Richard Sherman signs 4-year extension with the Seahawks

May 7th, 2014 | Written by Rob Staton

I’ll be posting my final 2014 mock draft later today. For now let’s use this as an open thread to discuss Sherman’s new deal.

The contract is worth $57.4M — with the four years added to the one remaining on his current deal. On average he’ll be paid around $11.8m per year, with $40m guaranteed.

The Seahawks had three key objectives entering the off season:

1. Re-sign Michael Bennett

2. Extend Earl Thomas’ contract

3. Extend Richard Sherman’s contract

Whatever happens in the draft over the next few days, the big business is complete. The future is set behind a core group of elite players — with the next move being Russell Wilson’s new deal in 12 months time.

108 Responses to “Richard Sherman signs 4-year extension with the Seahawks”

  1. David M says:

    its a lot of money but its totally worth it. our secondary is what makes this defense so special. glad to see them locked up for the next several years. i doubt theyll be able to keep MAxwell, but hopefully Simon or someone else will be ready to fill his shoes after next season is over. Go Hawks!!!

  2. Robbie says:

    Awesome!!!!!! I’ve love this offseason! :) now if things fall into place during the draft I’d be so pumped! But getting Earl, Bennett and Sherman signed is perfect!

  3. Adog says:

    How does this affect the draft? From a cap standpoint I think the front office ideally will need hit on at least one position of need . By that I mean the hawks can’t keep everyone…alla golden Tate. Obviously wr makes sense, as well as o.line, but someone to replace mebane is most likely on the top of their draft board.

  4. austin says:

    Actually seems like the Seahawks got a favorable deal. Clayton and others thought he could reach 13 mil.

    • Chris says:

      Well … it’s actually about 14 million a year.

      Including next year (and therefore diving by 5, instead of 4), a year in which he was already under contract for a low amount, is intellectually dishonest.

      Compared to the situation before the contract, $56 million of cost has been added, and 4 years of contract time have been added.

      • Philip says:

        I understand what you’re saying about the extension averaging $14m, not $11m. But it’s significant that they’re keeping next year’s contract intact. Sherman’s agent certainly would have preferred to renegotiate that year (and that is what is often done in this situation.

        So when Clayton said that deal could reach $13m, he was including what Sherman would make in 2014. I think they structured it this way (keeping the current deal and extending it) so that Sherman could claim to be making $14m/year on the extension while Seattle was averaging $11m/year over the next five years (which is the number that matters more to us).

        • MarkinSeattle says:

          Phillip, I believe that you are incorrect in your assumptions. Everything I have read says that players cannot renegotiate their contract in any of the first four years due to the salary cap. Which is why you don’t see Wilson trying to renegotiate his contract right now.

  5. JeffC says:

    Absolutely thrilled with the news. So far, can only give an A to this offseason, since I expected we’d lose Bennett. We knew we’d lose some guys and it was unavoidable.

    Sherman is a special football player and not someone you find out there every day. Can’t expect to repeat finding a guy like that.

  6. Troy says:

    In the very unlikely event the Hawks do trade out of the 1st RD(which I’ll be somewhat pissed due to the anticipation and wait for the #32 and end up having to wait for day 2) the value there could look something like this Im guessing

    2014 1st RD #32 = 2nd RD #40-45, 4th RD 105-110, 6th RD 170-180.

    In this scenerio Rob what are your thoughts, feelings on players that could be had in this range? Could it possibly work in our favor and in the 2nd RD snag @#40- Joel Bitonio & @#64- Martavis Bryant? Its probably wishful thinking but thats what makes it so damn much fun, is the speculating.

    • hawkfaninMT says:

      The only aspect I have not heard discussed much is the value of the 5th year option.

      I understand the reasons that other teams would trade with Denver and NE before us. Curiosity strikes me though, the 5th year option could be extremely beneficial to a team from a negotiating perspective. Say Team A trades with Denver to grab a QB. fine. Seattle is on the clock, and Team B says to itself “I know “Player X” will be on the board in 5 picks but that 5th year option would be nice”…

      So Rob, my question is this:

      What is the 5th year option worth in draft capital, if you assume a zero cost for the actual move up the board? A 7th? A 6th?

