Monday thoughts: pass protection, Rams, Fred Davis

October 21st, 2013 | Written by Rob Staton

One of Pete Carroll's former players is on the trade block

Pass protection the debate of the day

How do you fix a problem created by injuries?

Essentially, that’s the dilemma facing the Seahawks. There really is only one area of the roster that can be listed as a concern right now, and that’s pass protection.

And it’s a very difficult problem to solve during the season.

Losing Russell Okung for several weeks was bad enough — but having to replace 4/5th’s of your line aggravates matters even further.

Granted things will get easier. Seattle has come up against some of the best pass rushing teams in the league — Carolina, San Francisco (with Aldon Smith), Houston and Indianapolis. There’s one more tough match-up next week against St. Louis and then a breather — Tampa Bay, Atlanta and Minnesota shouldn’t threaten even a make-shift line all that much.

The imminent return of Breno Giacomini will be a big boost. Michael Bowie, for all the potential he’s shown as a rookie, had a nightmare against the Cardinals. You have to expect the odd game like that considering his lack of experience.

Overall, however, I think there’s a perception that this is suddenly a big need — one that desperately needs to be addressed via the draft.

That might not strictly be the case. But I can see it.

For starters, there’s very little you can do about injuries. Look at all the big name stars that picked up season-enders on Sunday.

It’s probably a good thing Seattle didn’t play yesterday.

(Said only half joking)

Last season the Seahawks managed to avoid any serious injuries until the playoffs — when they lost Chris Clemons. This year they haven’t been anywhere near as fortunate. It happens. And it’s to their credit that they’ve still managed to achieve a 6-1 record without Okung, Giacomini, Percy Harvin and most recently Bobby Wagner (among others).

Seattle has stock invested in the future of the offensive line. Alvin Bailey showed a lot of promise in pre-season but has been MIA since. This might be a year too soon for Bailey, who took snaps mostly at left tackle during the summer despite playing guard at Arkansas. He looked fantastic at times. Considering who they’ve cut since (including multiple offensive linemen) this suggests they’re determined to keep working on Bailey perhaps with the idea of slotting him into a starting role for 2014.

It’s likely a similar situation for Bowie, despite being propelled into the team this year. All right, the Arizona game was ugly. But there’s also been some high points too. Just not enough yet to displace Giacomini permanently.

So the current issues with pass protection are possibly a little over-played. Not many teams can survive without their Pro-Bowl left tackle and center — let alone get to 6-1.

At the same time, I suspect the Bailey and Bowie projects are at least partly down to the likelihood of Giacomini and McQuistan not being re-signed next year. It’ll be tough to keep either with Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas and probably Michael Bennett expecting to be paid. I doubt it’s a coincidence that both rookies have taken snaps at tackle and guard as they potentially look to replace the versatility of McQuistan.

Bailey and Bowie might be considered quality, cheap depth rather than long term starters. So then it comes down to whether you let Tom Cable go after his guys late in the draft again, or whether you target this area much earlier (such as round one).

I’m open to the idea of drafting another right tackle in the first round, despite the fact it’s something I’ve been vehemently opposed to in the past. I just think it’s a position that can be filled without top end investment. The right tackle generally protects the quarterbacks strong side and in a lot of formations they also get tight end or running back help. Seattle has managed to plug in Giacomini relatively simply and contrary to a lot of complaints last year, he more than held his own against many of the NFL’s top pass rushers.

Yet the team is so stacked across the board and continues to find gems in the later rounds of the draft, UDFA or free agency. Even if they’re forced into a handful of high profile cuts in the off-season to save money, I think they’ve sufficiently planned and prepared for the future.

For example, if they choose to cut Brandon Mebane and save around $5m on his contract next season, they already drafted Jordan Hill in round three the previous year. It’s no stretch to think Hill, despite a quiet and injury-hit rookie year so far, will be thrust into action in 2014 as a possible new starting one-technique.

Likewise at receiver we’ve seen the continued development of Jermaine Kearse. Luke Willson might still play himself into a greater role, while Doug Baldwin has shown more than enough to justify greater attention in the passing game this year — let alone in 2014. If they cut Sidney Rice or lose Golden Tate, the addition of Percy Harvin gave Seattle a ready-made explosive target to pick up the slack.

Just as we’ve seen with Bowie and Bailey on the offensive line, the Seahawks are one step ahead of the game. Across the board.

So while I could easily see this team going WR, CB, DL or TE early in the draft, I could also see them going for that tackle who can come in and start right away. And as we’ve discussed many times already, the 2014 class will again feature a large number of offensive linemen going in the first round (see below for a list of names).

