Seahawks rightly leaving no room for sentiment

August 1st, 2011 | Written by Rob Staton

Lofa Tatupu moved on this week, a tough but correct move

When the Seahawks parted company with Lofa Tatupu this week, there was an understandable level of disappointment among parts of the fanbase. Tatupu had an immediate impact for the team when he was drafted in 2005, helping Seattle to it’s first Super Bowl and making the Pro Bowl in each of his first three years. When he signed a contract extension worth $42m in 2008, he stated he wanted to end his career with the Seahawks. Tim Ruskell declared that Tatupu would be an integral part of the team for years to come – a cornerstone. The contract was signed a year before Tatupu would even hit free agency, a sign of the panic with which Ruskell viewed keeping Tatupu. 

Unfortunately, the franchise never truly felt the value of that six-year extension. When he wasn’t missing games through injury, he didn’t appear to be capable of the same impact that made him a star during his early years in the NFL.

Nevertheless, Tatupu had made a connection with Seahawks fans. It was a connection shared also with his teammates, who often credited the player’s leadership on and off the field. Head Coach Pete Carroll inherited Tatupu having already worked with him for many years. He’d seen the guy grow up through high school, enjoy success at USC and go onto the pro’s. Last season Tatupu played every game for his former college coach.

Yet here we are, Tatupu a free agent and in discussion with the Oakland Raiders on a potential move to the Bay Area. A surprise, but also absolutely the right move.

You can’t make room for favorites. You can’t stick by a player that’s earning more than his market value is worth. The best franchises know when to move on, not rewarding mediocre or worse performances simply because the player has an attachment to the team, the coach or the city. Sure, we’d all like to see a 100% healthy Tatupu at his best running this team’s defense. However, it’s not going to happen. Move on and let’s invest the money elsewhere.

We saw a similar move with Matt Hasselbeck. The Seahawks were prepared to give him another year, but quite rightly at the age of 36 and considering recent health and performance – one year was all they could commit to. Hasselbeck got a better offer in Tennessee and moves on.

I suspect we’ll see another example soon if the Seahawks use the money saved on Tatupu to sign tight end Zach Miller, who is visiting Seattle today. Miller is a playmaker and a much greater threat in the passing game than John Carlson. He’s been held back by substandard quaterbacking during his time in Oakland, but he has potential to be a top-end player at his position.

The fans have a lot of time for Carlson, but he’s just an average tight end who had great value for Tim Ruskell because he passed the strict criteria with which he judged his prospects. He’s neither a spectacular blocker or a great receiving threat, decent at both but exceptional at neither. There’s every chance if Miller is signed Carlson will be moved on. His value will not bring much in return, possibly a 5th round pick or maybe even less.

Yet the team will be making a ruthless upgrade, a vital upgrade.

This kind of move is so refreshing in Seattle, at least that’s how I see it. Tim Ruskell threw so much money at the wrong positions and lingered on his favorites. Tatupu got $42m, Leroy Hill was franchised and then signed a $38m contract. Aaron Curry signed a $60m deal when the Seahawks drafted another linebacker fourth overall. That’s a first, a second and a third round pick at the linebacker position, all drafted by Ruskell at huge expense. Look at the numbers – $140m committed to linebackers. The Seahawks also mortgaged a lot on getting a tight end for a coach who everybody knew was leaving in twelve months. The second and third round pick they spent on John Carlson ironically could’ve landed Ray Rice, DeSean Jackson and Jermichael Finley.

Throughout this period of the Ruskell era no quarterbacks came in other than David Greene in round three. The offensive line received barely a passing glance as Ruskell stuck by another favorite – Sean Locklear. Positions like defensive end and wide receiver had money thrown at it in free agency on ageing players past their best. Pete Carroll and John Schneider are now left to deal with the mess and it’s good to see they’re making a fist of it. 

Difficult decisions need to be made and that’s exactly what is happening. A new plan is being drawn up.

Absolutely that plan has to include finding stars at the key positions (QB, OL, WR, DL) and being prepared to mix things around in other areas. The OL and WR parts of that equation are being checked off. 

I presume the approch may be the opposite of Ruskell’s with other positions. For example, if they find a decent linebacker who does a good job in his rookie contract, they’ll be prepared to move on rather than spend the big bucks just because he’s had some initial success. They won’t panic and re-sign the guy a year before he hits free agency. 

Invest your resources in positions that matter and try to re-load elsewhere. Know when a player’s star is waning and be prepared to trade them before the inevitable drop off in performance. New England have schooled so many teams by trading players for high draft picks that never live up to the price tag.  The Seahawks need to take note.

