RENTON — The Seahawks are officially bringing back Paul Richardson to add depth to an injury-depleted wide-receiver position after he had a tryout with the team earlier this week.
Richardson figures to compete for the third receiver spot, which had been ticketed for free-agent signee Phillip Dorsett II. Dorsett is one of three receivers dealing with injuries.
The signing of Richardson was first reported by Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network and officially listed on the league’s transactions wire Saturday afternoon. The Seahawks waived undrafted rookie free-agent defensive end Eli Mencer as injured to make room for Richardson on the 80-man roster.
Dorsett’s injury — a lingering sore foot — may be the one that most factored in to the Seahawks’ interest in Richardson. Dorsett hasn’t practiced in a week due to the foot, which coach Pete Carroll said earlier this week could have to be monitored for a while. John Ursua has also been out much of the week with a hamstring tweak and Cody Thompson has also been out with an undisclosed injury.
That has left the Seahawks with eight healthy receivers in practice, including Jayson Stanley, a cornerback who was moved to offense this week. He played receiver at Georgia.
Most problematic of those injuries is Dorsett’s. Carroll said the receiver has been dealing with the sore foot for “a while.” Dorsett was signed in March with the hope he could take over the No. 3 receiving spot to complement Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf.
Carroll said earlier in camp that Dorsett is the fastest player the Seahawks have had in his tenure leading to optimism that he could fill the third-receiver spot that they struggled with last season. But there remains no clear indication when he will return (Ursua is expected back any day).
Richardson not only adds depth but also competition for the final few receiver spots on the 53-man roster. Teams have to make their cuts in a week and as of now, Richardson would seem ticketed for a spot on the roster.
Richardson was the Seahawks’ first pick in the 2014 draft, taken 45th overall, and had 95 receptions for 1,302 yards and eight touchdowns in four seasons. He played just one game in 2015 due to knee and hamstring injuries.
He signed a five-year deal worth up to $40 million with Washington in the spring of 2018, but he battled injuries each of the last two seasons and was released in February having played in just 17 games and making 48 catches for 507 yards and four touchdowns.
Carroll said Wednesday the team wanted to see if Richardson was healthy before signing him after he ended last season on injured reserve with a hamstring injury. He also had to go through the league’s COVID-19 testing protocol.
The Seahawks also brought in center Justin Britt for a tryout Wednesday. But no signing of Britt is regarded as imminent as the team used the tryout to get a look at where he is in his recovery from an ACL injury suffered Oct. 27 at Atlanta.
Lockett and Metcalf are secure as the top two receivers, and Dorsett’s injury doesn’t appear severe enough to require a roster move.
If the assumption is that Richardson will have a roster spot, that could leave David Moore, Ursua and Freddie Swain battling for a final spot or two at receiver. Any waived receiver, though, would figure to be a candidate for the practice squad. Every player has practice squad eligibility this year and up to six players with any amount of experience can be on the PS, which this year will include 16 players rather than 10.
Moore could be the most at risk since he has a one-year contract worth $2.13 million as a restricted free agent.
There has also been speculation that the Seahawks could sign Josh Gordon if he is reinstated by the NFL after being placed on indefinite suspension last December for violating the league’s policies on performance enhancing drugs and substances of abuse.
But it’s unclear when a decision will be made, and if Gordon will be further suspended (most speculation is that Gordon will be suspended for at least two more games after he missed the last four games of last season to fulfill a six-game suspension for PEDs).