If the Seahawks want to add an offensive lineman in round one next year, they should be able to. Even if there’s another early rush on the position (it probably won’t be three of the top four picks like 2013, considering the depth at quarterback and presence of Jadeveon Clowney).

To go back to my initial question — how to fix this injury situation today — I’m not sure there’s much else that can be done right now. Wilson will have to keep avoiding pressure. The running game will be a little boom or bust at times. When Okung and Giacomini are both back in the line-up, however, this particular problem should ease.

Big time.

Possible early round offensive tackles in 2014

Jake Matthews (Texas A&M), Cyrus Kouandjio (Alabama), Antonio Richardson (Tennessee), Taylor Lewan (Michigan), Cedric Ogbuehi (Texas A&M), Cameron Erving (Florida State, James Hurst (North Carolina), Zack Martin (Notre Dame), Corey Robinson (South Carolina), Cameron Fleming (Stanford)

Obvious statement: the Seahawks need to keep winning

The NFC has quickly turned into a three-horse race for the #1 seed. Seattle and New Orleans have flirted with separation from the pack — and it’d be silly to count out San Francisco.

Green Bay could still get involved, but…. meh. They rely too much on Aaron Rodgers, as great as he is.

The three main contenders all face each other in the next few weeks, with New Orleans hosting the 49ers, San Francisco entertaining Seattle and the Seahawks getting a home game against the Saints.

Apart from that, there’s not a lot to worry about. The Saints face divisional road games against the disappointing Falcons and the tough-but-not-great Panthers. Seattle also goes to Atlanta but has a favourable schedule apart from that. The 49ers go to Washington but that’s about it.

Essentially this is going to be a battle to hold serve. All three teams will want it to come down to those games against each other, not lost opportunities beforehand.

The news of Sam Bradford’s season-ending knee injury will surely thrust back-up Kellen Clemens into a starting role. It’s a shame Matt Flynn was already signed by the Bills — it would’ve been interesting to see Seattle vs Flynn on MNF next week. In either scenario, the Seahawks have to win. A potential banana-skin of a contest has suddenly become extremely favourable.

The meeting with Tampa Bay at Century Link should take care of itself (well, it should…). The other two games before the double header against New Orleans and San Francisco?

Atlanta (A) and Minnesota (H).

Taking care of business is the name of the game right now.

Rams still some way off competing

Even with a healthy Sam Bradford, the St. Louis Rams have been a major disappointment this year. They’ve had the fortune of spending three first round picks in the last two drafts and will get two more in 2014.

They’ve also been fairly pro-active in free agency, while appointing one of the finest Head Coaches in the league.

And yet they still look so mediocre.

Seattle’s week one victory in Carolina was written off by some as a lucky escape at the time. Sunday’s comfortable victory for the Panthers over the Rams showed what a tough place it can be to get a victory.

So far St. Louis’ three wins have come against Arizona, Jacksonville and an imploding Houston team. They’ve been easily handled in games against Atlanta, Dallas, San Francisco and Carolina.

It doesn’t get any easier. After next weeks meeting with Seattle, they get the following — Tennessee (H), Indianapolis (A), Chicago (H), San Francisco (A), Arizona (A), New Orleans (H).

With Kellen Clemens at quarterback, or one of the newbies they intend to try-out, will they win any of those games?

If not, they could be staring at yet another top-ten pick and another season of misery.

People will ask questions about whether they’ve gone in the right direction under Jeff Fisher. Really, they had no choice.

Bradford’s contract, signed as a #1 overall pick in the old CBA, made him virtually immovable. When Fisher arrived in St. Louis, Bradford was just two-years into his career. That’s two years since he was almost universally considered the consensus #1 choice in a draft containing a decent amount of top-end talent.

It’s easy to sit here now and say the Rams should’ve drafted Robert Griffin III in 2012 instead of trading his rights to Washington. And sure, in my opinion, St. Louis would be a much more competitive team with RGIII. Despite Bradford’s decent numbers this year, a lot of his best work was done in a garbage time defeat to Atlanta, a blow-out loss to Dallas, an easy win over the worst team in the NFL and a gift-wrapped victory over Houston.

But the Rams simply couldn’t take Griffin III. Not really. They were stuck with Bradford and his contract even if they wanted to trade him. The dead money on his deal this year was worth over $23m. Who inherits his major contract when you know the new CBA contains a rookie salary cap?

If they’d drafted RGIII and just kept Bradford, you’re talking about at least two seasons with the most expensive backup quarterback you’ll ever see.

