Thoughts on Johnson, Browner and Tate

March 4th, 2014 | Written by Rob Staton

Seahawks place second round tender on Jeron Johnson

If Johnson signs his tender, he’ll be due $2.187m in 2014.

While Doug Baldwin is a certain lock to be tendered highly, this wasn’t quite so expected.

It’s clear the Seahawks feared losing Johnson for nothing.

Using the original round tender (he’s a former UDFA) would mean any team can offer him a contract on starter money, and Seattle would have to match the offer.

There are enough teams with substantial cap room (here’s looking at you, Jacksonville) who would probably be willing to tap into Seattle’s rich depth in the secondary.

At least by placing the second round tender, the Seahawks avoid losing him for nothing this year.

There are suggestions within the national media that some teams could show interest in Johnson. It’s not a great year for safety’s in the draft.

But the idea someone would use a second round pick to snatch him away is fanciful.

He’s played sparingly in three years, with 15 total defensive tackles in his career.

What’s more likely is someone might be willing to spend, for example, a fourth or fifth rounder to make Johnson a starter.

By placing this tender the Seahawks can at least have that discussion. Instead of watching him walk out the door for zero compensation.

It also shows how highly they rate the player. At a time when cap space is limited, they’re willing to pay him just over $2m to be a backup.

It’ll be interesting to see how this develops.

Brandon Browner reinstated by the NFL

It’s not often the NFL backs down when challenged.

But that’s exactly what they’ve done here.

Faced with a lawsuit and a lengthy court battle, the league and Brandon Browner’s representatives have come to an arrangement that will allow him to be a free agent from March 11th.

It’s a decision that effectively saves Browner’s career.

He was due to serve a one year suspension. Considering he turns 30 in August and wouldn’t be able to play until his 31st year, this is big news.

The immediate question Seahawks fans have asked is — what chance he returns to Seattle?

I’d say only a very small chance, if any at all.

Byron Maxwell proved he’s a capable replacement. While Browner and Walter Thurmond were serving suspensions at a vital time in the season — Maxwell was busy making plays on the field.

This team is all about competition. You can’t compete when you’re ineligible. Maxwell, at this stage, is simply more reliable.

For me, he’s also better.

If Browner’s market is ice cold and he’s willing to sign a ridiculously low contract, then maybe they consider it.

But I suspect they’re ready to move on. Not just with Maxwell, but with their other young guys like Jeremy Lane, Tharold Simon, Akeem Auguste and DeShawn Shead — plus any new additions they make this off-season.

Golden Tate on staying in Seattle

In the interview linked above, Tate says talks haven’t really heated up with the Seahawks about a new contract.

This isn’t a big surprise, and I wouldn’t read too much into it.

In fact, I wouldn’t be shocked if Tate was allowed to test the market.

There are two things to consider here, both linked to a rich draft class at receiver.

1. Will the open market be impacted by the talent available in the draft?

We could see 9-10 receivers going in the first 40-50 picks in May. Teams that need a wide out know this draft class is loaded at the position.

Are you going to go out and spend big money on Tate, Hakeem Nicks or Eric Decker, or are you going to bring in a rookie for a fraction of the price?

It could make absolute financial sense to let Tate discover his true value, and then make an offer.

If he doesn’t get the money he and his agent expect they’ll be forced to lower their expectations.

It could be the difference between Seattle paying $6m per year and $4m per year.

2. Are the Seahawks willing to risk letting Tate walk, knowing they can fall back on the draft?

There’s no doubt Seattle wants to keep Tate. But I’m also sure they won’t see it as the end of the world if he signs somewhere else.

Even picking at #32 in the draft, they’ll have a chance to select a quality receiver. The options at #64 could also be enticing if they go in a different direction with the first pick.

If they wish to let Tate discover his true value, they can do so with some degree of confidence. This is a great draft for wide outs.

Q&A on Field Gulls

One final link for tonight — I featured in a Q&A with Kenneth Arthur at Field Gulls, discussing a few talking points in the draft.

Check out the piece by clicking here.

March Clearance Blitz! Save an additional 40% off all sale items!

