Seahawks face challenging free agency

March 9th, 2014 | Written by Rob Staton

The Tweet above appeared last night, just after the ‘legal tampering’ phase of free agency began.

24 hours later, Drew Rosenhaus appears to be right.

It is going to be a lot different this year.

(By the way, do you know who Michael Bennett’s agent is? His name rhymes with ‘Brew Chosen House’.)

Today Everson Griffen re-signed with the Minnesota Vikings on a $42.5m contract with $20m guaranteed.

That’s for the guy who recorded 5.5 sacks last year, by the way.

In four years he has just 17.5 sacks.

Now he’s getting paid $8m a year.

I think we can kiss goodbye to any hopes Michael Bennett is re-joining the Seahawks for $8m a year.

He’s a better pass rusher. He has better production. He’s just better.

The rising cap is having the desired impact. If the Griffen deal is any indication, teams are willing to spend a little more on ‘middle class’ talent. And while we’ll still see a few one year ‘prove it’ deals in the second stage of free agency, I suspect the big names will be snapped up very quickly.

Age plays a part of course. Griffen doesn’t turn 27 until December 22nd. The Vikings clearly believe he has development potential under their new coaching staff. They’re likely to go after Michael Johnson too, with Jared Allen moving on to pastures new.

If the Seahawks want Bennett, they’re probably going to have to fork out big money. And the money just isn’t there to make a long standing, expensive commitment.

He won’t be easy to replace if he does move on.

Especially not this off-season.

They might have to get creative. It might be a case of adjusting what they can do up front.

They have enough funds to look at Allen — but even he might generate a bigger market than first anticipated.

This is a crucial next few days for Seattle. It’s not just Bennett. Tony McDaniel and Clinton McDonald were crucial players on the defensive line. Golden Tate will get some interest, while even Steven Hauschka and O’Brien Schofield carry value.

Walter Thurmond was an underrated figure in Seattle’s secondary too. Breno Giacomini, for me, is as good as any right tackle in the league.

Losing Bennett might increase the chances of those players being kept — but don’t make any assumptions here. If the market is red hot on Tuesday, you can bet your life teams will go after a piece of Seattle’s pie.

The value of guys like McDaniel and McDonald could go beyond what is realistic for the Seahawks. At the end of the day, you’re not going to give either a big contract just because Bennett’s moving on.

If spending is increasing dramatically in the open market, Seattle’s stars could easily see their value sky rocket. Hey — they were part of a relentless, dominating defense.

If you lose those two players plus Bennett and Red Bryant — that’s a heck of a lot of change up front. Cliff Avril and Chris Clemons are only contracted through 2014 too, so there’s really no long term consistency on the defensive line outside of Brandon Mebane (who has a deal until 2015).

Seattle’s secondary gets a lot of publicity — and rightly so.

But you need a pass rush and you need to play the run well. It all starts there. The Seahawks defense took the next step last season because they had superior pass rush options compared to 2012.

Fortunately Seattle has a front office known for pulling a few strings and making things happen. Nobody expected the Percy Harvin/Bennett/Avril moves a year ago. They’re playing with less money and more holes this year, but you know they’ll have a plan of some kind.

They’ll need one. Because this is going to be a great challenge.

By the way, I wonder if this is any indication as to where Bennett ends up? Coincidence?

137 Responses to “Seahawks face challenging free agency”

  1. Ben2 says:

    Yeah, I saw that Griffen singing in ESPN and thought how significant it was for Benett, specifically, and the FA market in general. I can’t see how Bennett will sign for less than 10 mil a year … And that type of $$$ on the defense might be reserved for Sherm and ET. It’ll be interesting to see how this FA period plays out.

  2. Colin says:

    Pretty well convinced myself that Bennett isn’t coming back.

  3. hawkmeat says:

    It is too bad so many front offices overpay. The next couple years will be interesting how this pans out. Doesn’t front offices learn off of others mistakes. Dolphins overpaid last year, and eagles attempt a couple years ago should be examples how not to go about free agency. Oh well. Bennett deserves being paid, and I will be bummed he will likely be gone.

    I am more concerned about an entirely different front line. Yikes. Also I wish Avril was signed longer than two years.

  4. Robert says:

    It’s looking more and more likely that our Draft board is going to prioritize adding young talent to the DL. Im hope Tuitt and/or Hageman are available at #32!

    • Rob Staton says:

      Can’t see Hageman being there. Tuitt? Perhaps.

    • DoubleJ says:

      Seems to me looking at the draft and Rob’s analysis we would have to move up to get the types of DL players who would be able to help right away?

      That hasn’t been our MO but suppose it might be worth looking, particularly while “in the window”

  5. DoubleJ says:

    Yeah we can’t and shouldn’t pay him 10M, unfortunately — will be curious what Allen’s market is, for sure.

    I wonder if we might now pivot and try to look at (reasonably priced) OL options in FA, and then pass rush options earlier in the draft? (though we might have to trade up to get to the guy we want given the draft doesn’t look terribly deep at that position/role)

    You raise a good point that we’re in danger of losing continuity on the line this year and next, so getting another young player or two into the mix would be helpful, as another likely bump in the cap makes me feel that it’s unlikely we retain either Avril or Clemons beyond this next year. In the interior line, I hope we get at least one of McDonald and McDaniel back, but could also see us ready to put Scruggs, Hill, Williams et al into the mix there…

    Interesting times to be sure

    • Rob Staton says:

      It’s a rotten year to prioritise the DL. So limited in the early rounds.

      I think they’ll have to target a guy like Jared Allen and find a few cheap gems.

