Russell Okung & FA targets to protect compensatory picks

March 6th, 2016 | Written by Rob Staton

DeMarco Murray wants out in Philadelphia

Free agency essentially starts tomorrow at 12pm EST. That’s when teams can begin the legal tampering stage and last year a lot of deals were leaked during this process. When the actual market opened — a lot of the interesting moves had been verbally concluded.

With Seattle determined to keep their own guys first and foremost — it’ll be the defining point of their 2016 free agency period.

Who can they keep?

Who do they need to replace?

How much money will they have to spend?

Thoughts on Russell Okung
The best veteran left tackle option for the Seahawks is, without doubt, retaining Russell Okung. Despite the injuries, he’s clearly the best player available. That could work against the Seahawks as he tests free agency.

According to Mike Florio, Okung won’t be able to speak to teams on Monday even though he’s representing himself. If he wants to discuss terms personally as a player, he’ll have to wait until Wednesday. Such are the rules.

Mitchell Schwartz will likely get overpaid to play right tackle, Donald Penn is 33 next month and will command a big salary. There really isn’t an attractive alternative to Okung. Saying it’s an average free agent group of tackles would be a compliment.

It’ll be interesting to see how the Seahawks approach this one. They’re unlikely to go straight in with a big offer — mainly because they can’t afford to. It’ll probably be a case of testing the water, seeing if his market is cold due to his shoulder injury and then trying to work out a deal.

If a team like Detroit comes in heavy for Okung — the Seahawks are likely going to have to address their need at the position with the #26 pick in the draft.

My guess at Seattle’s approach is this — they’ll be interested in keeping him but certainly not at any cost and strictly on their terms.

Protecting compensatory picks
The Seahawks have developed into a team that not only values these extra picks — but appears to be scheming to get them. This year they’ll get an extra third rounder after Byron Maxwell’s expensive move to Philadelphia.

If Bruce Irvin and Russell Okung hit the jackpot this week — they could be looking at extra third or fourth round picks in 2017.

With compensatory picks also becoming trade bait next year, they’ll be more valuable than ever. So what are some of the moves they could make to avoid losing their picks should the likes of Irvin and Okung depart?

Phil Loadholt (T/G, Minnesota)
The Vikings have told Loadholt and Mike Wallace they’d like to keep both — but only if they take a significant pay cut. Loadholt’s cap hit in 2016 is $7.75m.

It appears likely he will be cut and if he is — he wouldn’t count against Seattle’s compensatory picks.

Why is he a good fit for the Seahawks? He can play left guard or right tackle and they’ve consistently looked for guards with tackle experience. They’ve also looked for mauling left guards with massive size that excel in the run game. Loadholt has previous experience with Darrell Bevell in Minnesota.

His major issue in the pro’s has been working against speed off the edge. If he moves inside to guard, you take away his biggest weakness and accentuate his ability in the run game.

He could also be cheap after missing the entire 2015 season through injury. Loadholt would also provide a hedge option at right tackle if the Seahawks are unable to retain Okung and see a rush on offensive tackles in the first round of the draft.

Why make this move over some of the other options?
The likes of Kelechi Osemele are going to get paid — likely beyond Seattle’s limit. You can forget about getting any good compensatory picks if you sign Osemele. You can probably forget about signing Osemele period.

It wouldn’t be a surprise if Alex Boone and Brandon Brooks are also paid handsomely. They are possibly two players to monitor if their market is cold.

The likes of Zane Beadles and Jahri Evans have regressed so much it’d feel like the second coming of Mike Wahle.

Randy Starks (DT, Cleveland)
The Seahawks have consistently used the second and third wave of free agency to find value at defensive tackle. They also seem to have a limit on how much they’re willing to spend. That’ll help in the battle for extra picks.

Pete Carroll spoke highly of Randy Starks before a 2012 game against Miami. He was recently released by Cleveland and always seemed an ill-fit in their 3-4 defense. He’s better as a one-gap interior DT. He’s 33 in December but might have a good year left in him.

His contract with the Browns was worth around $3.5m. That was probably out of Seattle’s range considering they signed Ahtyba Rubin for $2.6m. If his value dips below $3m this time — he could be in play.

Ideally the Seahawks keep both Rubin and Brandon Mebane. Rubin in particular feels like a straight forward retain. It’s hard to judge Mebane’s value — his salary was nearly $6m in 2015 and he hasn’t tested the market since 2011. The Seahawks gave him $5m APY on his last deal.