And that of course means being prepared to move on from fading stars and fan favorites. Consistent contenders change a lot of the parts around their core, but the key components remain throughout. It’s impossible to have every position on offense and defense filled with a great player. Milking players on cheap rookie deals and selling high is part of the NFL business and it’s what makes great teams. Carroll and Schneider are already showing that willingness to be ruthless.

45 Responses to “Seahawks rightly leaving no room for sentiment”

  1. Dave says:

    Yes. Thank you.

  2. CJ says:

    Absolutely perfect.

  3. Kamal says:

    agree completely sad to see tat and hass go but they need to

  4. tom page says:

    Hallelujah brother! My wife is sick and tired of hearing me talk about how Lofa was moving in the last home game against the Saints. I sit close to the field so I can see things the announcers do not talk about. He was playing his heart out, but he was not the same player he once was. He wasn’t even the same player he was at the beginning of last season. It looks like we have a leadership team in place that is willing to make the tough decisions, it bodes well for our future.

  5. Nate Dogg says:

    “It’s impossible to have every position on offense and defense filled with a great player. Milking players on cheap rookie deals and selling high is part of the NFL business and it’s what makes great teams. Carroll and Schneider are already showing that willingness to be ruthless.”

    Isn’t that the exact opposite of what they might be doing with Carlson? I have a much higher opinion of Carlson that you do but I don’t see how signing Miller to an expensive contract and trading Carlson the season after his least productive season because they asked him to play fullback and stay in to block is selling high and milking a cheap rookie deal.

    • Rob says:

      The point I made isn’t to sell high on every player, it’s to be ruthless in upgrading certain positions and not clinging to favorites or letting sentiment rule.

      They’re not going to be able to ‘sell high’ on some of the players they inherited. Carlson’s career has never taken off after a promising start. They’re in a situation where his trade value is non existent and an upgrade via free agency is a available. I’m not really sure what their options are with Carlson. Miller, in my view, is a definite upgrade. Carlson’s trade value is very low. There’s every chance Carlson will leave when his rookie contract ends next off season, further hampering his trade value. Not sure what opportunity they have to sell high.

      • Nate Dogg says:

        They could put him in the same situation they plan on putting Miller in. Let him find space underneath guys like Rice and BMW, let him catch balls while a revamped offensive line protects the quarterback, get some adequate full back depth so losing a starting player at one spot doesn’t force you to lose a starter at another.

        Part of the reason his trade value is so low is because of what they asked him to do last season. Carlson doesn’t appear to be any different than he was two years ago, the situation around him just completely fell apart. I don’t know why we wouldn’t expect him to return to the same level of production he acheived as a rookie or better.

        • Rob says:

          I think it’s a good point Nate Dogg about situation and admittedly Carlson was asked to help the line a little too much last year in blocking situations. However, I also think part of his production as a rookie was also situation, in that nearly every receiver on the roster was injured (Koren Robinson was our best guy for most of the year) and suddenly Carson was the best and most reliable target even as a rookie, so got a lot of looks.

          I’m not writing Carlson off, but as I said in the article I do think he’s an average tight end. Miller is a playmaker, who’s capable of ripping off a 40-yard gain at any point. For a TE he runs exceptional routes and seems to have a knack of finding a hole in the coverage. He’d be an X-Factor potentially in the way Jason Witten has been for Dallas all these years.

  6. Misfit74 says:

    I take it you’re not a fan of Carolina locking up all three of their LBs and DeAngelo Williams for monster cash? I agree: invest in positions that really matter and are not easily replaced. Just another example of the wrong way to do things.

    We now have a nearly fungible group of LBs (outside of Curry). We may let Lynch walk when his deal is up, I suspect. Adding Z.Miller will be huge.

    I like what this team is doing and am glad I followed our team very closely that last 10 years or so. Having the Ruskell perspective helps me see what we have going on today and be grateful for it.

    • Rob says:

      Carolina’s moves this off season have been bizarre to say the least. Should’ve franchised the DE and taken a look to see if he’s worth the big extension. Instead they just sign him to a mega deal anyway. Blown money on DeAngelo Williams despite having Jonathan Stewart who is perfectly good enough. The Olsen trade I like, but they haven’t been pro-active in trying to find more weapons for Cam Newton. I already fear for his ability to succeed, that’s a franchise that needs to invest in some front office talent.