50 Responses to “Thoughts on Johnson, Browner and Tate”

  1. James says:

    Rob, whether Golden Tate signs elsewhere or not, you have been saying for months that this pool of WRs offers a couple of tall SE-types, one of whom might fall to #32. I have been surprised to see that most of the post-combine mock drafts show Kelvin Benjamin falling to the Seahawks. He is a Pete Carroll bigger-faster-stronger guy if there ever was one, and he plays the one position that Pete has tried desperately but failed to fill. I think PCJS would grab him with glee if he is there, even if he only projects as the #5 WR for next year. That would be an insane WR group: Percy Harvin, Golden Tate, Doug Baldwin, Jermaine Kearse and Kelvin Benjamin. Add that to Russell and Beast and good grief!

    • Rob Staton says:

      I can see this team salivating over Benjamin dropping to #32. Personally, I think he’s a lock to be gone by #18. But if he gets past the Jets, you never know. Not many teams between #19-31 who would really say a big receiver is a priority.

      • James says:

        Agreed. The Jets will probably go WR at #18, but Lee or Beckham are more likely at that spot. And you’re right, no other team after that seems likely to spend their R1 pick on a SE when they all have bigger needs. Man, if the picks go by and he is still there, it will be crazy. As much of a no-brainer as a PCJS R1 pick could be.

      • Jarhead says:

        As much of a physical freak as Benjamin is, have too many of us forgotten who mind achingly maddening it was to watch another Seahawks first rounder WR (Koren Robinson) drop all those would-be touchdown passes? We, or any other team that drafts him, had better make sure they can fix that issue. Nothing is a bigger team deflater than a dropped pass that was catchable that kills a drive, or worse makes the team settle for 3.

        • Kory says:

          Yea, i’m not high on Kelvin because of the drops.

          We could always draft a 6’6 basketball player and develop him on the outside. Kelvin doesn’t run good routes and he can’t catch. IMHO he’s barely one notch above a someone we could find on a basketball court.

          Now maybe we could develop him into something. But to me he seems to have the same attitude that Clowney has. He’s athletically gifted and he knows it. It seems to me he feels he’s special and doesn’t work at his craft as hard as he should.

          Seattle made that mistake with Bruce Irvin, I hope they don’t repeat it with Kelvin.

  2. CC says:

    On Browner, it is probably best for him to move on and try to make some big money. The Jags or NYJets could be spots for him. BB would give the Jags some swagger and depth in the secondary. Even if he signs for a small contract with Seattle, I think it is time for him to move on, as we have some young players that could challenge or beat him out. He and Thurmond are gone regardless

  3. rrsquid says:

    I see Tate and Harvin having too similar skill sets, but I like Tate’s attitude. I think Baldwin is a much more reliable receiver. I think he’ll be a market casualty with only the Super Bowl victory appealing to other teams. I’ve read that Carroll isn’t ruling out Rice re-signing when free agency begins. Kearse really came on toward the end of the year and Lockette was contributing on special teams. WR may be a need, but Seattle does have a lot of options even without going for one early in the draft.

    It’s the same store at a lot of positions, which I guess is expected from a Super Bowl winning team. It may the first year in a long time we can just say ‘Best Player Available’ (which is different for Seattle that many other teams.)

  4. jeff says:

    I’d be interested in Browner as a SS who can play CB if needed. I think that is how he could extend his career, I don’t see him being a starter quality CB in this league anymore, thought that was becoming obvious last year before the suspension. As a SS who can play CB in a pinch I think he could be very valuable. The deal needs to be a value either way but I am far from opposed to his return.
    I really don’t see Browner being offered huge dollars, Thurmond is the more attractive Seattle DB IMO.

  5. zh93 says:

    If we don’t resign tate, I’m going to hope that Lee takes a little stumble and PC/JS are ready to pounce. I think the talent to value ratio would be of the charts. Even if they moved up a few spots to get him. I understand the need for the big reciever, but I think you can’t go wrong with this guy. His 40 time and injury concerns could push him late 1st. I’d love your guys thoughts and opinions on him being Tate’s replacement.

  6. Jon says:

    Would a team trade a 4th or 5th for Johnson. I think that would be great on the Hawks end. If the Jags gave us a 4th that would be within like 6 or 7 picks of our original 3rd we gave up for Harvin.

    At this point it seems as though we will be getting the max number of comp picks next year.