Is a team willing to give him $4m in 2016? Are the Seahawks willing to match it or will they seek to make a saving?

That’s when a player like Starks could potentially come into play. Can they make a $1.5m saving at this position and is it worth it?

Why make this move over some of the other options?
It isn’t really — you can pick out a number of alternatives. Tony McDaniel is a free agent again and did a good job for the Seahawks before his release. Samie Lee Hill (Detroit) and Steve McLendon (Pittsburgh) might also be of interest.

Wallace Gilberry has had a decent career essentially being a Clinton McDonald type interior rusher. He turns 32 this summer but again might have a year left in him. None of these options are likely to break the bank.

Ian Williams is more of a ‘name’ and he’s younger (turns 27 this year). His stock might take a hit with the D-line depth in the draft, making him a possible target. Maybe that’s wishful thinking?

DeMarco Murray (RB, Philadelphia)
Ian Rapoport reported on February 4th that the Seahawks, Cowboys and Raiders, “would be interested” if Murray was available via trade.

It was a curious link. Having struggled through a disappointing 2015 season with the Eagles, Murray’s stock is much lower than it was a year ago when he led the league in rushing. He averaged 3.64 yards a carry and has seemingly been trying to get out of Philadelphia since the end of the season.

The Seahawks are known to kick the tires on moves like this. Many deals don’t come off and there’s nothing to say this one would. Let me create an argument for why they might be interested.

Murray did produce in 2015 — and it wasn’t just down to the Dallas O-line. He was a genuine threat and as pivotal as Tony Romo and Dez Bryant. If the Seahawks believe he can get back to that form — pairing him with Thomas Rawls could produce a formidable rushing attack.

Philadelphia and Murray appear to be so at odds that the compensation is likely to be minimal — maybe even a 2017 late round pick. A throwaway move to get him off the books.

While the Eagles would have to stomach a $13m dead cap hit (ouch) — the Seahawks would currently pay him $8m. It’s a lot of money — but they’ve been willing to take on that type of salary in the past for Marshawn Lynch.

Rapoport mentioned in his report that Murray might be willing to adjust his contract to force a trade. That could include limiting the dead money impact in Philadelphia and lowering his 2016 cap hit.

Let’s say his cap hit is reduced to $6m. If it didn’t work out — the Seahawks could cut him with no charges. They could cut him in training camp if they wanted to. They could essentially bring him in for a trial to see if he warrants a $6m salary this year.

The downside would be you took a chance and you move on. The upside could be 2014 DeMarco Murray at a decent price.

Why make this move over some of the other options?
Trading for Murray wouldn’t impact Seattle’s compensatory picks and it could give them a nasty one-two punch at running back. And remember — the Seahawks see the running game as their core identity on offense.

Another veteran option — Matt Forte — would be cheaper but it could influence your compensatory picks. Murray is also only one year removed from a great season and he’s younger.

It’s not a great draft at running back. The 2017 class is hotly anticipated at the position and the Seahawks might prefer to pair Rawls with a proven veteran.

Such a move would only be likely if they lost all of their key free agents, had money to spend and were prepared to draft an offensive tackle in the draft.

That also goes for…

Martellus Bennett (TE, Chicago)
It’s a good trenches draft. If the Seahawks face a situation where they’ve lost Okung and Irvin — they might target replacements in round one and two.

Bennett wouldn’t fill a vital need or necessarily replace a departing player — but he might just help the passing game in the absence of Jermaine Kearse and offer some relief while Jimmy Graham recovers from his injury.

The Bears and Bennett have already announced they’re working to accommodate a trade so he’s unlikely to cost much more than a late round pick in 2016 or 2017. The Seahawks would be taking on a one-year contract essentially worth $6m.

Why make this move over some of the other options?
It’s not a cheap deal — but it might be similar to the amount they’d have to pay for someone like Miami receiver Rishard Matthews. The difference is — Matthews would impact their comp picks. Bennett wouldn’t.

They’re not like-for-like players of course but they might be able to have the same impact.

Chris Long (DE, Los Angeles)
The Seahawks have shown interest in similar veterans in the past. Jared Allen was close to signing in 2014 before agreeing a longer deal in Chicago.