      • Nate Dogg says:

        I don’t mean to harp on this, but how would Seattle giving out a large contract to Miller when they have a perfectly good enough Carlson be different than what Carolina did with their running backs?

        • Derek says:

          I think the idea is that Carlson’s rookie contract is up next year and will most likely leave. So why not sign Miller, who is two years younger and a better TE, and try and get at least a late round pick for Carlson while we have him. If we sign Miller, it provides a long term talent at the position that we can build around, rather than having a hole next year if Carlson decides to leave.

          • Nate Dogg says:

            I do like that Miller is somehow two years younger than Carlson. I really like Miller, don’t get me wrong, but I’m not sure that this signing would really be an example of shrewd roster management.

        • Rob says:

          For starters Miller’s contract won’t be anywhere near close to Williams’. He’s also not a running back with a short shelf life. Williams is 29 next April and is now on the hook for mega bucks. Miller is 25 and will be for most of this season and isn’t playing a position where his production is expected to drop from here on in. And to make it worse, Carolina had cheaper alternatives (eg, Bradshaw) who signed for much less and may actually be a better player. I don’t really see the comparison, but then I really believ Miller is an upgrade on Carlson.

      • Osprey says:

        I couldnt agree morw with everything you just said about Carolina.

        It seems to me they were worried about all their talent bolting so they oversigned them all to huge contracts to ensure they came back.

        In some ways it was a good move because they are not seeing any of them bolt to new teams but in the end I have a feeling it will do nothing but ensure some middling seasons where the Panthers go 9-7, 8-8 or so and then a huge crash back into the cellar.

        I approve of the Seahawks brutal maneuvering this off-season. It shows me they are running the team wisely. The 2005 nostalgia train needed to end.

  7. Playstead says:

    Genius. Totally right and refreshing to see in Seattle. I’ve been here all my life and this might be the most fun I’ve had watching a front office operate. I don’t want to love these guys, I want to win. And with Pete and John, anything can happen.

    Well written.

  8. SeahawkFan says:

    Man, looking back, only an idiot like Tim Ruskell would draft a god damned linebacker FOURTH OVERALL! Glad tha moron isn’t ruining our franchise any longer.

    • Daniel says:

      In his defense, the Lions and the Chiefs considered taking him 1st and 3rd. And San Fransisco isn’t mad they took Patrick Willis with the 7th pick.

      But yes, retroperspective it was incredibly stupid, but Ruskell wasn’t the only guy high on Curry. Some ”experts” called him the best linebacker to come out in 10 years, which means since Ray Lewis. Personally i was hoping for Crabtree, but I guess we’re lucky we didn’t went in that direction either..

      • Rob says:

        I’m not convinced Detroit and KC gave that much consideration to Curry. The Lions looked nailed on certs to take Stafford as soon as the season ended – and only a select few argued against that probability. I never had anyone other than Stafford at #1 in my mocks, and that wasn’t because I had any great insight or judgement – it was just obvious.

        Likewise Kansas City almost went out of their way not to draft Curry, avoiding him despite the expectation he could go at #3 and making a big reach on Tyson Jackson instead.

        Quite a few people bought into the athletic hype of Curry, but that’s all it ever was. People can go into the archives and see my view on why Seattle should’ve gone QB or Crabtree. I stand by those views, even if the career of Crabtree hasn’t been a glorious succes in San Fran (Alex Smith takes some of the blame there).

        • Scott says:

          Rob, I’d say after watching Crabs for 2 seasons plus now, we missed a headache that doesn’t need a quarterback to fail. And the foot that prevented him from running a 40 time is still an issue, apparently, so he might deserve a little blame too. Though I still would have taken him 4th overall over Curry. What a bad draft the top ten is proving to be in that draft, isn’t it?

          As far as Carlson, the scouting report was more Pro ready than the other tight ends in that draft, but with a lower ceiling. So far, spot on.

  9. Misfit74 says:

    One thing I think is an important consideration here is that PCJS are gathering quality, talented young players as they are available. How often does a top TE like Miller hit the market? A young, potentially elite WR? Guys like Miller and Rice aren’t freely available every season. MLBs are…see: Tulloch, Ruud, and now Tatupu. Our brain-trust has a great understanding of the market for this and future seasons and are adding young talent while they can. Because we’re rebuilding and have so many needs, position isn’t so important as adding elite talent or potentially elite talent. In time the roster will shape up everywhere. Sure, we have Carlson but he’s not elite and we’d be re-doing or drafting to fill that position in the near future, anyway. With Miller you have 5+ seasons of prime years. Same with Rice (probably more). The shift from spending big at more easily available positions (see: LB, RB) is being made and I love it.