They did what they pretty much had to do. They accumulated enough picks to build around the incumbent starter. To give him the best chance to succeed. And that meant passing on RGIII.

Sadly for Rams fans it hasn’t had the desired impact. Bradford still looks average at best. They drafted an explosive chess piece in Tavon Austin and inserted him into one of the most conservative offenses in the league. They lost Steven Jackson, and with him any semblance of a much needed power running game.

The plan they took, the plan that passed on RGIII, made sense. They’ve just fumbled the ball since.

Instead of making life easy for Bradford — they stymied him. They’ve hammered their own running game and brought in players that go against everything their offensive coordinator stands for (eg anything interesting or creative).

As a consequence Bradford’s made very little progress. But he’s got an excuse. And that puts the Rams in a messy situation now.

They could re-sign Bradford to an extension (despite his performance and ACL injury) with reports suggesting prior to his hopeless display against San Francisco that the team was keen to press on with talks and get a contract finalised.

Funny that it’s gone a bit quiet since then…

They could let him sit on the last two years of his deal, but they’d once again be snubbing what looks like a good group of quarterbacks in the 2014 draft.

Or they could cut him and take the hit on $7m’s worth of dead money, draft a new quarterback (with two first round picks, they could theoretically target whoever they want as they have the ammunition to move up) and try to change the direction of the team.

There are yet more big decisions coming for Seattle’s NFC West rival.

Right now, like Arizona, they’re on the outside looking in.

Fred Davis anyone?

So the Redskins are trying to deal tight end Fred Davis. I hope they don’t expect to get much in return.

Davis’ work habits have often been criticised, while he’s also been hit with the injury bug too.

At his best (not seen it for a couple of years) he has been an effective tight end. In 2011 he had 796 yards (his best season) while he also recorded twelve touchdowns between 2009-11.

Seattle might have little interest in spending anything more than a throwaway conditional pick on a player who is a free agent in 2014. He might even get cut by the Redskins. But there is some USC history there with Pete Carroll. He’s earning $2.5m on his one year contract this year.

It’ll probably come down to how they feel about Kellen Davis (who got his first Seahawks touchdown last Thursday) and whether Washington appreciates this isn’t a sellers market. Now that this story has leaked, they’ll struggle to get anything.

57 Responses to “Monday thoughts: pass protection, Rams, Fred Davis”

  1. Ukhawk says:

    Off topic. This is a good article on Sutton, know you’re not high on him but I do think he is worth a later round gamble as he has unique skills that we could use at the 3T…
    http://www.footballoutsiders.com/futures/2013/futures-arizona-state-dt-will-sutton

    • Kenny Sloth says:

      This.

      I’ve really just had a ‘good feeling’ about Sutton and it’s been hard for me to articulate what I see in him as a player.
      That being said I’m still not sure he’s a Hawks target, because of his apparent lack of top tier athleticism.
      Man, I can’t wait until the combine.

    • Rob Staton says:

      That’s quite a long article. Not sure I agreed with the bits I skimmed through. I just can’t get excited about Sutton.

  2. Ukhawk says:

    Ps. If hawks sign a TE late season, it’s should only be Tony Gonzalez. Too bad he recently re-committed to stay in Atlanta

    • Steven says:

      If Gonzalez is up for trade but doesn’t go to the Chiefs, he’d be a great fit for that big-bodied receiving target Pete’s been coveting. However, it would be a pure “Win Now” move, as he’s almost guarenteed to retire after this year.

  3. Kenny Sloth says:

    Have you taken much notice of this years safety class?
    Calvin Pryor of Louisville and Craig Loston of LSU are two great first round worthy players in my book.
    Kind of reminds me of a poor man’s Earl Thomas and Eric Berry, respectively.

  4. Hawkspur says:

    Isn’t it nice that there is little more than half-hearted debate about the direction the Seahawks should go in in the draft. No glaring holes so now they presumably have the ability to draft the BPA.

    • Attyla the Hawk says:

      That’s just it though. They aren’t seemingly drafting BPA necessarily.

      They are preemptively drafting players to succeed those that are going to be let go due to age or salary. So figuring who they might take has some parameters that we can see ahead of time.

      Who might be those candidates next year? Well clearly our WR position needs restructuring. Tate is going to command cash and I think Seattle would like to retain him. However Harvin’s contract makes that difficult, because for a running team, to have 16m+ tied up in 2 receivers — neither of whom are your prototypical #1 outside receivers — makes little sense. Kearse can make that transition and I think Seattle could be leaning that way.