Long was cut by the Rams so it wouldn’t impact Seattle’s comp picks in 2017. He has the kind of attitude and grit they seem to like. He’s had injury issues and a decrease in production for two years — but he always seemed to save his best football for the NFC West. Two of his three sacks last year came against the 49ers and Cardinals. He had 9.5 sacks against the NFC West in 2013 and 2014.

The Seahawks were 3-3 in the division in 2015.

He’ll turn 31 at the end of this month so he could still warrant a longer term deal like Allen (who signed for four years with the Bears). If his market is suitably cool and he’s willing to play for a season in Seattle — he could be an option.

Why make this move over some of the other options?
Mario Williams could earn twice as much as Long and is already getting serious interest on the open market. Charles Johnson is well beyond his best and Long looks like a better option if he can rekindle his form and stay healthy.

225 Responses to “Russell Okung & FA targets to protect compensatory picks”

  1. smitty1547 says:

    Please stay away from Murray!

  2. Nick says:

    Once again you provide the best Seahawks analysis. Thanks for taking the time to put this together on a Sunday night.

    You’re right – the departure of Okung and Irvin would allow them to explore some more attractive options in free agency. I really like Loadholt. It would make a ton of sense and would narrow their focus for the draft. Take the best tackle available at #26 and then get BPA at #56. You can imagine something like Ifedi/Decker/Coleman and then Killebrew/Jones/Tapper.

    As for Murray, you certainly make intriguing points. They love ROI and “buying low” and Murray’s situation looks to be ideal in that sense. What do you think of Doug Martin? Would his stock be too high at the moment? And what about Joique Bell? He is very old, but again he fits that “buying low” principle.

    • Rob Staton says:

      The problem with Martin is he’s an UFA — so it’d be costly and would cost them a comp pick.

      Joique Bell, for me, is pretty much finished.

      • Nick says:

        I find it interesting that Pete didn’t completely “give” the RB responsibilities to Rawls when asked about it. He was sort of non committal. If I remember correctly he said something along the lines of “he’ll be the leading option.”

        • Radman says:

          To me that’s just part of the “compete” approach. Nothing is even implied to be given. Everything must be earned. In his heart of hearts, I would guess he sees a budding star in Rawls and is as excited as most of us about what his future will bring. But he’s not inclined to say that the starting job is his, months from the start of the season, when the young player is working his way back. Not in his nature as a coach. Just my take.

          • Nick says:

            Extremely fair and good points.

            • Volume12 says:

              He also said, he can’t imagine Rawls not being the no 1 guy, but as Rob said, isn’t gonna come out and pubicly declare that he’s locked in.

              Looks like the type of draft where you target a back on day 3 somewhere.

        • Josh says:

          It’s probably to hedge for a Bowie type situation. UDFA comes in and has a solid rookie year then shows up to camp in horrible shape.

      • Del tre says:

        Honestly marshaun coprich is comparable to Doug Martin so I think the Hawks would rather spend in the draft than pick up an expensive running back

  3. Zach says:

    Rob,

    What are your thoughts on potentially letting Okung walk, signing Penn to a reasonable, short-term deal (cheaper than Okung), and drafting a versatile offensive lineman like Ifedi in the first round to play left guard as a rookie, and learn from Penn and Cable for a year or two before moving out to left tackle?

    • Rob Staton says:

      I would not be in favour of signing Donald Penn. Not a big fan of his play, he’s never had the best conditioning and now he’s well into his 30’s. I’d rather start a young tackle to be honest and bring in a veteran guard that might be able to do the job for more than a year.

      • Greg Haugsven says:

        How about Beatty? I don’t know to much about him.

        • C-Dog says:

          A healthy Will Beatty wouldn’t be a terrible replacement for Okung, IMO. They’d have to feel comfortable with that pec muscle. Honestly, though, I think the best LT on the market for Seattle is keeping Okung, but that’s just me.

          • franks says:

            C Dog or anyone else what are yor thoughts on Joe Barksdale? Cap number?

            • C-Dog says:

              I like Barksdale at a RT candidate, maybe even guard. Was kind of surprised he didn’t get more play in free agency last year. I kind of think the Bolts might try to hang onto him, though. Where ever he ends up, I doubt he’s playing for the vet minimum again.

      • Jujus says:

        Is it so hard to understand that john Schneider will not sacrifice comp picks!?

        We aren’t signing anyone who could risk our 3rd rd comps.