      • DoubleJ says:

        Yeah agreed — they’d have to really trade up to get at the right caliber of player, which maybe is ok if we are locking up depth in other places with the money we didn’t spend on Bennett (i.e., use next year’s early draft picks as part of package to move up this year)

        I like the Allen idea as an alternative, though, assuming he’s reasonably priced

      • Eli says:

        Rob,
        Speaking of cheap gems, do you think Corey Wooten would be worth a look? I thought he brought some inside pass rush to the table. He’s got good size (6’6 275) and has been ok with the Bears, could be a revelation for us. As bargins go, How about Alex Carrington? He’s had limited snaps due to being behind Marcel Darius, Mario Williams and Kyle Williams with the Bills but has had success with limited playing time. He’s still young at 26, has good size at 6’5 301 and his calling card appears to be interior pass rush.

        • Eli says:

          On Wooten, I meant I thought he might bring some interior pass rush. Have’nt assessed him since he was in the big 10 though, is he strictly an edge guy?

      • Arias says:

        I read that Jared Allen is somewhat of a locker room lawyer, which makes him somewhat undesirable as a locker room presence that some teams will want to avoid. I wonder if you have an opinion on that and how it might affect the Hawks desire to pursue him.

  6. Brett says:

    I wouldn’t be surprised to see Seattle shell out $10 mill a year for Bennett. He would essentially be replacing Clemons’ cap number.

    • DoubleJ says:

      The challenge with that though is that commitment goes 2-4 years beyond the Clemons hit (probably at least 2 depending on how the guaranteed money is spread) and every dollar starting in 2015 has to be spent perfectly given ET/RS/RW extensions

      He is a unique player, though, so I don’t suppose it’s out of the realm of possibility they go to $10M — that number just gets me to a point as to whether you want to use it there vs. a lot of other things you could do (e.g., that could equal McDaniel + McDonald + Tate + early pass rusher draft pick) with that amount. Maybe they could really front-load his deal to get a lot of it out of the way in 2014 and 2015, dunno.

      • Rob Staton says:

        Also worth noting Avril’s $9m comes off the books next year, Okung’s cap hit drops by about $4m while there are other savings to be had.

        Theoretically they could pay Bennett $10m and re-sign the other guys. It’d be expensive but do-able.

        • DoubleJ says:

          If we’re talking other things that could come off the cap after this season, at the risk of getting things thrown at me, I’d add that Lynch is a $9M hit in 2015 with $7.5M potential cap savings — I know, I know, but another year of wear and tear on him + all that money for the big three, it’s going to be really tough not to make additional cap tradeoffs there

          Having banged around for 20 min on the Over the Cap salary cap calculator, my completely amateur conclusion is to walk back a bit and say that I’m now really on the fence on the $10M number — as others have noted, it’s expensive but certainly possible and he’s unique enough to potentially pay a bit over what we would have liked, but I’m not certain how we’ll make Bennett + all the extensions hitting in 2015 and 2016 work. Bennett, ET, Sherm, and Wilson could make up 30-40% of our total cap in those two years, unless I’m missing something.

          Something tells me if we do the Bennett deal, that means we’re going to put off Sherm extension until after we franchise him in 2015, which may be the right trade-off anyways…

          • Rob Staton says:

            I think it’s an extremely valid point on Lynch. And when Richard Sherman mentioned that Lynch had joked he’d retire if they won the Super Bowl, I think he was only half joking. It wouldn’t shock me at all if by 2015 Christine Michael was this teams lead back. Lynch is 28 this year but his body has taken an absolute pounding. And he doesn’t strike me as the type of guy who will just play forever. I think he’ll know when to move on and do other things with his life, having surely achieved everything he set out to do in the NFL.

            • Kenny Sloth says:

              But… That Action…. :,\

            • Michael (CLT) says:

              I think it is time for people to begin to think about Sherman leaving. Sherman is a fantastic person… But DBS are Carroll’s forte.

              I suspect Seattle would keep Lynch over Sherman… Even if for one year.

              • Rob Staton says:

                There are three players this team won’t even let get anywhere near the open market — Russell Wilson, Earl Thomas and Richard Sherman.

                Sherm’s here for the long haul.

                That’s how I see it.

                • Michael (CLT) says:

                  I hope so. I just want to put Bennett there for three years.

                  Game changers. Season changers… All of them

                • DoubleJ says:

                  I agree but if Sherman is looking for 16m/year, do we give him that?

                  • DoubleJ says:

                    Versus getting Bennett back now plus some money left over (sorry hit submit too soon)

              • DoubleJ says:

                Question – are you saying the choice is to keep Lynch in 2015 and not franchise Sherman vs. franchising him and letting lynch go?

                I think worst case with Sherman is that we franchise him in 2015 then let him walk in 2016, regardless of what we do with either Bennett or lynch – but that said, the lynch trade off will have slightly more to do what we do with Bennett rather than Sherman

                With lynch we have a whole season to assess where he is before making a decision on him – love the guy and that action, and the “business casual” TD celebration, but he’s got 6 more games against NFC west defenses to go through, and backs today, particularly the physical ones, can tail off pretty quickly. I will be pretty surprised if lynch is on the team in 2015, sad to say it.

                That said, with Sherman, I’m torn if he fixates on the 16m per year revis contract – if that’s his price in 2016 and beyond, I’m not sure I pay that and am with you that PC can develop the next man up

                • Michael (CLT) says:

                  Yes… Pete Dan create another Sherman. He cannot mold a Lynch. Lynch’s happen.

          • LantermanC says:

            Don’t know why you’d think open-minded people here would throw things at you for a valid and possible suggestion. Personally, prior to this past season, I was wondering if Lynch would drop off a cliff and be cut this off-season. I think the drafting of Christian Michael at least shows that JS and PC were at least aware of this possibility.

            • Michael (CLT) says:

              You may be right. I have found it odd PC’s approach to value. TE’s are rare. Difference maker RB’s are rare. QB’s are rare. Safety’s are rare.