      • Michael (CLT) says:

        I’m not sure the 5 th year option makes much sense in a ” win forever” mindset.

        Do what makes you better now… Period.

      • Rob Staton says:

        I think it’s valuable if there’s a player you think is a can’t miss pick is still on the board — but there won’t be many of those in the late first. I think the value of that 5th year is slightly overplayed because it costs quite a lot to exercise the 5th year.

        • Steve Nelsen says:

          You hit it exactly right, Rob. Using the fifth year option only makes sense if you have a starter at a pricey position (like QB) or a Pro-Bowl talent.

          The value of the option would be higher at 32 for a team that wants to take a QB than it would for a team that is drafting an offensive lineman (perhaps Seattle).

      • AlaskaHawk says:

        I’m beginning to think the fifth year option is not that great a deal. First you have to want that player and you have to be willing to pay a lot for that player. Von Miller just got signed to fifth year option for just under 10 million, for a linebacker!! We won’t pay Carpenters 5th year, and I don’t think it is just because he has had injury issues, I think it is also because the amount would be way over what the Seahawks are willing to pay for an offensive linemen. We wouldn’t keep Giacommi at 4 million and he is a better player then Carpenter. So I just think that fifth year is expensive and you might be able to sign the same player for less as a free agent (I’m talking to you Carpenter).

    • Rob Staton says:

      I don’t expect Bitonio to be available at #40. He might be off the board before #32. Personally, I wouldn’t want to drop that far unless I was possibly going to take a Martavis Bryant type in round one who could easily still drop to #40.

  7. Steve Nelsen says:

    I said that for the hawks to get an A this off-season they needed to:
    Sign Michael Bennett
    Sign either Doug Baldwin or Golden Tate (They kept the right one.)
    Extend Earl Thomas
    Extend Richard Sherman

    Mission accomplished with an extension for Coach Carroll just to make that grade A+

    What a great time to be a Hawks fan.

    • AlaskaHawk says:

      and Pete Carroll gets an A for having the best defensive training program in the league. Where else do 5th rounders get turned into Pro Bowlers?

  8. austin says:

    Also it gives a team a 5 years to work with a QB if they want to at a lower price. I slightly disagree with Rob and I’m hearing lots of teams are interested in that pick depending on how the QB’s shake out in the first round. I hope Seattle doesn’t move down more than a handful of picks though and ideally get a third out of it.

    • Michael (CLT) says:

      Work with a qb at a lower price… Please explain.

      • Matt says:

        Take Russell Wilson(3rd rounder) for example. If he had been a late first round pick the Hawks could use a 5th year option paying him around $7 mil(estimate) for 2016. He’s obviously worth way more than that, so that 5th season would be considered a bargain. Since he was a 3rd rounder we don’t have an option for his 5th year. We will have to sign him to an extension after his 4th season to over $15 mil per season.(most likely)

        Hopefully that clarifies things a bit…

        • Philip says:

          It seems to me there are relatively few circumstances when you’d actually exercise that option. In the Russell Wilson hypothetical you offer above, you’d be be picking up an option to pay him half or less of his market value. Do you really want to do that to the face of your franchise? Look at how upset star players get (e.g., Drew Brees) when you threaten to franchise them (for a lot more money that this option is worth).

          On the other hand, how many players picked at that spot are really going to be worth the $7m?

          It seems like a small window of players that are going to worth close enough to the value of the option to make sense for the team without it being more attractive to negotiate a a long term deal.

          • Austin says:

            Not all situations are like Wilson’s though. Some guys sit for a while before getting a shot. Aaron Rogers for example. Depends on your situation and who you draft.

            • Arias says:

              Rodgers is a case that I don’t believe we’ll ever see again today under the structure of the current CBA. He was a first round pick that sat for 3 years before getting his shot in the 4th year. With the role rookie contracts have now, there’s too much need for teams to get the most out of their rookies during their first four years while they’re still cheap. That makes using a first round pick on a QB that’s going to sit behind a starter for an indefinite amount of time all the less likely. There’s just too much value going to waste from not putting a first round talent to use right away.

              Like Philip was saying, it’s a relatively small window for the type of players you’d be able to use it on. You’re pretty much betting on your 11-31 pick being a pro-bowl caliber stud to maximize the value on a 5th year option.

