Defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson said after Sunday’s loss to the Arizona Cardinals that he expects to be back with the Seattle Seahawks in 2018.
“Yeah I do, actually. I definitely expect to be back here,” he said.
Richardson is set to be an unrestricted free agent in March. The Seahawks acquired Richardson from the New York Jets on Sept. 1 in exchange for wide receiver Jermaine Kearse and a swap of draft picks. He started 15 games for the Seahawks this season.
Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll expressed a desire to have Richardson back as well next season.
“If we could be fortunate enough to get Sheldon back, that would be huge,” Carroll said on Tuesday.
Richardson said the team has spoken to him already about bringing him back as well.
“They haven’t threw out a number or nothing but they said they wanted me back so that’s a plus in my book,” Richardson said.
The obvious desire for Richardson to be back in 2018 could be a heavy indictment about what the Seahawks feel the chances are for 2017 second-round pick Malik McDowell to be able to play at all.
McDowell was injured in mid-July in an ATV accident prior to the start of training camp. He sustained a severe concussion and additional injuries that keep him off the field the entire season. He was placed on the non-football injury list at the start of training camp and remained on the list all year.
With Jarran Reed and Nazair Jones back next year and a healthy McDowell available to play, the need to bring Richardson back is probably not nearly as acute. The Seahawks trade to acquire Richardson came directly in response to McDowell’s unavailability this season.
“We had some really clear thoughts about how our roster was going to come together and one of our guys that we drafted very high wasn’t able to play,” Carroll said. “So we made a big move and found a fairly young guy in Sheldon Richardson.”
If McDowell isn’t expected to be cleared to play, the notion of bringing Richardson back makes significantly more sense for Seattle.