              PC knows he can create another Sherman. He cannot create a Lynch or Wilson.

              Anyone who thinks Michael can measure to Lynch’s greatness is wishful.

              I am probably wrong on all counts. But Pete coaches a psychology… And this is what the process holds true.

    • Kip Earlywine says:

      This is how I see it too. Seattle will stretch to match Bennett’s offers just like they did for Red Bryant.

  7. Brandon says:

    As ridiculous as it seems even 10 million may be a low number at this point. I like the guy, and understand his impact on this defense, but I don’t believe you pay that kind of money for him. People reference Clemons, and understandably, however, Chris is on essentially a one-year deal. It’s not the 10+ million investment of Bennett this year that makes this kind of deal untenable. It’s the hit moving forward that just won’t work with the other extensions that must get done on core players. This is same reason Tate has yet to be signed to an extension. FO has the price they’re willing to pay, and for the most part they stand on it. Long term the Hawks will be a better team for it.

  8. Cameron says:

    Time to dust off the contingency plans.

    There is a serious market correction going on, and there are some serious overpays going on. There is no need to join in on the madness, even for Bennett. Great front offices must be like great investors and look for value. Warren Buffett has never paid market value for any investment in his life. We must take the same approach. There will be value out their in free agency. I am convinced if we are patient and hold our ground it will reveal itself shortly.

    If Bennett can’t be brought back, I see potential value in using the money earmarked for him and going after a few DL in FA. Guys like Henry Melton and Randy Starks aren’t going to get big contracts, for injury and age reasons respectively.

    Are they Bennett? Do they possess his unique flexible qualities? No, but I’m hear to tell you we can survive without Bennett’s skillset. Hell Dan Quinn squeezed 3.5 sacks out of Clinton McDonald. I think we can get McDonald for the 2-3 million apy range. He’ll be 80% of Bennett at 25% of the price.

    I don’t see Seattle addressing the interior D-line in the draft. There’s simply no track record there. I think Seattle would rather have a strong rotation of guys than a static line of starts anyways. Keep guys fresh and use the creativity of Dan Quinn to generate production. That’s the ticket.

    • Rob Staton says:

      McDonald actually had 5.5 sacks.

      I want to see Michael Brooks come in and really challenge for that spot if McDonald departs. Whenever he saw the field in pre-season or the regular season, he had an impact. Plus he’s cheap…

      Starks and Melton are two guys I hope we look at. For the right price, of course.

      • Chris F says:

        Yeah, Melton’s on my radar as well. Rumor has it that he and Chicago aren’t getting along and since they weren’t able to reach any agreement before this weekend, maybe there is some truth to it.

        I’d be curious to know how he’s coming along off that ACL injury and what impact the injury will have on his value in free agency. If he passed muster with the team doctors and trainers and if the price were right, signing him might mitigate the loss of Bennett.

        • Rob Staton says:

          Possibly. They’re different players IMO. If he can get back to 2012 form he’d be a very effective weapon. It’s a big ‘if’ though when you haven’t been in control of the recovery and you don’t have all the details like Chicago do. It really depends what the cost is. Seattle might be priced out of all these big names after tendering Baldwin and Johnson. You can make an exception for Bennett because he’s been part of the team. It might be a case of re-sign him or move on and look at the second wave FA’s. It depends whether Melton ends up on that list.

    • Jeremy says:

      Warren Buffett, you mean the guy who fired a couple hundred people in my city? Let’s not make that comparison.

      • Kenny Sloth says:

        In Schneider’s first year here they made something like 300 roster transactions. It’s not a bad comp (;

  9. matt509 says:

    I personally don’t think this will effect Bennett

    • Colin says:

      It absolutely effects Bennett. This backup, nice guy player just got a pretty substantial contract, averaging $8 million a year.

      Bennett now has leverage to use $10 million as a starting point. I’m betting he gets between $8.5-9.5.

      • David M says:

        i think they offered him so much because there premier pass rusher ( Jared Allen) is leaving and they obvisouly are not resigning him

      • Belgaron says:

        He only has that as a staring point if a team like Chicago has already put it on the table. You can demand what others are getting but you don’t have any leverage until you have an actual offer.

        • Arias says:

          And according to Chicago media Chicago has put it on the table, which is why it’s being reported he’s going to sign at the dotted line first thing Tuesday morning. Whether that’s a shot through the media to get the Seahawks to match remains to be determined, but the reports out of Chicago seem pretty confident.

      • xo 1 says:

        My initial reaction was the same, but I have come to be persuaded that Griffen is a nice player who would have had surprising interest on the market. He is young and talented. It’s easy to look at the limited production and think this is an overpay, but if Minnesota hadn’t paid him, some other team would have. Put differently, he has the profile that teams rarely see in free agency – he will be better during the contract than he has been before.

      • Matt says:

        Told you it wouldn’t effect him

    • Belgaron says:

      Last year, Rosenhaus was only able to score 4-5M for Bennett, so to double that would be much better than last year and everyone already expects him to be at 8-9M/year already. It still remains to be seen if teams will go beyond that.

    • Kip Earlywine says:

      I don’t think it will move the needle much either. All it amounts to is another talking point for Rosenhaus. They were gunning for $10 million anyway, it’s not like having Griffen sign for $8.5 by a desperate team changes much.

      Last year Mike Wallace signed for 5/60, then Wes Welker signed for… 2/12. Every player has a unique market and just because a team overpays for one guy doesn’t mean every player at that position will be overpaid for.

  10. red says:

    I don’t think we will be adding any significant FA even if we don’t sign Bennett. At this time we have about 12-13 mil in cap. Tate 5mil Hasckua sp? 2.5 extend Earl +2mil tavaris 1.5 mil = 11 mil maybe restructure miller and save a mil or two maybe cut carp and save a million maybe shop Irvin. We should have tried to sign Cumberland at TE and cut Miller could have freed up another 3-4 mil and been ok at TE.

