but Rodgers-Cromartie remained on the market.
The Redskins said goodbye to 2014 fourth-round pick Bashaud Breeland. The cornerback agreed to a deal to join the Carolina Panthers, completing his expected exit from Washington. The contract is a three-year deal worth $24 million, including $11 million guaranteed; Breeland, 26, could earn another $2 million in escalators and incentives, according to a person familiar with the discussions. It was clear he wanted to test the free agent market, and the Redskins weren’t prepared to pay what the player believed he was worth.
Free agent signings and trades do not become official until the new league year begins at 4 p.m. Wednesday.
The Redskins had been actively chasing a wide receiver to line up opposite Josh Doctson during free agency. The 6-foot, 175-pound Richardson was arguably the top talent remaining after the Chicago Bears came to terms with former Jacksonville wide receiver Allen Robinson, and the Kansas City Chiefs reached an agreement with Sammy Watkins, formerly of the Los Angeles Rams.
The Watkins deal is reportedly for three years and $48 million, with $30 million guaranteed. Reports have Robinson getting $42 million for three years, with $25 million guaranteed.
The addition of Richardson, who turns 26 next month, will be a boost for new quarterback Alex Smith. Richardson had 44 receptions for 703 yards and six touchdowns in 2017, all career highs.
Other teams courted him, but Richardson identified Washington as the place he wanted to be, a person familiar with the discussions told The Post. He wanted to play for a contender and believes the Redskins are in a competitive position.
The four-year veteran was drafted by the Seahawks in the second round (45th overall) in 2014 out of Colorado. He brings a downfield-speed element to complement Doctson, slot receiver Jamison Crowder and tight end Jordan Reed.
Smith had a strong connection with speedster Tyreek Hill last season in Kansas City, shedding his dink-and-dunk reputation to become the most accurate passer on throws of more than 20 yards, according to Pro Football Focus, with a 56.5 percent adjusted completion percentage. That statistic accounts for drops, throwaways and passes when the quarterback is hit while throwing. Smith led the league with 1,344 deep passing yards and was 11th in the league with 12.3 percent of his passes going deep.
Richardson tore his left anterior cruciate ligament at the end of his rookie season in the playoffs against the Panthers. The injury kept him out of much of the 2015 season, and then a hamstring injury suffered in his first game back ended the rest of that campaign. He caught 21 passes for 288 yards and a touchdown in 2016.
The Redskins did not have a 1,000-yard receiver last season following the departures of DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon in free agency. Crowder led all Redskins players with 789 receiving yards.
Richardson’s addition suggested wide receivers Terrelle Pryor Sr. and Ryan Grant, both free agents, won’t return. And Tuesday night, Grant and the Baltimore Ravens agreed to a four-year deal worth $29 million, with $13 million guaranteed, a $10 million signing bonus and $3 million in incentives.
Grant played the past four seasons with the Redskins after being selected out of Tulane in the fifth round of the 2014 draft. He was Washington’s third-leading receiver last year, managing 573 yards. Pryor was one of Washington’s marquee offseason additions in 2017, coming off a 77-catch, 1,007-yard season with the Cleveland Browns. But injuries and dropped balls plagued Pryor, who recorded just 240 receiving yards in nine games. He was placed on injured reserve in late November with an ankle injury.
Completing a deal with Rodgers-Cromartie would help offset the departures of Breeland and Kendall Fuller, who was part of the trade to bring Smith from Kansas City. Rodgers-Cromartie was released by the New York Giants on Sunday.
The 31-year-old played 15 games for the Giants in 2017 and started six. He had 48 tackles, half a sack and no interceptions. The two-time Pro Bowler had six interceptions in 2016 and has missed just four games in the past six seasons. (One of those missed games was the result of a suspension imposed by former Giants coach Ben McAdoo.) Rodgers-Cromartie intercepted Kirk Cousins twice in the second half of a 19-10 loss in the 2016 regular season finale that cost Washington a spot in the playoffs.
The 10-year veteran was the No. 16 pick by the Arizona Cardinals in the 2008 draft, and his 30 interceptions are eighth among active players. His six interceptions returned for a touchdown are tied for third most among active players.
Day 2 of the NFL’s negotiating period was much more active for the Redskins than Day 1, when the team re-signed place kicker Dustin Hopkins and applied a second-round tender to restricted free agent tackle Ty Nsekhe. Hopkins’s deal is for three years for $7.75 million but could increase to $10.725 million based on incentives, according to a person familiar with the negotiations.
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