Most free agents get paid based on a presumption that past production will continue. Some get paid based on a prediction that new levels of production will be realized.
Washington paid receiver Paul Richardson on the possibility that he’ll step up in 2018. (If not, they paid him way too much.)
Richardon’s deal includes a $10 million signing bonus, along with a fully guaranteed base salary of $1.5 million in 2018.
His 2019 base salary of $5 million is guaranteed for injury at the time of signing, and $1 million of that amount is fully guaranteed. The balance becomes fully guaranteed on the fifth day of the 2019 league year.
The 2020 base salary of $5 million includes a $3.5 million injury guarantee at signing, $2 million of which is fully guaranteed.
In 2021 and 2022, Richardson has base salaries of $7.5 million each year. The contract also has per-game roster bonuses of $500,000 each year, along with $150,000 in de-escalators based on participation in the offseason workout program.
That’s a great deal, given that Richardson’s best season in Seattle came last year, with 44 catches, 703 receiving yards, and six touchdowns. In three seasons before that, the former second-round pick had 51 catches for 599 yards and two touchdowns. Combined.
It remains to be seen what Richardson does in Washington. A year after the team signed Terrelle Pryor to a one-year deal based on the hope that he’d take off in their offense (and didn’t), Washington to rolling the dice with a much longer commitment, and a much bigger investment.