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Seahawks should sit out this game of tag with Sheldon Richardson

Former Seahawks DT Sheldon Richardson has reportedly signed with the Vikings. (AP)

There’s increasing chatter that the Seahawks may in fact place a franchise tag on Sheldon Richardson.

John Clayton said it last week. Bob Condotta of The Seattle Times, the hardest-working man in sports journalism not to mention its loudest typer, collated all of the opinions in that regard.

Sorry, I just don’t get it.

Clayton: Seahawks have to be careful in free agency

Not the reports. They spell out the economic rationale pretty clearly. Richardson is a player the Seahawks gave up a second-round pick to acquire last year, paid him $8 million for 16 games of above-average performance at defensive tackle and probably don’t want to lose him for nothing.

Sorry, but if the Seahawks use the franchise tag on Richardson it will say more about their team than it does about Richardson.

He has been a good player. He’s extraordinarily athletic and has shown the ability to be incredibly disruptive as he was when the Seahawks beat eventual Super Bowl champion Philadelphia.

But Richardson wasn’t great. He had one sack. And if he wasn’t great in the year where he had the most financial incentive to do so, what are the chances he’s going to be more impactful after he gets paid more money?

And the more Richardson is discussed, the more I find myself thinking back to the decision that Seattle made in 2015 when the Seahawks decided not to exercise a fifth-year option on Bruce Irvin. It was for less money ($7.8 million) and Irvin was a more productive player for the Seahawks.

Not only that, but Seattle has a proven track record of finding competent defensive tackles at more affordable salaries whether it was re-signing Brandon Mebane or adding Alan Branch or more recently Tony McDaniel.

Is Richardson really twice as good as any of those players? Because he’s going to cost up to three times as much, and before you say that Seattle’s doing it to leverage trade compensation out of a team that does want to sign Richardson, you need to remember that a franchise tender becomes fully guaranteed the moment a player signs it. If a team uses the tag, it has to be ready to pay the salary that comes with it if the player chooses to go that route.

And if Seattle’s willing to pay that, I think it says more about the depth of talent on Seattle’s roster as opposed to the ability of Richardson.