              When asked on Sirius XM about whether the 5th year option was going to play a factor in increasing the attractiveness of the 11-31 picks Schneider’s on record saying he didn’t think so. He said that the thought of it being the reason for a team wanting to trade up with a team in 11-31 because of the option was seriously overblown. It sounded like he felt the same way, and that the media was blowing it up to be more valuable than it actually is.

    • Jon says:

      couple of things though. First, the fifth year is not that big of a deal. If you are willing before year 4 starts, to extend that player another year (that fifth year is not necessarily cheap like the first four), then you might as well give them a 4 or five year extension and lock that guy up for the long haul. It would not cause me to want to use an extra pick simply to get an extra year.
      Second, if you move down a handful of picks (3-5 spots will net a fifth potentially), (6-12 spots would net a 4th) 13-18 will net a 3rd). You have to drop more than a handful of spots to get a 3rd in that deal. Dont get me wrong I would love to move back 5 spots and get a 3rd, it just is simply to much to expect. Last year SF move up from #31 to #18 (13 spots) and this only cost them a mid 3rd round pick.

      • Matt says:

        Jon- normally I’d agree with you, but the 5th year option acts like the discounted franchise tag for former first round picks. Look at Aldon Smith who got the 5th year extension for $9.7 mil. The franchise tag for him is between $12-$13 mil., so the 49ers are, in effect, saving $2-$3 mil on that 5th year. I’m sure SF would prefer that Smith wasn’t such a knucklehead, so they used the 5th year option to protect themselves from signing a long term deal. That 5th year is NOT guaranteed, so SF can cut him after this season, or let him play his 5th year option out, or sign him long term, or trade him. It seems like the right decision by SF, being a low risk move.

        • Jon says:

          I think it is a consideration, but if I feel as a FO that a player will be available at say, 39, I am not likely to be giving up a 4th round pick in order to have a 5th year option.

        • Jon says:

          Also, dont get me wrong, I am hoping that we will find a trade partner, and I hope it is not further back than #40.

  9. House says:

    Great signing… We are keeping the CORE together and we will continue to build in the draft. Sherman’s press conference was pretty funny…

    Can’t wait till tomorrow!!!

  10. Cade says:

    I like the deal. I just don’t like a lot of the antics around it.

    Every dollar in Sherms pocket is a dollar or security out of a teammates. All this talk about money = respect. Just because ignorant fools like Deangelo Hall (who acts a fool on the field and cant back it up) think money = respect doesn’t mean someone smarter like Sherman needs to.

    Again, not complaining about the deal just the messaging that Sherman is participating in. I would hope for more from a team leader. Pretty silly to say respect to LOB also. Its not about the unit.

    This is a Sherman thing.

    • Cade says:

      Id like to add that I really like how this office rewards the guys who play with passion and compete like hell. Giving big guaranteed money to Sherman is minimal risk. Same thing with ET and Baldwin if that happens.

      Sends the right messages. THIS IS WHAT WE ARE ALL BOUT! Compete.

    • Rob Staton says:

      I disagree Cade. Money does equal respect I’m afraid. I wouldn’t expect nor desire Sherman to flower this.

      Sherman and Thomas were always going to become the best paid at their position — and rightly so. They are the best. If fans think they’re going to take less on the off chance Seattle might be able to use that money on a teammate is incredibly unrealistic. Put yourself in Sherman’s shoes. What does he do? Have it written into the contract that any saving can only go to Doug Baldwin? Because what if Baldwin wants too much or has unrealistic demands or expectations? Do you overpay him rather than Sherman — because Baldwin isn’t the best WR in the league. And if you don’t use the money on Baldwin, how does Sherman react when they throw it to the next big free agent with no ties to the team?

      Players go after the deals they are worth and fair play to them. It’s the only way they and the team can act.

      • Jon says:

        yes, the best CB in the league needs to be paid that way. Thank you for this level head thought.

      • Philip says:

        I agree with you, Rob, that Sherman or Thomas (or anyone else for that matter) should not be expected to take a discount for sake of the team. I thought it was kind of silly during the first couple of weeks of free agency how many times I heard Seahawk fans suggesting that established, valuable players coming off decent years should take Bennett-esque “prove it” deals to come play for Seattle. Each player should negotiate, in good faith, his best deal. And I don’t begrudge them one cent of it.