  11. Michael (CLT) says:

    Seattle should just give Bennett 30M guaranteed over three years and go cheap everywhere else. This guy basically won us a Super Bowl.

    • Belgaron says:

      They don’t need to outbid anyone and may even succeed with slightly less that other team’s offers. No need to step past lines in the sand until you know what you’re up against. For all we know right now, he may have received interest along the lines Seattle has already offered. To drive up a price, you have to have at least two motivated bidders.

      • Michael (CLT) says:

        I am pretty sure Seattle knows the demarcation line. All that is left is for Bennett to chose.

        • Belgaron says:

          Absolutely, so 3×10 may be much higher than anyone’s offered yet or it might not even be in the running anymore; only leaks from involved parties would let us into the negotiations. They weren’t willing to offer enough to make him forget talking to anyone else but it doesn’t mean they are out yet either.

    • Arias says:

      I completely agree with you. They should do what they need to in order to re-sign Bennett.

  12. David M says:

    dont forget Clemons will be back to 100% health. last season, his ACL tear really affected his performance until the final few games. if he can go 100% like in 2012, and avril is there, thats a pretty good pass rush, add in maybe Irvin or Mayoya, or maybe Jared allen on select downs, and we could be even better than we were with Bennett.

    i would rather not pay Bennett 10+ mill when thay can use that money to resign, Breno, Houschka, 1 of the MC’s

    • Michael (CLT) says:

      I would suggest all those guys are replaceable.

    • Rob Staton says:

      I’m not sure I buy into this. Clemons will be 33 this year. His peak, with or without the ACL injury, is probably in the past. I doubt we’ll ever see 2012 Chris Clemons again. He can still be an effective rusher for another year, but I don’t think anyone should expect to see CC back to his explosive best.

      • Belgaron says:

        The LOB and LBs will be even stronger next year, which only helps the pass rush have a few more Mississippis to get to the QB. Clemons could lose a quarter step and still have very productive numbers; he played much of last year on the mend as he worked back into top shape.

        I agree with the team that they should remain competitive on Bennett if possible. But the ‘next guys up’ plus whomever they bring in could be even more productive than last year in terms of overall effectiveness and stats. Looking forward to a very strong defense this year. Hopefully Bennett will still be a part, but there are other opportunities for greatness available on Seattle’s D line.

        • Rob Staton says:

          Even the best secondary in the NFL can’t blanket cover for more than a few seconds. Pressure is king in the NFL. The LOB will always make plays, but you can’t generate a pass rush with great coverage consistently. Coverage sacks are not frequent.

          I want to believe in a ‘next guy up’ mentality but the truth is — this team has been after a Michael Bennett for a while. And they found him in 2013. Losing him would be a genuine kick in the nuts. He was fantastic last season and a as much a priority re-sign as anyone else on the defense not called Earl Thomas. It’ll be a body blow if he goes. We as fans can shrug it off if we want. But it’ll be a huge loss. And one that will need all the skill this front office has to address.

          • Belgaron says:

            I agree on Bennett but I remain hopeful they can find/develop more high end pass rushers.

            I would argue that any play that ends in either a sack, interception, incompletion, yards lost or only a few yards gained is a win and good coverage is part of the equation on every play. Take the Indianapolis game last year, the Colts were able to take advantage of a few of the LOB’s aggressive plays to burn them. This year, Seattle’s coverage units are more experienced and that much stronger. The better they play, the more time they allow for the D line to also be productive. This makes guys who aren’t necessarily J. J. Watt to deliver better statistics than they would otherwise.

            • Arias says:

              Bennett was also out for injury during that Colts game, which I believe was a factor in their ability to exploit the secondary.

          • Michael (CLT) says:

            Bennett’s skill set is what made this D dominant. Without MBA they will be good. Without inside pressure, however, they will struggle to carry the offense like they did from the first Saints game on.

            MB changed this D. Pay him 12 a year. Just do it. Let Sherman go to Jax. Sigh… The cap sucks.

            • Kenny Sloth says:

              I feel like Sherman might want to go somewhere else just because. I think he wants to prove that he’s not a product of the guys around him. Just my take. Not questioning his loyalty or anything, but I think he’ll want to add to his resume.

            • Colin says:

              I wouldn’t act like Bennett is not replaceable. It will be hard to find another guy who can do what he does immediately.

              Wait. Just read your ‘pay him 12, let Sherm go’ comment. You are obviously high.

  13. Jeremy says:

    Rob, maybe you can explain how this whole signing bonus thing works. The cowboys restructured Romo’s contract, essentially moving 12.5 mil of his 13.5 mil base contract into a signing bonus…lowering the cap 10 mil. It looks like he did not take any pay cut. In a salary cap era, how is this possible, and why wouldn’t every team pull that off??

    • Rob Staton says:

      I think it helps them pay more cash up front but push the cap hit into later years. Essentially, they’ll pay for it in the future.

    • Jon says:

      signing bonus is simply prorated. That is now guaranteed money. When he turned 12.5 m into a bonus it takes 10 m away from this years cap hit, but they still pay him that 10 m over the next several years. 12.5 over 5 years is 2.5 m per year. This means that if his cap hit was 20 m next year 2015 then now it is 22.5 m. These restructures are the reason the cowboys are loosing every year, because they have to keep releasing players.

    • Belgaron says:

      Converting base to bonus means Romo gets the same amount this year but the team will have a larger cap hit in subsequent years even though they already paid him the money. If the player gets injured out of the league, they would have to eat all of the remaining bonus in a cap hit for a single year. Teams that do this a lot are setting themselves up for at least one horrible year and possibly more in terms of salary available to payout.