      Rice is a preemptive replacement. His cap hit is enormous and it’s well documented. Couple that fact, with the real bumper class of big, outside receivers, and it makes sense that one of the top 2 picks will go to relieve us of his salary. Need meets talent. It’s the closest match I can see anywhere on the roster.

      Along the D line, I suspect that they will be looking to add a run stopper. McDaniel will likely move on after his show me contract expires. Mebane and Bryant are older, expensive players that a succession plan needs to be in place. Hill looks like one of those pieces. We still need another. Jesse Williams looked like he was drafted for that purpose but at this point he’s not in the picture. Even if he does heal and develop, we have room for another when McDaniel departs. So expect a bigger DL whether the draft or by another show me deal.

      Along the O line, we have 3 candidates. McQuistan and Giacomini are UFA and expensive. We have some talent in the pipeline and it’s too early to judge their ability to be starter quality. The other candidate is James Carpenter. Obviously he’s still developing but he’s also not there yet. His injury record is such that we must have a quality plan B. He’s also expensive as a first round selection and 2014 is the last year of his deal. It’s not likely we resign him as his availability and productivity is just too poor. Drafting his 2015 replacement in 2014 is the kind of preemptive move Seattle has shown an aptitude for.

      At any rate, even if we consider Bowie and Bailey as replacements for Giacomini/McQuistan — the fact is we need two more guys to fill their backup voids. Adding an early OL candidate at either LG or RT serves two purposes. One, it gets a more talented successor for one of those positions. Two, it hedges the risk that one of those two aren’t ready for prime time. I would have expected Bailey to play more if we were as high on him as we appeared to be in training camp. Bowie has shown flashes, but also the inconsistency that one should rightfully expect from a developing rookie. He’s not there yet and there is always the risk he won’t develop before we lean on him as a full time starter.

      • Nolan says:

        I think Kearse can replace at least 75% of what Rice does, so yeah Rice will be moved out I think but we definitely need to add some outside receiver depth because we don’t really have another guy minuse Kearse. What makes that tough is rookies normally contribute very little early on and have a high bust rate, we might need to find a cheaper vet for the outside.

        Golden Tate I really like him and I love to watch him play but we need to see what kind of dollars get thrown his way in FA. I’m not sure he gets huge $ he doesn’t have the production or name value in his favor. While we know and love him he might not get that love on the open market. I hope we can keep him but it might be best if he moves on.

        O-line I think Bowie has played just fine I think I know he has had is struggles but so did Gio when he first got his shot, so did sweezy when he got his first shot. I’m not even positive Gio gets his job back when he is fully healthy. Mqusiton is another story depending on what he is looking for as an FA I would like to keep him around as depth. Carp has been good and bad but when he is good he has been dominating if he can maintain his health I think they stick with him. I think that the hawks will continue to add late round picks to the line to solidify it and keep the youth move my going. Lots of people are high on baily as well and he is a guy they may be red shirting this year.

        Draft targets for me
        Dline – we need to add depth here Mebane, Red Bryant, and tony McDaniel are all aging making a ton of money or are FA. I would love to think that the FO can just continue to find guys Mcdaniels quality and plug them in for low $ ( how good has he been this year) Jordan hill and Clint Mcdonalnd are young guys with promise but I think we need to invest at least on or two picks here.

      • KyleT says:

        One D-Line guy I want out of this draft is Daniel McCullers. I cannot imagine playing him twice a year when the Niners grab him instead. He fits into our system of finding unique athletes that bring a level of physicality. He is a huge dude and amazingly athletic in a short area that teams pretty much run the ball away from even w/ dbl teams he can impose his will on the O-line

        • John_S says:

          I haven’t seen Daniel McCullers, someone mentioned Ra’Shede Hageman on the board in a previous post and that guy is an athletic freak.

          Came into college as a tight end, moved to the D-line during his redshirt year. Has played 1,3 and 5 tech, but more than likely is a 3 tech.

          6-foot-6, 311 pounds, 36-inch vertical leap, bench-press 465 pounds and runs a 4.82 40-yard dash.

          He’s just really learning the game but his measurables for his size are off the charts.

          • Attyla the Hawk says:

            I haven’t been a Hageman fan. Although I will revisit him later in the year. I hear he’s tearing it up and I want to have an unsullied evaluation of him at years’ end. His measurables really stand out as something Seattle would value very highly. McCullers is a different kind of physical specimen. He’s just enormous at 370+ with good agility. Thus far, Seattle hasn’t seem to really covet those kind of rare guys. Hageman is worth keeping a close eye on as he tickles the SPARQ nerve better than probably any DT on the board.