        However, when a team is only able to offer certain amount, when the team can’t go beyond a certain point because of the salary cap limitations and other needs it must address, it’s not that they’re disrespecting the player. Jared Allen is a perfect example of that. The offer, it seems, wasn’t quite what he was willing to play for in Seattle. But I hope Allen didn’t take that as a personal affront.

        I understand that you should be willing to do more for a Sherman or a Thomas based on their prior contribution and commitment to the team (and the Seahawks did more). And I’m very pleased that both deals happened. But I guess I agree with Cade that I could have done without what seemed like a preemptive “If I don’t get everything I want it’s because you disrespect me.” No, it might just be because of the economic realities of the NFL in 2014.

        • Cade says:

          You guys are reading what I wrote and then filtering it to the assumed meaning instead of what was said. I said nothing about taking a discount.

          My comment was about the messaging and emphasis.

          • Philip says:

            I got that, Cade. After I wrote that I didn’t think Thomas or Sherman should take a discount, I should have added, “and I don’t think that’s what Cade is saying either.

            I agree with you. I thought Sherman should have left “respect” out it — especially when talking to the media. (“But I guess I agree with Cade that I could have done without what seemed like a preemptive ‘If I don’t get everything I want it’s because you disrespect me.’”)

            • Cade says:

              Ah maybe it was myself who should have read more clearly!

              • Arias says:

                I think you’re kind of blowing the ‘respect’ angle up more than it needs to be. Here’s a quote from the Times:

                Sherman had told the Times last week that he was not concerned about being the highest-paid cornerback.

                “I don’t care for that,’’ said Sherman, who is due to make $1.4 million in 2014 on the last year of the four-year rookie deal he signed in 2011. “The only list I care about being at the top of is interceptions.’’

                Still, Sherman said he will want what he feels he is worth.

                “It’s about respect,’’ he said. “Whatever the team feels I deserve, the respect they feel — that (money) is the respect from the team. That’s how they show it, at least in this game. In other aspects of life it may be different. You may show respect in different ways. But in this game that’s how they show it.’’

                I think that shows a more complete picture of what he said. I think the national media sensationalized and unnecessarily blew up the ‘respect’ part of it more than if it had been any other player saying it because he’s Richard Sherman and it plays well into the narrative of how they want to portray him, almost like they want to make him out to be selfish. Don’t buy into it.

      • Cade says:

        That is a very narrow viewpoint.

        So in another profession. If a guy working in the same field but different company makes more than you, does that mean you are not as respected by your company as he is by his company? Maybe you prefer to work in the company you do than work elsewhere because at a point actual respect (how you are treated and valued in your work place) is of more value than extra cash.

        There are a lot of ways of looking at this.

        Again, I am not saying that it wasn’t the proper deal or one he shouldn’t have gone for, I am saying the messaging is all wrong and he is putting way too much emphasis on this concept of getting paid is about respect. So alternatively all the guys on his team that don’t, they aren’t valued. Is that what it is? This is a big ego thing and that turns me off.

        • Jon says:

          Well we are talking about football, their are only a couple of lockdown CBs in the league. This is not a broad and widely sweeping conversation, it is as narrow as the scope of professional football will allow us to take it.

        • JeffC says:

          Keep in mind that Sherman is playing like a first pick in the draft type of player and has been paid as a 5th rounder. I don’t mind the message at all. In the end, money makes the world go around. His life is likely going to end up statistically, shorter than yours or mine. He may even be crippled at some point.

          He has given them, and us, a bargain, and now wants, and deserves, his reward. He didn’t get lowballed, and we showed him respect in his eyes. I see nothing wrong with the message.

        • AlaskaHawk says:

          I don’t think the money should be tied to respect and here is why: When I was watching free agency there was one person at each position that got paid a lot of money. Two or three more got paid pretty good money. They were all equal in abilitiy, yet one person would make 4 million a year more – just because they signed first with a team that really wanted an elite player at that position.

          So now it is Shermans turn to get paid elite money. If it is all about respect – what will you tell Maxwell next year? He has the same numbers as Sherman in his half a season of playing time. If we don’t have the money to sign him did we disrespect him? I don’t think so. How about all the rest of the defense? Not much money left for them. I still respect them.