      A much stronger financial structure for the team for a player that continues to perform at a high level is if they front load the deal with a high base pay on year 1. Then the average per year remains high but the cap hit decreases in subsequent years. The downside is less motivation for the player as they’ve already been paid.

  14. DawgDav says:

    Rob – Any thoughts on Scott Crichton as a potential draft replacement for Bennett? Crichton has surprisingly similar size/speed numbers to Bennett coming out of college and Crichton is much further along in terms of technique than Bennett was. Also I was surprised to see that Crichton actually was used as an interior pass rusher on occasion at Oregon State (and had some great pressures from the interior verse Stanford).

    • Rob Staton says:

      I may have to go back and watch that Stanford game. I saw him rush from the interior vs Oregon and he was totally ineffective. He’s shorter but the same weight. Pretty slow, marginal athlete. I thought he was a R3-4 guy at the combine and now I think he may be even lower. I’m not too optimistic he can be another Bennett.

      • DawgDav says:

        My view re Oregon was that he was limited for pretty much the entire game from pinning his ears back and rushing since they were trying to read and react (not over penetrate) versus the read option. He was also double teamed quite a bit which is a win in itself. Also, I don’t think he shows that well versus the run (getting off blocks, etc); however, if you’re hoping he can be a pass rusher, I’m not sure how much that matters.

        Also worth noting that Crichton and Bennett’s combine numbers are virtually identical.

        Crichton – Ht: 6027, Wt: 273, 10 yd split: 1.62, Bench: 24, Vertical Jump: 31 1/2, Broad Jump: 09’00″
        Bennett – Ht: 6034, Wt: 274, 10 yd split: 1.62, Bench: 24, Vertical Jump: 31, Broad Jump: 09’02″

        Versus the pro style offense of Stanford, he had several inside rushes from the outside (including a beautiful pancake of a guard that lead to a sack) and rushed from the interior 3 times. Of those three interior rushes, one time he was double teamed and contained. One time he bull rushed a guard 4 yards into the pocket and ended up commanding a triple team and the third he blew by his man and completely collapsed the pocket.

  15. Kenny Sloth says:

    A guy I’ve really taken a liking to is Will Clarke of WVU. He’s a bit of a tweener for this specific defense at 6’6 270, but he could either drop ten lbs and play leo or add ten lbs and play the Michael Bennett role. West Virginia used him inside an awful lot last year with varying success.

    If we want him we probably have to use our second rounder on him. I’m really bad at draft stock, though.

    Where is Brent Urban being projected by guys not named “Rob Staton”?

    • Jon says:

      I heard some third round type projections.

      • Kenny Sloth says:

        That’s about what I thought. Man… I really need to find some more underrated guys. It sucks. You find one guy that’ll be a steal and then his obvious talent continues to be obvious and then he’s a top 15 lock. Fuckin’ Aaron Donald.

  16. Cade says:

    This is pretty much the beginning of what I was saying about CAP rising not helping us that much. Salary inflation eats up the extra funds. You know who it does help?

    It helps teams who have their key guys locked in long term.

    We are the opposite of that. We have a combination of undervalued free agents who are up to get paid and superstars (picked in later rounds) who are in their uber cheap rookie deals.

    Anyways one thing I am not concerned about is this teams ability to winforever. Seahawks will continue to draft well and identify value in free agency. We may just end up losing some pieces along the way that feel like steps sideways or backwards. That is how its going to go. Maybe we will be wrong and a young guy or FA will play better than the guy we lost.

    • Belgaron says:

      I agree. The best long term scenario is to earn compensatory picks every year and let the Seahawks talent evaluation team go to work. But having a coach that players prefer to play for and world class owner, facilities, and fans only helps in negotiations. And now they have a legitimized success record to add to the attraction.

  17. Kenny Sloth says:

    OT!!! Who is your favorite non-Seahawk? Active only!

    Mine was Tom Brady, but I think it’s Matthew Stafford now. He has such a live arm. And I like his whole meathead persona.

    • Rob Staton says:

      Larry Fitzgerald.

      • Kenny Sloth says:

        My favorite part of Fitz’ game is that he never left AZ. I always like one team players. Especially when they’re for mediocre teams.

    • Belgaron says:

      I have a hard time deciding between Kuechly, Mathis, Quinn and Watt but I’d probably have to say Kuechly.

      • Kenny Sloth says:

        I was so down on him before the draft. That was back when I hung on Matt Miller of B******* R*****’s every word. That was my first year of scouting, really. *shudders* I remember considering Morris Claiborne a can’t miss prospect….

        • Jordan says:

          I feel your pain. I thought Kuechly at 7 was a reach, and let all of my draft buddies know it.

          Crow, meet mouth

    • LantermanC says:

      JJ Watt. Physical freak, seems like he’s a workaholic too.

    • Michael (CLT) says:

      Steve Smith… Crazy good short guy. Love him.m go Panthers :)

    • Hay stacker509 says:

      Calvin Johnson hands down. Him and Fitz have my upmost respect for being classy talented and respected players at their positions and have so far stayed 1 team players and not cost said teams an arm and leg

      • Kenny Sloth says:

        For sure! If CJJ wasn’t already Megatron I’d call him laxative. Cuz he make shit happen.

    • Ray says:

      Mines big red Bryant!!

  18. red says:

    Hi Rob

    When Peppers gets cut what do you think his market is? Still somewhat solid player, but getting up there in age.

  19. Mylegacy says:

    Last year the Cap Giveth (Avril and Bennett on the cheap)- this year the Cap Taketh Away (Bennett, Tate, Bryant, etal).

    The Cap is a cruel mistress (reminds me of my first wife – but – that’s another story). The Cap however IS doing its job – namely, to pretty much guarantee that a SB team can only repeat with an enormous amount of great planning and luck.