  10. ba_edwards24 says:

    Rob, I’m curious why you think we need another outside pass rusher so bad. Clemons was one of the top pass rushers in the league last year (both by sacks and PFF metrics like disruptions and pass rushing efficiency), is the exact same age (16 days apart) from the guy you want so badly in Osi, and we don’t put outside pass rushers on the field very often. Wouldn’t seem to make sense investing in a player like Osi when we already have a great player of the exact same type in Clemons. Are you under the impression Clemons was a fluke? I’m not saying I disagree that we will need a Clemons replacement because pass rushers tend to fall off around 31, 32, but he should have 2 more good years in him. I just don’t think a veteran is the answer.

    • Rob says:

      I think it’s just a case of quality depth and the ability to play more orthodox 4-3 looks on certain downs. We had some production in the playoffs with Brock and Clemons both on the field, and rather than just using Red Bryant as a 5-tech every down we could put both of our pass rushers out there. And of course, let’s not forget we’ve as of yet not replaced the production that Brock had. I’m not OTT on Osi, I’d only consider him at a bargain price because we need the picks.

      • ba_edwards24 says:

        Ok, that’s a plenty reasonable stance. Some on twitter have been saying we should give up our 2 for him. Are you effing kidding me? Osi wants to be paid in the 10 mil/yr range. He’d just be a situational pass rusher here which is not worth 10 a year or a 2nd round pick. Sounds like PCJS are sniffing around him anyways, which is not a good sign. At his age, by the time we are competing with w/e QB we draft, his career will be on the decline. Would not make any sense.

        • Rob says:

          Agreed. I was thinking more along the lines of a fourth rounder and maybe a player (Carlson?).

          • ba_edwards24 says:

            But Osi would still only play for 10/yr. That’s why he’s holding out in the first place. Osi is just not a candidate for this team. 2nd rounder is fair value, but not for us. We could get Roth (18th in pass rush efficiency per PFF) for something like 3 yrs 10 mil. He would have just as good of an effect as Osi because they would be in such limited roles, only rushing the passer maybe 300 times (Clemons rushed 578 times last year).

  11. akki says:

    Ironically, in Ruskell’s first draft with the Bears, they took OT Carimi, DT Paea, FS (more important in Tampa Two) Conte, and developmental QB Enderle who isn’t even from a power conference. Maybe he learned a thing or two.

    Speaking of Tampa Two, if Seattle is really making a dedicated effort (unlike the half-assed Ruskell/Mora way) to enact this system, doesn’t that take them out of the running for the classic cover CBs that go early in the draft or command big free agency dollars? If your two outside CBs are expected to be strong in run support and ball skills, and deep cover skills are just a nice-to-have, you’re not going after the big names. You never saw Tampa Two teams like the Vikings, Bears, Bucs, and Colts going after your Asomugha, Cromartie, Joseph guys. You didn’t see them drafting CBs in the 1st round either. So I’m wondering if the team really cares to upgrade the CB position in way conventional wisdom would dictate. On the flip side, a Tampa Two team might be willing to pay dearly for a Umenyiora who can create pressure without blitzes. Didn’t we think that the Bears overpaid for Peppers and the Vikings overpaid for Allen?

    • Rob says:

      Fair points, but I thin Allen and Peppers were not only better players, but younger. Might be wrong on Peppers being younger, but Allen definitely was.

  12. O says:

    “The best franchises know when to move on, not rewarding mediocre or worse performances simply because the player has an attachment to the team, the coach or the city. Sure, we’d all like to see a 100% healthy Tatupu at his best running this team’s defense. However, it’s not going to happen. Move on and let’s invest the money elsewhere.”
    Rob I love your blog and usually agree with you but I completely disagree with this. And coming from a fellow European fan is even more surprising to me (different cultures, im not bashing anyone).

    As fans we need to feel some kind of connection with the team. Whether its the city, the tradition, the symbols, the fans, the legendary players, it’s more than just performance and winning. Otherwise why would we even care? we would all support the Steelers, Patriots, Yankees etc…
    What would you say if 5 years ago Milan asked Maldini to take a pay cut because at 35 his performance wasn’t worth what he was making? Who would dare to tell Totti he is not who he once was and should get a smaller contract so the team can buy better players around him? No one, and why? because they know it’s not just about money and performance. It’s about life, it’s about your fanbase, it’s about being more than interchangeable sports organizations.