          Basically there are a few elite players who will grab the majority of the money. If you are an elite player who comes in afterwards – they can’t pay you – and that has nothing to do with respect or disrespect.

          • williambryan says:

            All you guys are really just making the point. If someone is the best at what they do and they are being paid less than others who do the same job, they are not being given there due respect. Now they may be well appreciated, but like Sherman said, in business (exactly what the NFL is) money is how respect is shown. You could probably argue non stop about different definitions of words but… semantics. another example of this, is Golden Tate clearly feeling disrespected at the seahawks offer to him. He was able to get quite a bit more in the market than what the seahawks were offering. I think he was clearly disrespected. Was it the right move for the team? were there legitimate salary cap consideratons? probably. But that doesn’t change the reality of the situation. Then you have Sidney Rice, who got cut and decided to come back on a near minimum deal. Was he disrespected? It looks like he didn’t feel too disrespected, perhaps acknowledging his injury situation and circumstances led to a minimum contract value.

  11. Michael (CLT) says:

    The draft has so much more meaning now. Trade rounds 1 and 2. Find Sherman, kj, maxwell, smithin the form of a WR and OT.

  12. Ed C says:

    We better keep finding starting after the 3rd round. I think this seals the fate of Okung/Avril/Maxwell/Wright and maybe Harvin after next year. Of those, I hope we find a way to keep Maxwell. LOB for 4 years sounds unstoppable with a little pass rush.

    Trade next years 1 because we are winning the SB again and this draft is much deeper.

    Trade back if possible this year.

    2nd Bitonio/James
    2nd Bryant/Moncrief
    2nd Easley/Smith

    • Michael (CLT) says:

      Harvin is going nowhere :)

    • Drew says:

      I can see us keeping Avril after this year. I don’t think his price will be much higher than what it is now, and get him for a similar deal to Bennett’s, another 2-3 years.

      • Steve Nelsen says:

        Cliff Avril and Byron Maxwell are both potential Pro-Bowl players who will be unrestricted free agents next year. K.J Wright and Malcolm Smith are both potential high-impact starters who will be unrestricted free agents next year.

        I don’t think we have enough money to sign a Pro-Bowl cornerback. We will certainly have enough to resign at least one of the other three.

        I think we have some young depth at the defensive line and I expect we will add some more in the next couple days. I am more concerned about the depth at linebacker and cornerback. I would love to get another CB and athletic LB in the draft.

      • Arias says:

        If none of the redshirt DL’man or anyone they draft this year steps up they might not have a choice but to re-sign Avril if they want to stay competitive.

    • Jon says:

      The seahawks will have a lot of cap space next off season. writers and media people don’t want you to know this because they want to sell the idea that the Seahawks cant win forever. Okung is on the roster through 2015 as is. Harvin is just fine at his current pay grade. Check these numbers out.

      Seahawks have 110 m against the cap in 2015 (includes Sherman if he counts at 14 m against the cap in 2015)
      Estimates suggest a 140+ m cap in 2015
      This gives Seattle a $30 m dollar budget
      Year one for Wilson 10 m (this may be higher than Wilson’s 1st year cap #)
      Year one for Avril 5 m
      Year one for Wright 2-3 m
      year one for Baldwin 3 m
      RFA Tender for Kearse 2.3 m

      This leaves about 8 m in cap space for draft picks, IR and Rollover.

      notable losses in 2015 FA period would be
      Maxwell (big loss, but you likely dont pay 4 DBs on one team)
      Rice, Carpenter, Smith

    • JeffC says:

      The guy who is gone after next year is Lynch.

      • Jon says:

        Mebane, Miller and Lynch are all heading off that list it seems. Lynch has to depend on Michael though.

        • JeffC says:

          I also think one of Malcolm Smith and KJ Wright is gone. Agree with you, they will really be expecting Hill or Williams to play into the Mebane role. And I think Mebane is gone and won’t come back on a cheap deal since even if he doesn’t find work somewhere, Gus Bradley always awaits in Jacksonville. I’m guessing that bulk of the guaranteed money gets paid to Percy, they evaluate his injuries and skills. If he’s lights out and healthy, they continue with him under the deal. Release him or renegotiate otherwise. Same with Bennett, Okung, and Unger at various points. Miller plays out his deal as someone else we don’t know about reaches stardom and needs a new deal…

          All in all, I’m sure they are staggering the deals for these scenarios. JS says they have various models that they are following. I only hope that Green Bay doesn’t try to snatch him away at some point.