    • Jon says:

      Players we will likely loose that will be paid enough for us to get a comp pick
      Tate 5+ m/y = 4th or 5th rounder
      Hauschka 2-3 m/y = 6th or 7th rounder
      McDonald 3-4 m/y = 5th or 6th
      Giacomini 3-4 m/y = 5th or 6th
      McDaniel 3-4 m/y = 5th or 6th
      Mcquistan 1-2 m/y = 7th
      Browner 4+ m/y = 5th
      Thurmond 6+ m/y = 4th

      I think these are close to the contract numbers for the players and comp picks that correspond.

      • Belgaron says:

        There’s no way Thurmond gets 6+ with two strikes, same with Browner at 4+. Hauschka will exceed 3. I don’t think McDonald goes that high either but I could be wrong.

        • SHawn says:

          Clinton McDonald seems to be very undervalued by the fans. I hope the front office locks him up, I saw him make plenty of plays, both in the backfield and when he was backed into coverage.

          • Belgaron says:

            He played next to very good players last year. That’s not to say that anyone lined up next to them would have had his numbers but he’s not someone other teams will look to as a focal point. But definitely a good player who takes advantage of matchups. He’s much easier to replace than Bennett. A healthy Jordan Hill might have put up even better numbers; he’ll be interesting to see in camp.

            • xo 1 says:

              All very good points. He was terrific last year, but he also started the year as unsigned free agent after Seattle released him. He also had a multiple year resume of not producing much. It will be interesting to see how the market values him. McDaniel fits the same pattern but with even more evidence that, outside of last year, he is a JAG.

  7. plyka says:

    I can never figure out the fascination with Johnny football. The comparisons with Wilson just need to stop in my opinion.

    The biggest difference is the difference in style. Wilson understands that his team prospers with high percentage plays and limiting errors (turnovers). To take a sack or throw the ball away when necessary.

    Secondly, Manziel’s arm strength is simply not there. I can see him sitting in the pocket, setting his feet and delivering –for this his arm strength is ok, even in the NFL. HOwever, I cannot imagine him with his weak arm, running to his left, throwing the ball accross his body, or the opposite. If you remember that throw Kaep had to Boldin in the NFC Title game, where he jump passed a bullet. Or, when Wilson was falling backwards on one foot, while launching it 60 yards on a dime to Rice against Arizona. Manziel does not have the arm strength to pass on the run like this, at least not in the NFL.

    Thirdly, I just can’t see Manziel getting into the grasp of NFL defenders and somehow getting away. That skinny frame doesn’t have the strenght. He also ran a 4.7 at the combine –not fast for NFL players. I believe Wilson ran a 4.55 or so, which is basically RB speed. Kaep/Newton are the same. Manziel is at 4.68 I believe and not strong like Rothlesburger.

    I truly believe that any QB taken in the first round has the talent to be successful if put in the right position and given enough time. Just look at Alex Smith, once he was put in the right position, he started playing very well. Circumstance is going to be extremely important for Manziel. If he is put in the wrong position he will fail badly.

  8. Michael (CLT) says:

    This is kind of fun:


    • Jon says:

      Really. Two OL in the first two rounds! I think that is rather unlikely, though I do like those two players we have other areas that we should be concerned with enough to not go with to Oline early. I think it may be possible that we take 2 Oline in the draft but not round 1 and 2

      • Belgaron says:

        I would add Gabe Jackson as a guy that would match what they want to do as well.

        You have to remember that the Seahawks draft board does not reflect their needs but the value they can get at the picks they have versus the talent already on the team. For example, in 2012 QB was a higher need but they didn’t draft one until round 3. And in 2013, their number one need was not at RB. So they could just as easily draft 2 offensive linemen at 32&64 as they could 2 defensive linemen, or a receiver, etc., etc.

        Depending on where they want to play Bowie, they could have no set starter at RT. Improving the quality of the offensive line will increase the productivity of Wilson and Lynch and this would also show up in the receivers yards no matter who lines up at receiver. There is no unit on the team that couldn’t help more than getting more out of the O-line unit at this point, assuming other units don’t take a step back.

      • Ben2 says:

        Have to agree w/Jon here….But SF did it and it’s worked out for them….

        • CD says:

          Agree with Michael.

          I think we often try to get too cute trying to figure out PC/JS. We all complained about the lack of a pass rush for years and then they got Bruce. After watching him for a year and having Clem go down, they addressed the DL with Bennett and Avril. We all heard the comments from PC about needing to address the DL so we should have seen it (Bruce and the FA pick-ups) coming.