    Here I’m not saying it’s exactly the case with Tatupu, but I think your statement is a bit too strong and gives a vision of sports I find cold and removed of its passion.

    • O says:

      Otherwise I agreed with what you said performance-wise, its probably a good move and the front office has been improving the team greatly this last week.

    • Daniel says:

      I’m also a Milan fan, but i think that’s a tough comparison. Maldini was a beast, maybe the best defender of all-time, and in all fairness defenders like Maldini doesn’t break down as easily as these players do, like Tatupu. I don’t think Maldini had a period of three years where he wasn’t the same player? If he had i’m pretty sure that MIilan would have moved on, like they tried to several times.

      But just out of curiousity, have you seen out European clubs who treat their players like Milan do, because i thought that was why people make fun of the club. (The retirement club) :)

      In general you just can’t compare European football with American. It’s a completely different culture, in Europe you have a couple of clubs who are just better than everybody else, and suprisingly american sports is built around a more socialistic aproach where every club has a chance to be great. It would be pretty surprising if Leece went on to win the league this year wouldn’t it? :) So they’re just some general aspects which makes a comparison very hard to do.

      • O says:

        Maldini was (of course) the most famous guy to pop in my head but you are right he was such a great player that he was always useful even at 37, but I think you understand what I meant.

        To answer your question, that’s right hehe Milan has been known as a bit of retirement home as of late. They are not the only one (my team last year was playing 3 formerly great players over 35 yo) but yeah its been such a trend, seemingly, that they are the only one famous for that. Great team and great tradition anyway, so I wouldnt make fun of them.

        In general, you’re right the cultures are completely different, and I guess that’s why I am so attached to what I think is the core identity of a team (city, colors, players, fans, etc…), and performance comes after.

  13. D says:

    Great article and one I needed to read right now. In my brain I know that releasing Tatupu is probably the right thing to do (although I do not think he is completely done). In my heart however I hate this. Tatupu is my favourite player bar none, no sport and no team.

    Look up “football player” in a dictionary and there ought to be a picture of Tats right there. I’ll never forget the hit he laid on Nick Goings against Carolina. Goings was sidelined for the game and th Panthers had nothing after that.

    Or how about that time when the Hawks sucked so bad in a game and Tatupu begged Mora (?) to let him in on the special teams because “I got to stop the bleeding coach”.

    The only comfort is that PC and JS are showing resolve…. so they have that going for them, which is nice…

  14. Karlos says:

    I love the 2-sides of you Rob your not biased by-far. I could almost mistake you for NFL front office employee lol. As much as it pains me every year to see some high round draft pick or steal player go to New england I admire it… Tatupu always had the cards against him being undersized & slow. It was bound to catch up with him sooner or later. His heart & instincts proved that athletic attributes only go so far but as you age the little bit of speed & strength you have begin to dimenish & your flaws are exposed. Rob everywhere I go everybody is pumping up Zack Miller but I remember after Carlson’s 1st year hearing more about him. Can you compare where Miller excels as in refrence to Carlson? Also I’d like to know if you believe Trufant will be ask’d to take a pay-cut during the pre-season.

    • ba_edwards24 says:

      Per FO, Miller was 19th in DYAR compared to Carlson’s 44th. Miller had a 65% catch rate, while Carlson was at 53%. Miller’s most similar player is Todd Heap. Nearly a clone for his first 2 years. Miller is an elite pass catcher, specializing in finding soft spots in the zone, working intermediate routes, and YAC. He is also an average blocker. Carlson is a solid pass catcher, specializing in crossing patterns who is a terrible blocker (2nd worst pass blocker in the league last 3 yrs combined per PFF). Miller is also 2 yrs younger. Both have 3 yrs experience. I was looking at all this stuff myself, so I figured I’d share. I really want Miller, but I think he’s using us to get more money from Undead Al. Shit.

      • ba_edwards24 says:

        For TEs with atleast 65 balls, he was 9th in DYAR. If he actually had a decent QB he could be in the top 5 range just after Witten, Gates, Davis, and Clark, in the same range as Finley, Lewis, Daniels. He’s a great TE.

    • O says:

      As far as I remember, Miller is much better after the catch. He can score long touchdowns. Not saying Carlson cant but in my opinion he is more of a possession,w est coast guy.

  15. Carl says:

    I’m not sure that I agree that Miller would be an upgrade over John Carlson. He strikes me as being the same caliber and type of player that Carlson is. He neither excels at blocking or receiving.