          • Jon says:

            yeah I really dont include Smith or Wright though because they are no longer under contract in 2015. I was intending to look specifically at players that are getting older/expensive. I think Lynch will be worth the money, but ultimately does 9.5 m for a then turning 29 RB fit into the win forever? These are the things that we are going to be constantly looking at. Great times to be a hawk fan, but man will we have a hard time toward the beginning of each FA period for the next few years.

  13. Kyle says:

    Woo hoo! At the rate the this week is going, Aaron Donald will be a Hawk tomorrow ;)

    One thing I’m interested in is to see if Pete Carroll starts dropping twitter clues again tomorrow like he did in his first 3 drafts. If he does, it pretty much means that he and Schneider are 100% certain that they will get their guy.

    • Belgaron says:

      Has anyone ever truly linked songs to guys? I think he’s just messing with people.

      • House says:

        I have tried… Haven’t found any real link.

        Since Pete/John have been in the FO, I’ve gotten 2 picks correct each yr (not claiming rds, just the named players)

        2010: Okung/Tate
        2011: Durham/LeGree
        2012: Wagner/Turbin
        2013: Hill/Simon
        2014: ???

      • Kyle says:

        i actually got close with the Carpenter pick. He tweeted a song title that was done by Outkast and some other group who was from Arizona and said one group was correct. i correctly assumed that this was a reference to geographical location, i.e. where the band was from, and Outkast is from Atlanta. So i looked up every prospect who was born in Georgia or Arizona. I can’t remember who i guessed, but it wasn’t Carpenter, although my instinct was correct. Carpenter was born in Georgia, so I was on the right track.

        If Pete does this again, i’m calling for an open thread dedicated to figuring out Pete’s madness.

  14. hawkfaninMT says:

    Last year, or 2 years ago, the Hawks specifically avoided the LB position to entice LBs to come to Seattle. That was a UDFA selling point for them and it resulted in John Lotolieli(sp?). Am I remembering this correctly? If so, is there a position you could see them doing this with again this year?

    • Jon says:

      OG seems to be a lat round and UDFA position for the seahawks
      OT as well if we don’t take a guy in round 1 or 2 possibly.
      WR is a place they seem to do very well in UDFA but the depth at WR is very strong this year. what we are truly lacking is a big WR specifically.

    • Belgaron says:

      Yeah, they did that. I think the strategy this year is the PowerPoint they sent all the agents as has been widely reported.

  15. CC says:

    Great news!! For me, I like to look at the amount of his contract over the first 4 years and then the extension. He has been very underpaid given his production – so if you take it over the 8 year span, it is pretty fair and reasonable.

    Now, time to go buy that Sherm jersey!

    • hawkfaninMT says:

      Got my wolf grey #25 before this season… That is going to be continued to be worn for the next 5 years! WooHoo!

    • Belgaron says:

      We picked up jerseys last year as well in December. Had a feeling they’d be put to good use and it paid off big time. I did 25, wife 3, then I have kids in others (29, 11, 24, etc). Wouldn’t mind picking up some away jerseys, NFL pro shop had a great deal around cyber Monday last year.

  16. Matt says:

    Resigning 2 All Pro players in one off season is a big deal! The LOB stays in tact for 5 more years. News just doesn’t get much sweeter than that!

    Wonder if resigning Baldwin to a front loaded extension is the next deal handed out…if we don’t draft a WR.

    • Jon says:

      I think for Baldwins contract it is all about the numbers between him and the FO. I would sign him to a 5 year deal whether we draft a WR in the top 2 rounds or not. Harvin, Baldwin, R 1 WR, and Kearse (RFA tender in 15) for the next two years guaranteed sounds great to me.

    • AlaskaHawk says:

      Yes I would like to see them sign Baldwin long term. He is a great receiver and has had high yardage on the team some years.