    Carroll’s system – “Compete forever, next man up, young/tough/fast/big” also contributes to what we’re going to see this off-season. A guy like Bennett is TOLD everyday by the team…we want to keep you challenged, uncomfortable, with young guys who we WANT to beat you – and when they are better – even by an inch – you’re toast, gone, so long (DaBeast, and all other veterans hear this everyday). Carroll’s system encourages the young and makes the old(ish) want to make their mark with the Hawks and then get their long term payday with the Jags (or such team that is trying to convince their fans that they’re doing everything they can to compete by overpaying for last years performance).

    To understand WHAT the Hawks will actually decide they NEED to do this off-season IN ORDER TO “COMPETE FOREVER,” we need to know how the team sees: Boatright (a real fav of mine), Scruggs, Brooks, Ware, Williams, DeShawn, Turbin, Michael, Coleman, Hauptmann, Mayowa.

    ALSO how they see what the future growth of the following will be: Bowie, Bailey, Clemens (now that he’s healthy), Irvin (now that he understands his new position), Johnson, Lockette, Lane, Maragos, etc.

    Only if we fans knew how the Hawks REALLY SEE the above guys going forward; will we “THE 12″ be able to somewhat understand the decisions the team will make this off-season both in free agency and the draft. The team has to KNOW who they really have that’s able to “step up and be the next man.” ALL other decisions flow from that point.

    • Belgaron says:

      Players appreciate Carroll’s system; his popularity showed up in a poll of players. As an individual, of course you are always aware that someone could come in and beat you out of your job but on the flip side, you don’t want the teammates next to you to be the GM’s sacred cows—you want your teammates to be the best guys available. Consistent application of this principle is what converts a good or even very good team into a truly great team. A team that people want to be part of.

    • Jon says:

      wonderful post. This is a great check point for each of us to recognize.

    • Robert says:

      Agreed. We will know how the FO values those young prospects by the moves they do and don’t make. I am totally pumped by the young talent on our team and our ability to draft/develop 1st round production out of mid-late round prospects. A couple months ago, Richard Sherman was beaming about the play of Akeem Auguste (in practice). Brooks looked phenomenal, at times last pre-season. Scruggs and Boatright have put on 20 pounds and I have no doubt that weight gain was carefully planned and managed by Seahawks trainers. I am really high on Boatright, as well. In college, he demonstrated a combination of footwork and violent hands that allowed him to immediately get blockers off balance.Then he would destroy the blocker and attack the QB or RB. That varied footwork in conjunction with violent hands is instinctual for very few and I think he has it. I don’t know or care about his 40. His 4 yard time through blockers is elite. And the way he does it translates to the NFL…I am very hopefully, pretty sure…

  20. Stuart says:

    Teams in every major sport have always overpaid since the early days of FA. As many posters have stated including me, the increase in cap dollars is all relative.

    Most people increase their spending and lifestyle according to their income, I always did. The more you make the more you spend. Now with the increased cap, we are seeing that first hand, and it didn’t take long.

    I really admire and appreciate that PC/JS don’t jump out and overpay early, they wait until the dust clears and pick up bargains…

    It looks clear now that somebody will overpay for Bennett.

    I want to be become a charted member of the sign “Henry Melton Bus.”

    My preference would be a 3-4 year deal.

  21. Gramsci says:

    The whole idea of “overpaying” is absurd. Supply and demand determine compensation price. If there is a demand to pay Bennett $10 million a year, then that is, by definition, what the market has determined to be a fair price. It’s not like we live in a world where compensation is based on one’s relative importance to society. If we did, then we could say that Bennett was “overpaid” last year compared to a public school teacher for example. What makes Bennett crucial to next year’s team is he was able to get pressure on the inside over an opposing guard. The “supply” of that skill is quite rare. The idea that Brooks or Boatright can step off the practice squad and generate something similar is wishful thinking. If Bennett leaves, JS needs to go get Lamarr Houston. We are defending champions and the inside rushing skills of Bennett was the difference between winning this year and watching helplessly as Matt Ryan shredded our defense the year before.

    • Robert says:

      Maybe you are right. Time will tell. But our wishful thinking is fueled my numerous references of players that came out of obscurity, stepped up and played like champions. Kam, BB, Sherman, KJ, Wagz, Smith, both MCD’s and most recently Maxwell. Baldwin and Kearse are a couple on offense that are way over-performing per 31 other teams expectations for UFA’s. But PC has created a magical atmosphere with his always positive, always complete approach. He is a master of a very powerful communication paradigm that brings out the best in people and the results are stunning. I believe this year and every year we will be blown away as new kids step up and play like champions. This has become a pattern and a likelihood on our team. It remains a longshot for 31 other teams who must pay “market value” for too many players and try to win before the CAP implodes their team for 5 years.

      • Arias says:

        Even as a fan, that sounds a little too rose tinted to think every year we’re going to be blown away by the next man up. It didn’t really happen before on defensive line, which is why the team had to go out and get Bennett and Avril.

    • Steven says:

      The idea of overpaying is entirely relevant in a league where the total amount you can spend in one area is capped. Part of the way you manage that is by building a youth-heavy team who are still working on their first contract, but another part is by avoiding signing veterans to ill-advised contracts beyond their value that restricts your future flexibility.

      Otherwise, you end up with rosters like the Ruskell years, or the Bavasi Mariners.

  22. Scott Allen says:

    This is exactly why I was not excited by the league raising the cap. It doesn’t really enable us to better hold our team together when all the other teams have spending money to increase the demand on our best players.
    It’s as if the the league was overly manipulated by ownership immediately following the new CBA. Now it seems as if the Agents have used their pull to sway the balance back the other way a bit.
    I think that Roger Goodell may just be the most hypocritical wind bag on the planet….for this and countless other blusters, blunders, overstatements, mistakes, stubborness and unabashed flip flops.