            • KyleT says:

              But we do actually value those guys. How else do you explain Jesse Williams, Red Bryant and on offense James Carpenter?

  5. Ralphy says:

    Have you had a chance to see Alton Howard yet? Like I said before he keeps standing out.

    Also wondering what you think of Justin Gilbert. He has developed into a very good CB after originally being a WR. Good height and a guy I could see being on the Hawks radar.

  6. Michael says:

    Man, what a disastrous weekend in the NFL. So many injuries! I think the one that will have the greatest impact on the playoffs has to be Reggie Wayne going down for the year. The Colts don’t really have another guy like him on the roster. Hilton and Heyward-no hands-bey are better suited to use their speed as deep threats, and neither has the route running ability or the experience (obviously) that Wayne does. Huge blow to a team that has already knocked off the “top 3 teams in the league”.

    • AlaskaHawk says:

      and their two cornerbacks had to leave the game. All of a sudden Wes Welker was open on every play.

  7. AlaskaHawk says:

    Rob, I don’t think we need to spend first round on an offensive linemen, but it would be nice if PC started drafting OL in the mid rounds. He has had success with the defense using that strategy. We need to keep recruiting until we find excellent players that can stay healthy all season. The whole injury bug has become a common theme for our line. I hope that we will have solid backups for everyone. Looking ahead I foresee a lot of rotation on the line, till we get the right players. At least three of the positions could be upgraded.

    On a positive note, I am impressed by their defensive to offensive project, Mr. Sweezy. He is an excellent run blocker and good at bulldozing the opponent into the ground.

  8. Kip Earlywine says:

    Regarding Mebane, I think he’s safe. He’s playing as well as he ever has, and $5 million salary is a bargain for his contribution level.

    If they did part ways with Mebane this offseason, there are quite a few DTs on this team I’d plug in at 1-tech before Hill. Hill is much more of a pass rusher than a run stuffer. Even in college, he got moved by run blocks very easily. He can separate to make a tackle better than most, but that’s not the same thing as having anchor. And Hill doesn’t have much of an anchor at all. His anchor is adequate at best even by 3-tech standards.

    • Miles says:

      Who is your backup 1-tech then, Clinton McDonald? If we cut Mebane, I think we have to lock up Clinton to a multi-year contract. He’s played out of his mind this year.

      • Kip Earlywine says:

        McDaniel, McDonald, Bryant in that order. The first two are free agents, and Bryant is more likely to be a cap casualty than Mebane. But all three anchor very well. There’s also that guy from the Moffitt trade who was on our PS for a while. Not a great player, but anchors well.

    • Rob Staton says:

      If keeping him on $5m means you can’t re-sign Sherman, Thomas and Bennett though, then it becomes an issue. Ultimately Mebane is a lot more replaceable than those guys.

      • Nolan says:

        I have thought it would be between Mebane and Bryant if Bennett is signed to $$$ can he replace Bryant?

      • Attyla the Hawk says:

        This is the major reason why I suspect we’re looking OL Rob. I would see us keeping Mebane, and letting McQuistan and Giacomini go for 6m+ in cap relief. It will be much easier to draft replacements for either of those two at worst, or to draft replacements for depth (Bowie/Bailey) at best. All three of those vets have zero dead money implications. Mebane however is playing at a much higher level than the two OL.

        Of those three, Mebane is giving us the most value for the salary.

        6m will be more than sufficient to extend Thomas and resign Bennett. Sherman is going to require more than these contracts. Bryant or Rice will have to go just to start.

      • Kip Earlywine says:

        We do have a lot of depth at 1-tech right now, but the depth comes from guys on 1 year deals and another guy who’s more likely to be a cap casualty than Mebane is.

        I think Bryant gets the talk, or gets traded. He’s 30 next season and has a higher cap number than Mebane, while providing less value on the field. He’s also had trouble staying healthy over his career, whereas Mebane has been a rock.

        I hope our success hasn’t made us lose sight of how consistently good Mebane has been and continues to be. I think that so far this is Mebane’s best season since 2008. I don’t think it’s outrageous to move on from Mebane a little early depending on the situation, but not for Jordan Hill, and not to net perhaps $4 million or so in savings.

        • KyleT says:

          This ^^^ exactly

        • Rob Staton says:

          I think we’re missing the point here slightly.

          The only way this team can continue to win games is to micro-manage the cap. Next year the trouble begins. You’re going to have to start paying stars who so far have been earning a pittance. This off-season Sherman and Thomas will get paid. Big time. It’s a nailed on certainty. And I would argue Michael Bennett will also get paid given so far he’s been one of the best pass rushers in the NFL.