          This year the OL struggled. ML didn’t have the best of years and RW was nearly killed most weeks and apparently was playing wit a bad shoulder which I assume came from bad OL play. There is no way PC/JS don’t address the OL this year. Not only did they struggle but RW was/is close to having something major go wrong in regards to his health. They are not going to chance RW health or ML success with the current line. It was the 1 big issue last year and I feel we will smack our foreheads in mid May saying, oh, I should have seen that coming. DL and WR are a bit of a luxury, OL helps ML and keeps RW healthy

          • Rob Staton says:

            Let’s not forget the injuries to the OL. That had a major impact. It wasn’t just a lack of talent.

            • Coug1990 says:

              I have seen this line of thinking regarding Marshawn Lynch before. The fact is that 2013 was the second best season of his eight year career. Saying he didn’t have the best of years is just flat out wrong. He had the second most rushing yards of his career. He had the second most receptions of his career and 13 more than last year. He tied for the most rushing TD’s of his career with 12 and one most that last year. When you count his receiving TD’s (2), he scored more TD’s than any year of his career. His 4.2 ypc is tied for the second most of his career.

              The 5.0 ypc in 2012 is an outlier. He has never been close to that in any previous season. Marshawn had a fantastic season in 2012.

              • CD says:

                It wasn’t his best year = 9 out of his 16 regular season games he didn’t run for more than 80 yards, 4 games less than 50 yards, only 3 100+ yard games. They tried to run and they couldn’t expect in a handful of games, I don’t blame ML for that. As a run first offense, that is not good if you want to establish a good running game to set up the pass.

                I will agree, the injuries didn’t help. I got to believe they can upgrade both G spots with the early rounds which again will help ML and will help keep RW safe, 2 birds with 1 stone. They could even save a bit of money if they go RT.

            • xo 1 says:

              Agreed fully. The last two years may demonstrate to PC/JS that the team doesn’t need to spend high picks on the offensive line. I suspect they are quite happy with the talent added over the last two years and may continue down that route. As always, I suspect they’ll be open to grab value – so if Kuoadjnio slips to the mid rounds like Jesse Williams did, they might pounce – or even if they have Su’a-Filo as a top 15 guy and he is available at 32 as the guy that stands out as by far the best, they could grab him. But in general, I don’t see much evidence that the Hawks think the offensive line needs overhaul. I believe they’ll add talent with an eye to churning starters to keep costs manageable. To that end, I suspect center and left tackle will be the spots they would most like to pick up promising talent. That’s why I’m skeptical that they’d grab Su’a-Filo at 32 unless he is clearly the best guy. Carpenter at least had projection as a right tackle in a bad draft.

              • Belgaron says:

                They don’t need to spend high picks on Oline but that doesn’t mean they won’t. Okung was a very high pick, they inherited Unger but he was a 2nd, Carpenter was a first, Moffitt was a third. Just like they didn’t need to spend last years top pick (which was almost a 3rd) on a RB.

                There was an interview with Cable not long after the draft and he said there were several higher ranked guys they liked but they weren’t available when their picks came up.

                This is not to say they don’t like Bowie, Bailey and Sweezy; there method is to find talent wherever it is available when it will compete well with what they have. If there is an offensive lineman who fills the bill at 32 and/or 64, they will pull the trigger. If there is a receiver who scores higher versus what they have, they’ll go that way. It’s all about who the other GMs leave on the table and how they project in the program.

    • Rock says:

      I like your pick at #32. I could see the Hawks going for a starting caliber LG in round one over a fifth WR. If Tate resigns we have a full compliment of young WR’s. We did not utilize Sidney Rice last year, anyway. Tate, Baldwin, Harvin, Kearse and Lockette can get it done. A taller guy would be nice, but is a bit of a luxury.

      The other point is that this draft is so deep in WR talent there will be plenty of WR’s in the middle and late rounds that can come in an take a seat on the practice squad for a year until Baldwin is due for a raise. We wasted a pick on Chris Harper last year. We need to ensure we have a roster spot for whomever we select.

      • Belgaron says:

        Don’t forget they are also bringing in Chris Matthews to recreate some of what Mike Williams did in 2010.