  17. hawkfaninMT says:

    I know you said your final mock is coming out today… If you have time to add to it, or maybe a post tomorrow, could you post what 1-3 players you really hope the Hawks do not leave the draft without?

  18. Michael M. says:

    Thrilled to have Sherm locked up before draft day! I love our front office so much. They just get stuff done.

    • Belgaron says:

      Agreed. If they have ultimate success again this year, John could be in line for an award or two.

  19. James says:

    On most NFL rosters, the backups are just that…backups. But the Seahawks backups should be viewed more like a great draft class in waiting. Look who is next-man-up: Bowie, Bailey, Michael, Scruggs, Mayowa, Toomer, Hill, Williams, Simon, Shead and Ware. Those are not backups, that is incoming talent. Add Matthews, Price and Bates at WR, one of whom is likely to pop based on past experience. So this year’s draft class can essentially redshirt and be ready to fuel the fire a year from now.

    • Belgaron says:

      They will start to view it more and more like that if they continue to get hits on finding great talent. But their goal is to find guys who can have immediate impact competing and be ready to step in if needed.

  20. Jon says:

    I read somewhere that Lee is expected to slip to the second round (health concerns were cited but very vague). Is there any way the Hawks do not draft him if he is there at #32.

    • Rob Staton says:

      I think it’s incredibly unlikely he drops to #32. Any reporter worried about health concerns should go and watch the Stanford game from 2013.

      • Jon says:

        I think it was a reference to some injury (like I said it was vague) and I agree with you by the way

    • AlaskaHawk says:

      There is a mock draft to support every different player picked this year. Drafttek has us getting Lee at #32.

    • Belgaron says:

      I’ve seen him slide on a number of mock drafts to the 2nd round, it’s curious.

  21. Clayton says:

    This was a necessary move but it is no doubt a great one. Rob, what are your thoughts on Avril next year? Can they afford to keep him? They still have Russell Wilson and possibly Russell Okung to sign. There’s a whole bunch of highlight film on him making plays last year. Michael Bennett wasn’t the only difference-maker on D in 2013.

    • Belgaron says:

      Part of that depends on Avril. If he throws down 18 sacks, he might have priced his way off the team. And he could absolutely do that if the rest of the D sets him up.

  22. Dirk says:

    Question: Would you trade Maxwell for a mid to early 2nd rd pick? I’m thinking, given our ability to develop cb’s, this might be a good time and draft to cash in on his stock.

    • Mattk says:

      Man, that’d be hard. Most trade scenario I scuff at, but a 2nd or 3rd rounder for Maxwell sounds about right. Personally, I wouldn’t. I think Maxwell is just coming into his own on this defense. He was a big part of the reason our defense stayed as elite as it was without BB. With a re-peat of the Superbowl on the line, I’d rather keep the group intact for another year.

      • AlaskaHawk says:

        Maxwell had similar pass protection numbers as Sherman. Would you have traded Sherman?

        • Steve Nelsen says:

          You enjoy the rewards of finding a player like Maxwell with elite talent at a premium position by having him play on your team and get wins. Get that trophy this year. Worry about replacing Maxwell next year (or maybe even you figure out a way to keep him!) if you trade him, then you have to replace him now. You can’t take this window of opportunity for granted.

    • Belgaron says:

      No, Maxwell could have 10 INTs this year, especially if they stay away from Sherm. Look for a breakout year this year.

      • Dirk says:

        I think he “broke out” last year. I really like him, but for Jacksonville’s R2 pick I would be interested…

        • Matt says:

          Maxwell has to be a part of the LOB if we want to repeat. He’s going to get paid by someone next off season, just not us. We’ll likely get a 3rd round comp pick in 2016 in reward for him pricing himself off of our roster. His last year of service is waaaayyy more valuable than getting a 2nd rounder in 2014 instead of a 3rd in 2016. CB’s typically take a year or 2 to develop. Max is entering his 4th year and is primed to establish himself as elite. Even if you could promise me one of the top 5 CB’s in this draft I’d stick with Max for 2014. Got to get title #2 before 3 or 4.

  23. Mattk says:

    Rob – In John and Pete’s presser, John commented on the value of the 5th year options for first round QBs. Then he began to list other positions which were also valuable because of the 5th year option before stopping himself.