          The following year you’re going to have to pay Russell Wilson. And he’s going to get paid as much as the elite QB’s out there if he continues to deliver. So we’re talking a potential $100m contract.

          The team has to start preparing now. In fact they’ve already started. It’s not about fudging a $4m saving for the sake of it. It’s about prolonging the success of the team and being able to pay the proper stars.

          Sorry, but Mebane is not as important as Sherman, Thomas, Bennett and Wilson. And the fact he carries zero dead money next year makes him a tantalising cut. He won’t be the only one. Sidney Rice, Zach Miller, Red Bryant. Even guys like Cliff Avril might be in trouble. Other free agents like Golden Tate and eventually KJ Wright may leave for bigger money elsewhere. It’s about selecting the core guys and then trying to use the draft to replace the people you lose.

          We can sit here and turn our noses up at Jordan Hill replacing Mebane (Or Jesse Williams… or whoever). The reality is that’s a complete necessity. Mebane is the kind of player we’ve been able to afford and keep while we’ve been paying Richard Sherman and Russell Wilson ridiculously low salaries. Those days are numbered.

          • Colin says:

            THIS.

            The fact that we would potentially let Sherman or Earl or Russell or Michael bennett get away so we could hang onto a 1 tech who offers no pass rush, and as of 9 months ago, wasn’t very solid against the run, is mind boggling.

            • KyleT says:

              I don’t think anyone is arguing those points. My point is that I don’t think we will need to make a cut in 2014. I’ve done the cap math for next year and into 2015. Additionally the cap is expected to rise in 2015. We also don’t tend to cut people with the intention to draft a replacement. We get the replacement on the roster first, get the competition going and then deal. We have a potential 3-tech longer term in Hill, a 5-tech mb in Williams. We do not have a true longer term 1-tech . I think that guy is maybe McCullers in this years draft. Leading to a mebane cut in 2015 not 2014.

              • Colin says:

                It doesn’t change the fact that Mebane will be owed no dead money, with a skillset that is great if it makes sense. But you cannot hold onto him at the expense of Sherman or the others. His value isn’t that great, despite his tremendous run defense this season.

                • KyleT says:

                  Again… You don’t have to cut him to sign Sherman, Thomas and Bennett. We should be comparing the cut/trade candidates to have this debate, not cherry picking players with no dead money

                  I still assert that rice and Avril are the cap casualties next year either by trade or by cut.

                  • Colin says:

                    It’s not cherry picking, it’s understanding business. No dead money means you don’t have to spend money to cut the guy. That makes him a prime candidate to get cut.

                    And again, he’s a 1 tech who cannot pressure the QB. I can’t find an argument saying he is really vital to this defense.

                  • Rob Staton says:

                    And I’d add again that you might have to cut Rice, Avril, Mebane AND Bryant.

                    It’s not just a couple of guys we’re talking about here.

                    Sherman will get paid like a top cornerback. Wilson could get a $100m deal with +$50m in guarantees. There are going to be a lot of cuts. And Mebane is very easy to cut with no dead money.

          • KyleT says:

            It is an extreme luxury to be paying 2 premier edge rushers 9 million per year. Clemons is the better of the two. Avril is younger and has tremendous trade value if we go far in the postseason this year. Avril and rice probably provide the least value for the money being paid.

            • Jirish says:

              Interesting- almost think schofield could fill avril roll

              • Miles says:

                I think Russ only gets that $100 million contract if he’s a key factor in us getting to and winning the big game. Those kinds of contracts only really go to quarterbacks who have proven they can lead their teams to the promised land. I wouldn’t be so sure he’ll get that kind of money, but he will get a great amount, no doubt about it.

                • Miles says:

                  I’m still not sold that this team is going to be hemorrhaging players in order to re-sign the key ones. I think there is a skewed perception around here about how limiting the salary cap will really be in the coming years. We might have to make some cuts to the biggest contracts (Rice, not-resigning Giac and McQuistan, etc.), but I think we’re largely going to have a good opportunity to keep the majority of the team intact as opposed to this apocalyptic waiver binge.

                  I’ve brought up this point before, but you have to keep aware of what other teams have been able to do under the current cap. Look at the Baltimore Ravens contract numbers (posted below). Notice how Flacco is under a $120.6 million contract (!!!). Also notice how they have several intermediate to large contracts dulled out to several players. Not only have they signed Elvis Dumervil to a pretty large contract, but they also took on the $60-something million contract of Eugene Monroe (!!!), and the $62 million contract of Terrell Suggs (!!!), and the $35 million contract of Ray Rice (!!!), and the $52 million contract of Ladarius Webb (!!!).