    Also, the article is a little misleading in that you’re using hindsight to judge Ruskell solely without acknowledging other factors involved. For example, Holmgren loved his veteran players and generally lobbied to keep players who he valued, such as Sean Locklear. Also, Sean Locklear being a Ruskell favorite is speculation; he had been a dependable RT until the 2010 preseason.

    You praise this sort of ruthless approach in player personnel management, but conveniently neglect to mention that Ruskell had also conducted his own housecleaning when he arrived, and that he’d also had cut, traded, and/or did not sign players who had achieved success, including players that he had signed. Julian Peterson is a prime example.

    Also, there needs to be a distinguishment between the approaches; Ruskell was trying to make moves for a team that was viewed as a contender. General logic might dictate that you don’t get rid of players who were integral pieces for the team to contend with. By and large, injuries, and later, age and declining play became primary factors with the lack of on-field success. Carroll and Schneider, on the other hand, are rebuilding with youth at the forefront of their vision, which is fine; I support it; but a distinction between approaches should be acknowledged.

    • Rob says:

      Ruskell invested faith in Locklear switching to a LT, did he not? He paid him a contract worthy of a left tackle.

      And while I accept Ruskell had initial success pushing a contender over the edge, his job at maintaining that success and then rebuilding was car crash bad. Enough, IMO, to warrant the criticism in this article. Ruskell did invest too much faith in ageing players, couldn’t replace them when he had plenty of time to prepare, spent millions on non-vital positions, spent bad money in free agency to paper over the cracks. I mean, the criticism here is more in turn to show how I like the approach taken by Carroll and Schneider to repair the mess they were handed. And it was a mess.

      For me, Miller is a much more impactful player in the passing game. He’s got Jason Witten type potential, enough to be a tight end you take early in a fantasy draft. Carlson will never have that impact. He’s a solid, unspectacular tight end. Miller could be elite. That’s my take.

    • ba_edwards24 says:

      Peterson is the only example, and he only got rid of him to create an opening for a newcomer, getting 50 cents on the dollar while doing so. Besides, Peterson had only been with the team 3 seasons. Tatupu was a potential ROH guy, and Matt is a surefire one. Completely different. Locklear is gone as well who has been here his entire 7 year career, Pete realized he was slipping, and he’s gone. Your final point about keeping a contender in place is a good one, but he lost all value in resigning those guys. Tatupu should not have gotten a 7 year deal worth 52 mil and Leroy Hill should not have gotten 38 mil. Trufant I can understand a little bit, as the deal was nearly identical to the deal JoJo signed Friday. He gave out bad contracts like they were lollipops, situation be damned.

  16. Turp says:

    Miller has signed (per Clayton). Huge upgrade over Carlson, who is probably on his way out. Great signing by the Hawks.

    • D says:

      Offense is looking up gentlemen! It looks as if PC and JS is building an O that just chucks the ball up there and sends guys to pick it down over the DBs. That and running up the middle every now and then, hoping for that zone blocking break through. Even I might be able to quarterback this offense….

      Now, how about some D? Any magic left from the FO?

  17. [...] I noted yesterday that I think Miller upgrades the position. That’s not a slur on John Carlson, I just happen to believe Miller is capable of becoming one of the best tight end’s in the league. He’s got a Jason Witten level of potential and it wouldn’t surprise me if he was the team’s leading receiver next season. He’s a playmaker. He’ll find holes in coverage and exploit them. He’s capable of breaking off a run after the catch – unusual for the position. He has an 86-yard reception. He’s not an incredible blocker, but then the Seahawks invested a lot of money in the offensive line so that the tight end could be more of a threat as a receiver. He’s only 25 and doesn’t turn 26 until December. [...]

  18. James says:

    Sentiment is the lament of losers. The poor sports fans of Seattle have been so beaten down by inept management from the Mariners and Seahawks that they long ago gave up hope of cheering for a championship, and took to rooting for particular players. This led to such ridiculous notions as Ken Griffey Jr as a 40 yr old designated hitter, and the call to sign Matt Hasselbeck to a 3 year contract when anyone could see that he only has 4 or 5 good games a season left in him. The same for Lofa Tatupu, who despite his best effort was just being destroyed by 320# linemen and 240# running backs the past couple of years. This sort of sentiment has no place in a winning program. The best coaches from Belichick to Saban (and it appears Pete Carroll also) are ruthless in the pursuit of championships. The fans best get used to winning and get rid of the warm fuzzies for our over-the-hill heroes of the past. Save the sentiment for the Super Bowl.