    • bigDhawk says:

      I want us to use our extra money to lock up ET3 and Sherm to big extensions this offseason. In three years their contracts will look like bargains when the cap is $150M

      • Robert says:

        Totally agree and as much as I love RS and all his intangibles and impact on our team D and developing players, he would remain an option to acquire an abundance of Draft capital and free up 10-12 million in CAP if the FO decides they have developed young prospects in a year or two who can provide >90% (hypothetical estimate) of his performance.
        Maxwell’s emergence caused me to realize that we have a very efficient machine for churning out Pro Bowl CB’s. And if that is true, then we should leverage that ability to acquire Draft capital and manage our CAP. It would take a very bold and counter-intuitive move. But the enemy of maintaining a Championship caliber team is scarcity. We could transform that scarcity to an abundance of Draft capital and Cap room all in one very shrewd move…maybe.

        • bigDhawk says:

          I hear what you’re saying about trying to stay on the cutting edge of cap flexibility and roster churn, but in the absolutely unique case of Sherm I must disagree.

          My question is, what is the point of freeing up $10M+ cap space, like you said, if not to sign players like Sherm? If we are not going to spend it on Sherm, who else in FA would you rather spend it on? And what two first-round players in this or any draft would you rather have than Sherm? Best case hypothetical for this year – we trade Sherm for two picks that get us Evans and Donald. I still think Sherm by himself is better overall than those two players, and it would only go downhill from that point. There is no way we have anyone on our roster right now that will come close to giving us 90% of what Sherm gives us. He is 90% of the reason why players like Maxwell and Lane are as good as they are.

          The wonderful thing about having a world-class, championship-caliber player development system like PC’s Always Compete/Win Forever is that it will occasionally produce an Earl Thomas and a Richard Sherman. When it does, I think the organization must use the financial flexibility it gains by constantly churning out cheap but lesser talents like Maxwell, KJW, Smith, ADB, Kearse, etc to pay these unique, potentially GOAT-type player. If that is not the point of having such flexibility, I don’t know what is.

          • Chris says:

            “Best case hypothetical for this year – we trade Sherm for two picks that get us Evans and Donald. I still think Sherm by himself is better overall than those two players”

            It’d be those 2 players PLUS whomever we’d use the saved $ on vs. keeping Sherm.

            I love Sherm too, but if there’s been any position on the whole team where the front office has shown they can draft and develop talent, it’s CB. He’s probably the best chip this team has to play in terms of keeping this thing rolling into the future.

            • Robert says:

              If I am playing GM from my limited perspective, I ink ET3 and RS to long term deals NOW. Their market could really inflate with the CAP increases. Then I continue to develop Tharold Simon and the other young prospects. After this years run, our options would be open IF our young CB’s are ready to fill 90% of the void…The move would be a stunning power play!

          • Robert says:

            Best case hypothetical for this year – we trade Sherm for two picks that get us Evans and Donald. I still think Sherm by himself is better overall than those two players…
            But is the MARGIN of improved play over next man up better than Evans, Donald?
            I am not saying we should do this move. But it remains a possibility for a forward thinking FO with a Win Forever philosophy that might decide they would trade that said MARGIN of improved play for an abundance of Draft Capital and CAP $. If they do it at all, I think they will see how Simon develops first…

    • Ben2 says:

      BS!!!let the players get more of the revenue. These guys sell their bodies and brains for a very short window to get paid. Pay them. Baseball contracts, on the other hand are insane !

  23. Michael (CLT) says:

    The interesting part of this is the concept of value.

    Teams game plan for Bennett.

    Teams study Guys like big Red.

    They game plan for Bennett. Bennett changes the game. Sherman changes the game. Earl changes the game. Russ changes the game. Okung changes the game. Lynch changes the game.

    Everybody else… Well… They’re just there for the ‘food’.

    • Robert says:

      I think a big part of our DL’s effectiveness was that all the players were effective and rested as they share reps. Also, we slow games down to minimize total plays. It helps a lot that the LOB provides stifling coverage. I am a big Bennett fan. But I am a bigger fan of wisely managing our CAP and trusting our system of developing players who are ready to play big. If we cannot ink Bennett, then a number of players simmering on the roster will contribute to fill the void by committee. We may have to alter our scheme to play to their strengths. And maybe , after 2 years of laying the foundation, Irvin might be ready to play the Von Miller joker roll that PC has mentioned. He might just be ready to be a Beast this year in that roll on occasional passing situations. We will not regress to our woeful pass rush that ended 2012 in Atlanta.

  24. Hay stacker509 says:

    Rob, what’s your take on Arthur jones, DE ravens? 6’3 318. Slim down 10 and try him at a Bennett or 3t?

  25. EdC says:

    I saw that too. While early in the season I wanted us to resign MB, by the end of the season I hoped the wouldn’t. Not because he wasn’t valuable, but because we would have to overpay. Glad it looks like we won’t.

    Let’s focus on J.Allen/J. Tuck/R. Starks/H. Melton. If we can get 2 of those at 3/4 million each, we should be more than fine.

  26. Nate says:

    Can Greg Hardy play inside? Would be funny if teams overpaid for Bennett and Johnson, and Hardy ended up here. Otherwise Lamarr Houston or Melton, but give Scruggs a shot too. Corey Toomer I hope stays healthy, he’s so fast as a pass rusher

  27. Hay stacker509 says:

    Does anyone know if Cable was with the raiders when they drafted Houston? If so is that leverage in FA?

  28. red says:

    Ok if Bennett is going to Chicago. I try to sign tate for around 5mil a year Breno for 3mil a year Tjack for 1-2 mil a year and restructure Miller to go against 5mil against the cap for the offense. sign Tony MC for 3mil a year he becomes the new 5 tech with Scruggs. Brooks takes over Clint MC spot on the line Mebane holds down the 3Tech with Williams backing him up and maybe playing a 1 Tech and have Jordan Hill rove around the line.