                  The Seahawks are nowhere near these kinds of wage numbers. Fortunately, the Seahawks are going to be able to retain the majority of the guys they want based on these numbers. In order to understand how the Seahawks will have to operate their cap, you have to look at how other teams have done it after they’ve already had to pay their star players. The Baltimore Ravens are a key example of that.

                  So please please please stop saying the Seahawks need to cut everyone just to keep three or four players. I think its absurd.

                  • Miles says:

                    I shouldn’t say its absurd. That sounded rude, and everyone here is very intelligent. I just think there are more options for this situation than to cut everyone. While we have enough cap room, I also think barring any cap complications, Schneider is very good at managing the cap and pushing money into later years or into years when the Seahawks can afford it. Therefore signing everyone we want to sign is very possible, and doesn’t require cutting the bigger names on the roster.

                  • Rob Staton says:

                    The Ravens are paying Eugene Monroe $547,000. Jacksonville assumed the rest of his $2.35 million salary. He is a free agent at the end of the season.

                    Elvis Dumervil’s cap hit is $2.5m this year. It’s $3.3m in 2014 and ultimately cuttable beyond that.

                    Ray Rice’s cap hit is $5.75m this year, although it increases gradually next season to a peak of $8.75m.

                    Baltimore can get out of the Suggs contract quite easily after 2013. Although the fact is he’s a FA no later than 2015.

                    Ladarius Webb’s cap hit is $11m.

                    If we’re going to compare Baltimore to Seattle, Zach Miller’s cap hit alone is exactly the same as Webb’s. Seattle are paying Sidney Rice nearly $10m this year, Russell Okung $10m, Marshawn Lynch $8.5m, Chris Clemons $8m, Red Bryant $7.6m, Max Unger $6m,

                    So right off the bat there, Seattle is paying considerably more large contracts than the Ravens. For the $2-3m that Baltimore is paying Dumervil over the next two years, Seattle is paying a combined $17m for Clemons, Avril and Bennett alone. Baltimore are paying a pittance for Eugene Monroe, while Seattle is paying Okung and Breno Giacomini nearly $15m this year.

                    Add the fact Percy Harvin’s cap hit is around $4-5m this year but jumps significantly next year. The Seahawks have long term commitments to a lot more well paid players than the Ravens. And let’s not forget, Baltimore have had to sacrifice guys like Paul Kruger and Ed Reed in order to pay Flacco.

                    The Seahawks won’t have to cut everyone. But if you want to keep Okung, Lynch, Harvin, Unger and Clemons (still our best pass rusher) while also re-signing Richard Sherman to an elite CB contract, Earl Thomas to an extension and re-sign Russell Wilson to a possible $100m deal…. then no, there’s nothing absurd in suggesting guys like Mebane who are very cuttable with zero dead money are likely to be sacrificed.

                  • Miles says:

                    You also need to take into account, though, that we’ve put a lot of money into this year because we know we can afford it this year. Zach Miller’s cap number, which peaks this year, goes down considerably the following two years. Giacomini is a free agent this year and we have some good options with how we can work the contracts of Clemons and Avril.

                    If an NFL team is to be elite, there is no way to avoid guaranteed money owed. But to structure contracts in a way that it is affordable is entirely possible. This is what the Ravens have done; although they aren’t paying as much this year as we are, they have pushed player salaries into the future. They may need to make a couple of decisions down the road, but they clearly believe they can maintain a deep roster and pay the guys they want to while also paying the players they really want (ie. Flacco, Suggs and Rice).

                    I just think the idea of saying we need to cut this guy and this guy and this guy to maintain our financial well-being is short-sighted because it foregoes the numerous options we have. As we’ve seen, other teams have employed various options to maintain strong rosters.

                    We have dulled out a lot of one-year contracts so we can pick and choose the guys who outperformed their contracts over the guys who fell short of expectations.

                    Again, we’ve pushed a lot of money into this year for compensate for future years.

                    We’re obviously not paying Sidney Rice as much as he’s owed and at this point he seems like an expendable player.

                    Red Bryant’s cap number goes down considerably next year when he turns 30 years old. It’s still a fairly high amount, but not backbreaking for what you’re getting this year ($4.5 mil).

                    Mebane makes a good amount. But when you really look at it, there aren’t many players on the Seahawks being given an exceedingly high amount of money. So he’s not a must-cut.

                    Down the road we’re going to have to start paying guys a lot of money. I think current contract situations get alleviated quite a bit in the next couple of years, though.

