After signing a contract with the Redskins off his best season to date in the NFL, new wide receiver Paul Richardson Jr. wants to prove he's worth the price of admission.
Wide receiver Paul Richardson signed a new deal with the Washington Redskins on Thursday.
The former second-round selection spent the first four years of his NFL career with the Seattle Seahawks, including a breakout season in 2017.
The dynamic wideout, who clocked a 4.40 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine and set a handful of receiving records at the University of Colorado, will add a legitimate deep threat to the Redskins receiving corps.
Richardson chose Washington for the next chapter of his career, crediting a pair of fellow former Redskins wide receivers for helping to point him in the right direction.
“I’m friends with DeSean [Jackson]. I’m friends with Pierre [Garçon],” Richardson said. “They’re both great guys, great receivers. When Pierre told me this would be a great fit for me, I trusted him.”
Richardson did his research before making a decision, and liked what he saw from the Redskins offense under head coach Jay Gruden.
“I pay attention to teams,” Richardson said. “I just see where guys are getting open, seeing windows that I’ve never seen before, I just could picture myself in those windows. So I’m looking forward to different concepts, how they get guys open and I think I will be able to contribute.”
Richardson knows exactly what he will bring to the table with the Redskins.
The speedster will add another weapon to Washington’s retooled offense and likely become one of new Redskins quarterback Alex Smith’s primary targets.
“Just provide some speed downfield,” Richardson said of his addition. “We’ve got some great guys - got [Josh] Doctson, got [Jamison] Crowder, got Alex . So I’m just going to come in and fill my role, beat guys downfield, take the top off of coverages, challenge people downfield.”
After drawing comparisons early in his career to Jackson, Richardson will strive to build on their similar skillsets in Washington.
“I look up to him a lot,” Richardson said, “Especially how he sets guys up in his routes. I think that we have a lot of the same qualities. I think that I do add the ‘going up and get it’ aspect. I like going up against defenders and turning 50/50 balls into 100 percent mine. That’s the other element that I will bring.”
Richardson hopes to form a relationship with Smith right away.
“I want to be able to come in and develop chemistry with him,” Richardson said. “I want to be able to develop some trust and yeah, I want him to know I’m always available.”
“Like just throw it,” Richardson continue with a laugh. “It doesn’t matter where it is, I’m going to go get it and I’m going to turn him into a believer.”
The Redskins’ newest receiver has plenty of faith in Smith’s dual-threat abilities, calling his new quarterback “dangerous.”
“What stands out about Alex is he doesn’t have to leave the pocket,” Richardson said. “He can deliver balls on time in the pocket and then when he does scramble, he’s dangerous. He can go get the yards himself or he’s going to find whoever’s available that’s working with him to make plays. I really appreciate Alex’s skillset. I think that it will help me grow as a receiver.”
After a breakout 2017 campaign where he racked up 703 yards and six touchdowns, Richardson still has plenty of room to build on his success.
“I think with my frame, I was able to surprise people by how I attack the ball in the air,” he said. “And that’s a lot for a guy to do, especially running fast. I just want to compete for balls downfield, make plays going across the middle, catch and run.”
The six-foot, 183-pound receiver doesn’t pay attention to people who question his stature and ability to make plays in the middle of the field.
“They’ve got to catch me,” he said with a laugh. “I’m not big on trash talk and all that stuff, but you’ve got to catch me.”
Richardson knows he has barely scratched the surface of his potential. While last season showed flashes of what he is capable of, Richardson knows there is much more to come.
“I don’t think I’ve scratched it,” Richardson said. “I think I was able to open some eyes and create an opportunity for myself to grow even more and to be able to show just everything that I was brought in this league to do. To challenge guys, to compete for balls and to make big plays, I really enjoy that.”
A new start in Washington could finally give Richardson the opportunity to make more plays than he has in the past.
“There’s guys that have more targets in one season than I have had in my whole career,” Richardson said, “but I make the most of my opportunities and I really take a lot of pride in somebody being able to look my way and just trust that wherever the ball is going to be that I’m going to make the play. So whether it’s a ton or balls, whether it’s a few, I’m going to make the most of whatever it is and turn it into whatever I can.”
While his newly signed contract might put some pressure on Richardson’s shoulders, he is choosing to use it as motivation moving forward.
“I feel like I have a burden to prove something all the time, every time I touch the field,” he said. “So this contract is motivation - it’s a lot of motivation. I think that yeah, there is a little bit of a burden but I welcome it. I’m embracing it and I’m just going to have fun with it.”