    R1 Bitonio LT LG
    R2 Marcus Smith LEO
    R4 Lynch TE
    R5 Khairi Fortt SAM LB
    R5 Walt Aikens CB
    R6 Shaq Evens WR
    R7 Ethan Westbrooks DT/DE

  29. EranUngar says:

    I can see all the panic lights are on. How very seahawky of us.

    A few calming words –

    The few big numbers deals made just before FA fully begins could be one of the following :

    Option 1 – All teams are talking to players. They all make offers or indicate possible prices. The few that do get signed now are those clubs that are ready to go way beyond “market value” to secure their targets before FA starts. The rest of the NFL will not pay those prices and after the few splash signings prior to the 11th the market will reassert itself much lower.

    Option 2 – With the cap raising the market will be more players friendly. Add a few mil. To what we used to know until the market balances.

    Yes, it it’s Option 2 we may lose Bennett because the Seahawks won’t pay him over 10M a year with all the other players they want to keep or sign.

    There are a few reasons the hawks may not be willing to outbid anybody that values Bennett over 10M. The most important one is – They may think he is not worth more then 10M for them.

    I think he was the MVP of the Dline and yet not worth that much to us.

    The 2012 hawks were the best defense in the league (points scored) based on Clem and Irvin. Last year we added Avril to boost the pass rush. They “also” added Bennett at a lower cost.

    Just as the pass rush help the back 7 to be the best, the back 7 help the pass rush be more effective. Add to that Avril on one side and Clem on the other side and life for QBs is a hell of a lot harder. In comes a versatile more physical pass rusher playing passing downs only. He is capable of attacking from the sides or slanting inside using the attention drawn to Avril and Clem to cause havoc. It worked perfectly. Bennett was the perfect man for the job and the rest of the team helps create that job for him. We’d love to do it again next year and if we don’t, another physical faster Lineman will benefit from that very same position. He may not be as good at it as Bennett but with everything in place around him he will do a good job.

    I really want Bennett back but at over 10M a year…sorry, no, thank you…it’s a bloody shame but no.

    I lived to see Kearse from the practice squad beat the 9ers for the NFC championship, I’ve seen Sherman stepping in when Thurmond was injured, i watched Maxwell jump in to replace Both Browner and Thurmond. I fear no evil…NEXT GUY IN.

    • Matt says:

      Good post! There is no need to panic. Even if we lose all of our free agents(doubtful) we will still be a force to be reckoned with!
      The writing on the wall seems to read that Bennett is gone. Good for him, if he can get a $10 mil a year pay day. I saw him as a luxury signing on a depressed market a year ago. He proved his value in his season in Seattle and will get paid what he’s worth, which will most likely be somewhere else.
      Now onto replacing Bennett’s role in our defense…I think Henry Melton a perfect candidate. He’s 26, a year removed from a Pro Bowl, double digit sack season, coming off a major injury, and seems likely to want to sign a 1 year “prove it” deal. In Seattle he won’t be asked to do much except rush the passer from the interior line, and he would thrive in our rotation. The following season he would be set up, like Bennett this offseason, for the big pay day that he’s worth. Players clearly recognize how PC puts players in a position to succeed and plays to each individuals strengths. Melton, while less versatile than Bennett, is a premier interior rusher(when healthy, and he will be).
      As for losing Breno and McDaniel…I’m not worried in the least. These guys are solid, but at this time last year who had even heard of Tony McDaniel? I hadn’t, and I follow the game pretty thoroughly. JS/PC will find another 2 down run stuffing DT on the cheap…if we don’t already have that player on the roster. Bowie, Bailey and the draft provides more than capable options to replace Breno. IMO We have to save $ where we can to keep our stars in town, these players are expendable. Younger, cheaper, WINFOREVER.

    • Michael (CLT) says:

      Great post. Needed me some Big Red talk.

  30. Ted says:

    One player I could see being in the mix to add to the d-line that I haven’t seen anyone else mention yet (maybe someone did and I didn’t see it) is Matt Shaughnessy from AZ. I know the Cards are trying to resign him, but they haven’t yet. He’s 6’5″ 285lbs and ran a 4.86 coming out of Wisconsin. Still only 27 years old, though he’ll turn 28 at the beginning of next season. He’s been decently productive on some bad teams and I think he could be a great rotational player. I remember him giving the SEA o-line some problems last season. Probably wouldn’t cost a ton of money either…

  31. Cysco says:

    If Bennett is gone, at least we will likely get a 3rd round pick back. I can’t imagine there would be many higher salary free agent signings so that compensatory pick should be pretty high.

    I wonder if that was part of the Seahawks strategy for not using the franchise tag on him. Perhaps they figured if they can’t wrap him up for a fair long term deal, at least they’ll get a good pick out of it.

  32. Chris F says:

    Sounds like it may be Seattle after all.

    Seattle is favorite to land DE Michael Bennett, who some regard as the top free agent available. Announcement could come as early as today.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 10, 2014

    • bigDhawk says:

      Not sure I believe that any more than I believe the NBC report that has Bennett likely going to Chicago.

      And I didn’t know we could use html tags on this forum like blockquote. Is there a list of permitted tags somewhere?

      • Chris F says:

        Rumor has it that Seattle is offering $8M and Chicago is offering $8.5. Because of the Illinois state income tax, Seattle’s $8M is equal to $8.2M in Chicago–they are not that far apart. Still, I’ll believe it when the announcement is made although currently twitter is blowing up with this. All the pundits (Rapoport, Schefter, Breer, Garafolo etc) are saying that unless something changes soon he’s staying in Seattle.