You can’t blame Sheldon Richardson and Tom Johnson for having axes to grind Monday night against the Seahawks — who, by the way, could have used either guy this season.
To recap why the defensive tackles are displeased with the Seahawks: Seattle lowballed Richardson before free agency and cut Johnson in September.
Richardson said the Seahawks offered him $4 million or $5 million (another report had indicated $6.5 million) — he got $8 million on a one-year deal with the Vikings.
“The contract they offered me was terrible,’’ Richardson told the Pioneer Press. “It wasn’t what they told me when I left after the exit meetings. I don’t know who came up with the numbers. When my agent told me the offer, I told him, ‘They can keep that.’ They set my market low.”
Richardson was acquired in a “Big Bang” deal in September 2017 as the Seahawks thought they were going to make another Super Bowl run. But they failed to use him to best effect, and he ended up with just one sack — a factor that obviously played into his depressed market in free agency.
Richardson said the Seahawks misused him, taking him off the field on third downs “for about four or five weeks.”
The Hawks were never going to pay Richardson a lot of money — even after saving $11 million by cutting Richard Sherman. Instead, Richardson basically swapped teams with Shamar Stephen and Johnson, who cost Seattle half what the Vikings paid Richardson.
Johnson started the first game for Seattle and then was cut in a move reminiscent — though not quite as embarrassing to John Schneider and company — of Dwight Freeney’s ridiculous release in 2017.
“I didn’t agree with it, but it was a business decision,” Johnson said. “They didn’t want to put one of their younger guys (on waivers), and D-line was the only position that didn’t have any injuries. It didn’t have anything to do with my talent or my ability. Obviously, I’m the better player, but it was a strategic thing.”
The Seahawks never should have cut Johnson, who has 3.5 sacks (along with Richardson) and could have helped Jarran Reed (6.5 sacks) with Seattle’s paltry inside rush.
As Johnson said, “I’m sure, compared with the guys that they have, that I would be a good addition to … what they’ve got going on.”
Now, they had better hope he doesn’t add enough for the Vikings to beat the Seahawks on Monday.