                  • Rob Staton says:

                    I’d refer to my earlier reply. The Ravens are in a very different situation to Seattle.

  9. CC says:

    Rice and his contact will free up some cash as well. I agree that Mebane may also have to restructure or be cut. Keep Kearse, Baldwin and sign Golden to a fair $4-5mill contract and with Percy, all should be okay. Or there will be some WR who wants to try and win a SB who will want to join us as well.

    I’d like to keep Avril and Bennett if there is any way to do so – the other parts of the D-line under contract, keep em, and just keep it going.

    O-line will have to be addressed. I don’t think Carpenter is someone who can be resigned either – injuries and lack of effort not a good combo. I really think that Alabama players have had it so easy and been so successful in college that they are not hungry, no chip on their shoulders and not guys we should draft. Look at how many of them are average, hurt or busts.

    But, let’s go 1-0 for the next several weeks, get to the SB and win it all! Go Hawks!

    • KyleT says:

      Why is everyone talking about mebane? He is tied up with a longer term contract and is playing above the value. Avril will get traded in the off season. We are not getting the most out of that 9 mil tied up w/ him next year.

      • CC says:

        Is he playing above his value? I can’t say either way – I’m not saying we’d cut him, but he makes a lot of money, and there are 2 guys on D that I don’t think we can replace – Sherm and Earl. Mebane, is probably replaceable.

        • KyleT says:

          Both Mebane and Bryant are playing in a way that is very hard to replace right now. We are shutting down the run this year in a big way. The secondary and pass rush only gets to play up to their ceiling when the run game is being shut down. Nobody else on our roster can play at that level against the run right now.

          • Michael says:

            Great point. Legion of Boom will have a hard time picking off passes if the opponent doesn’t have to throw.

  10. KyleT says:

    Just a thought… But who says the hawks need a prototypical #1 receiver? Our offense is different then most and we are happy to build around the strengths of our special talent. We arguably have the two best YAC receivers in the league in Tate and Harvin. Plenty of speed to spread the field. We like to line up in formations with personnel and plays that keep people guessing. Spread offense w/ runs to Lynch between the tackles. Vertical routes run from 2 TE set.

    Who says we won’t just add big possession receivers/TE’s that can improve our 3rd down and red zone efficiency?

    That first drive in Phoenix shows you how dangerous we can be when things are clicking, I expect Harvin added to the mix will only make those stretches of explosive chunk yardage plays more common.

    In that offense we have far less value on the typical #1. Also when we lack talent to fill some typical role we try to make up for it with role players and rotations that play to those strengths.

    Do we feel like we need to draft Sidney’s replacement just because its what conventional wisdom says we should do? It also says you don’t take a 3rd string RB in the second round…convert a DT to guard, etc

  11. Cade says:

    In talent saturated groups I think we will continue to mine for prospects with later round picks. Id guess that DL, receiver, RB, LB, CB are all groups that don’t need high picks invested.

    If we go with OL TE OL in our first 3 picks (1st, 2nd, 4th) I would be happy.

    No doubt it will end up being some wacky draft Id never have expected. So far last years draft hasn’t done much for this team. Similar to how SF draft choices don’t make the field.

    - 2nd C-Mike is buried on the depth chart/developing as a blocker and in our scheme
    - 3rd Hill was a healthy Scratch last week due to our great depth and skill at DL (was he 2nd rd?)
    - 4th… derrr oops bust Harper
    - 5th Simon. Injury, we just don’t know
    - 5th Williams. Injury, things aren’t looking great. We don’t need him this year but could next.
    - 5th Luke WIllson. I think hes over performing with his blocking and burst on catches.
    - 6th Ware. Im higher on him than most because of the physicality he brings in the case Lynch gets injured
    -7th Seymore, Powel, Jared Smith, Bowie. Only one we know will pan out is Bowie and this was a homerun.

    Yeah, Luke and Bowie are our only real contributors this year

  12. Colin says:

    I suspect a big reason the Rams were so eager to extend Bradford, is largely due to the fact that their successful counterparts (SF and SEA) have what appears to be ‘their guys’ and the Rams might be feeling some pressure to do the same… why they are in such a hurry with all the guaranteed money he is still owed is beyond me, but they have to consider upgrading the position. His numbers are fairly deceiving.

  13. Kenny Sloth says:

    I heard Rams fans talking about “a tebowner”.

    Les Snead’s just like. “Eh. Let’s just throw him in there, too.”

  14. Jirish says:

    KyleT- I agree- interesting point- this team thinks way out if the box!