      • Ben2 says:

        Your forgetting our red zone issues last year….a big target would be more beneficial than a “luxury” IMO

      • Rob Staton says:

        Didn’t utilise Sidney Rice? He missed most of the season.

      • David Mast says:

        Um.. Rice was hurt. But look how much he was used in 2012 when he was healthy. If we can get that sort of a receiver with great production, I can see JS/PC hopping on it.

    • Kyle says:


      I like the fanspeak simulator. There’s another one at which I was using obsessively last year and it allows for trades, even ridiculous ones.

      • Michael (CLT) says:

        The depth ( at least hoe I perceive it) is ridiculous. Fanspeak is great fun.

        That said, fanspeak still rakes me 20 minutes. Rob is pouring his life blood into this… I think it shows.

  9. red says:

    BB A RFA as well? and if so do you tender him, over the cap has him as a RFA.

  10. Belgaron says:

    While Maxwell has earned the starter spot to lose (as they say), their nickel and dime packages would benefit from having the option to move Maxwell inside and use Browner outside, and he could also spell Kam in a pinch or press a Joker. He also plays special teams. The way they rotate and package, BB could be part of the mix just as they have layers of starters on the DLine.

    Both BB and Thurmond have severely hurt the high end of their market as two strikers. All things being equal or slightly unequal, the ‘Hawks could certainly win ties as players may not be so inclined to leave for a large variety of reasons. That’s not to say a competitive offer could knock their socks off as there are a lot of teams with money to blow and bad defensive backfields. All of this assumes BB is not a RFA and that Seattle doesn’t tender an offer if he is. I doubt they tender him if he is an RFA.

    He has always been kind of wild card, capable of brilliant play, a furious smackdown, or giving up big yardage. He is much more likely to draw flags than Maxwell which were just as frustrating as the big plays he gave up.

    At least this provides yet another interesting thread to follow this off season and he could help out in the math to gain compensatory picks if he goes.

  11. SHawn says:

    On the tender for Johnson, I think it shows that the Seahawks value the secondary highly, even the backups. If they are willing to pay Jeron 2M, I bet they would be willing to take a safety in the draft as high as the 2nd rd.

    I would love to see Deone Bucannon get taken at 64, but with the lack of depth in the safety class this year I doubt he makes it that far.

  12. Brad says:

    Re: Johnson and the second round tender. This
    Could be a sales tactic known as anchoring. We already put a second round value out there, so somebody else will offer a fifth and we counter with a fourth or a combo pick.

    • Dirk says:

      Yes, there seems to be some confusion about this tender for Jeron. We will not pay him the tender, but this allows us to hold on to him and take offers. At the same time, we can be discussing a cheaper contract with him.

    • House says:

      Exactly. I HIGHLY doubt we get a 2nd for him, but they weren’t letting him go for nothing. Smart move!

  13. Beanhawk says:

    The other important thing to remember here regarding the RFA tender is that the salary is not guaranteed. People seem to forget this. They immediately jump to the conclusion that “wow, the seahawks are willing to pay a backup safety coming off an injury 2.1 mil. dollars.” That may in fact, not be the case.

    There is absolutely no loss in placing the tender on Johnson, seeing if anyone bites, and then renegotiating or even cutting him down the road. There is NO DOWNSIDE to placing this tender. Absolutely none. This seems like a no-brainer decision to me, even if you didn’t think all that highly of Johnson (though I think they do).

    • Brad says:

      If we can’t make a draft day trade or find a player we like can we then release Johnson free and clear?

  14. Steve Nelsen says:

    I expect we’ll also see tenders for both Baldwin and Jeanpierre in the next few days.

    They tendered some players last year, let them test the market and then resigned them for less than the tender amount. I don’t expect Johnson to get $2.1 million. He’ll probably end up a little above the $955,000 we paid Maragos last year.

    I don’t expect them to trade him. The depth at safety is a little thin and he is a valuable guy on special teams.

  15. Robert says:

    Would Browner make a good (and cheap) backup to Bam Bam???

  16. Sam Jaffe says:

    I would be very surprised if Seattle pays Johnson $2 million next year. They will cut him before the season and then try to re-sign him at a vet minimum right before the first game. They did it with McDonald and Maragos last year. That way they run the same risk as they do if they were to put an original round tender on him–that he signs with another team. However the risk is lower in September than in March–most teams will have their rosters assembled at that point and will be much closer to their cap limits.