NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Thursday that Seattle is unlikely to slap the franchise label on the defensive tackle they traded for in September.
Echoing what coach Pete Carroll said after the season, Rapoport noted that Seattle would like to keep Richardson around for the long term, but the team hopes that can happen without applying the tag, which would cost them about $14 million.
The 6-foot-3, 295-pound behemoth rewarded them with just one sack over 15 appearances, but Richardson was solid against the run and fit in well with Seattle's scheme.
"I definitely expect to be back here," Richardson said in January, per Pro Football Talk. "They haven't threw out a number or nothing but they said they wanted me back so that's a plus in my book."
In his season-ending news conference, Carroll agreed, saying: "If we could be fortunate enough to get Sheldon back, that would be huge."
The current Seahawks regime has been averse to the tag, refusing to apply it since franchising kicker Olindo Mare in 2010.
If the Seahawks truly want him back -- which appears to be the case -- they must believe a long-term deal can be struck minus any significant drama.