    If you made a list of top positions after the QB that the 5th year is most valuable, what would it look like?

    My first guess is a position which is hardest to replace in the draft on the field would be left tackle. After that I’m not sure, maybe DE?

    What say you (or anyone readers)?

    • AlaskaHawk says:

      I would say elite quarterback, wide receiver/punt returner, and left tackle on offense. Elite cornerback, safety, defensive end and middle linebacker on defense.

      • Mattk says:

        From what I’ve read, after QB, WR, Tackle, CB, and S will be the most loaded at the bottom of the first round. Based on your list which makes a lot of sense, I could see a number of teams looking to trade up into #32 spot for one of those guys.

    • Nate says:

      Yes we need OT depth, and an Okung successor,since most of our OL is G depth. Luckily Bowie is good at RT and has a higher potential for progression than Breno. Signing both James and Richardson could be intriguing.
      We could only hope to pull a Rice on Okung (cut and re-sign for cheap(er) )

    • Belgaron says:

      2. Left Tackle, 3. Shutdown Corner, 4. Game Changing Offensive Weapon, 5. High pressure sacks DE, 6. Game changing interior DL

      • Mattk says:

        Good list. I agree. I think there’s a few options at those positions which will intrigue a few teams to move up.

    • James says:

      The 5th year option is very over-rated. Only a few players will warrant the $7 – $10 mil/yr salaries that vest when the 5th year option is exercised. In theory, any player at a consistent pro bowl level after just three years in the league would be worth the cap hit, but few are at that level. A good starting QB would warrant the option, and maybe 5 or 6 other players in the pool. My understanding is that once the option is exercised, the team can still cut the player before the 5th year (re discussion about Aldon Smith)?

      • Mattk says:

        If I understand the process correctly (and I might not), the difference in salary for the 5th year option contract for a defensive end at #32 spot is less, than say, the #1 spot. If a team thinks a specific player is there at the end of the first can play at a pro bowler level, the extra 5th year option at a much smaller cap cost should be a huge incentive.

    • Rob Staton says:

      QB, LT, pass rusher, corner.

      Any position where you can fit in another year below the league leading salaries at that particular position.

      • Mattk says:

        Thank for the reply! I think LT and corner will have some value you there for other teams (not sure about pass rusher.)

  24. Ed C says:

    Gone next season:

    Carpenter/Miller/Rice

    Of this list Rob, who do you see staying past next year:

    Okung/Unger/Mebane/Wright/Avril/Lynch

    Would you trade next years one for Cleveland 2nd?

    We can’t pay Maxwell too, would you trade him for Detroit or Jax 2nd?

    Would give us:

    32
    36
    42
    64

    We could get (James/Bryant/Sua’Filo/Easley)

    What a draft that would be and save money for Wilson

    • Belgaron says:

      Why gamble future when what they are doing so far is working? They turn 5’s and 6’s into number one picks.

    • Rob Staton says:

      Okung, Unger… maybe Avril. Lynch might be gone. Not sure on Mebane.

      I wouldn’t trade next years one and I wouldn’t trade Maxwell.

    • Wes says:

      I think I’d rather take my chances on the best WR available at 32 rather than trade for Hill. Then if you hit on the guy, you’ve got them locked up for 4-5 years on a very manageable contract.

      • Belgaron says:

        They aren’t talking trading their 1st, it’d be a late pick, perhaps 2015.

        • House says:

          I’d give up a conditional 2015 pick for him. Maybe a 5th… We should still get a pick from OAK in the Flynn trade (6th or 7th), plus we’ll probably max out on 4 comp picks

    • Mattk says:

      He’d be perfect in our system. He was a deep vertical threat at GT and could play the same role in our offense without having to worry about playing as a true #1.

  25. Ed C says:

    Hill showed some flashes and can get deep. I would take a flyer on him. If we did, add Rice/Harper/Pryor/Hill to list of WR and probably means we go OL/DL with 32 and 64

  26. Matt says:

    The contract is worth $57.4M — with the four years added to the one remaining on his current deal. On average he’ll be paid around $11.8m per year, with $40m guaranteed.

    Does this mean that Sherm is only a $1.4M cap hit this year? Or does he start to get paid this year? Just wondering if we’ll be able to roll over a bit of cap space for next year…