        • Rob Staton says:

          They might not get third round comps.

          Easily more than 3-4 who could earn more than Irvin.

        • EranUngar says:

          Jujus,

          It is not hard to understand what you type. It is hard for me to agree with what you say. A 3rd round comp pick in the 2017 is the egg from which a future “bird in the tree” may hatch.

          For some of us, having a veteran that can be a reliable 2016 day one starter is worth much more than the guy we may pick at the end of round 3/4 next year.

          Why is that so hard for you to understand?

      • franks says:

        Rob I know you don’t think he’s the greatest but Penn’s coming off a 2 year 9.6M contract. 4.8 Avg for a decent LT who’s not that good, but holds down his job firmly and always plays? How much would the contract be likely to go up? He had the same resume and a better age when he signed it. I don’t think he’s the greatest either, but I’d think he’s an option if the F.O. get their sights on a non-OL at 26, or like Zach suggested on Ifedi.

        • franks says:

          Isn’t 5M a sixth or seventh rounder

        • Rob Staton says:

          Let’s put it this way. If the Seahawks can get a young offensive tackle who looks like the Hulk, has 36 inch arms, can jump 32.5 inches in the vert and is pretty much their ideal at the position — and pay him $1.5m for the privilege — do you think they’ll sign a 33-year-old who’s always had issues with conditioning and pay him five times as much?

          I don’t see any way at all they sign Donald Penn.

          • franks says:

            In that scenario, no way, but it’s hard to say why his price would’ve doubled over the past 2 years, he hasn’t exactly been an All Pro. Is it purely supply and demand? If the F.O. set their sights on say Nkemdiche or Fuller in R1, which is entirely plausible, then Coleman and Ifedi are out of the picture.

            • Rob Staton says:

              I don’t think it is plausible for the Seahawks to narrow their options down to Nkemdiche and Fuller and ignore the tackles. I highly doubt they’d take either. Certainly not Nkemdiche.

          • Hawksince77 says:

            Except it’s not Penn or Ifedi. If they sign Penn (or another FA tackle) they can use their first round on another player, one they may value higher than the difference between Penn (or another FA tackle) and Ifedi.

            Addressing the o-line in FA provides the kind of flexibility they always seek in the draft. Not sure why this year would be any different.

            • Rob Staton says:

              My point wasn’t about Penn or Ifedi — it was about what Seattle would want in a tackle. If they can get their ideal at $1.5m they’ll clearly do that vs taking a guy who is 33, not their ideal and costs five times more. Ifedi, Coleman and Clark are all likely to preferable and I doubt they’re so opposed to going OT in round one that they’d feel the need to splash out on Penn — who isn’t worth the money anyway IMO. He’s always been up and down in his career — much like his horrendous conditioning.

    • RealRhino2 says:

      This would be my plan, if possible. Good LT who could man the position for at least two years lets us move on from Okung’s injury risk AND, maybe just as important, lets us move off from a reach/need pick of an OT in the 1st, giving us more freedom if a great edge rusher, DT or other falls to us. We can then try a developmental guy such as Clark later on.

  4. Greg Haugsven says:

    Starks could be an interesting fall back. What’s your guys thoughts on Haloti Ngata as well. Also we could probably just wait f or Bennett to get released then sign him to a lower deal and not lose any picks.

    • C-Dog says:

      I’d rather has them with Ngata than Starks. Starks two or three years about, sure, but then again, I’d rather have Mebane from two years ago. Really not interested in any of the old geezer DTs, at all. Would much rather have them get younger there than older, or keep their own for another year.

      • Volume12 says:

        Starks over Ngata. Fits the scheme better.

        Having vets isn’t a bad thing.

        • C-Dog says:

          No, not at all, but if I had to choose, I’d go with younger vets with some upside to coach up.

          I think Starks, Ngata, Mebane, all more or less in the same group, even though they are each different. Ngata could add some genuine physical abuse at a 1 tech, Starks is a 3 tech that’s slowed down, Mebane is what he is, solid 1 tech who doesn’t have the wheels he used to have. Question becomes how they each hold up for the course of a full season at this stage, even in a rotation.

        • franks says:

          On a normal year they’re both good options, but this is a great year for DTs. Kicking the ball down the road isn’t something you do when their are guys like Hargrave, Johnson, Washington, Mkemdiche, Jones, …

          • Volume12 says:

            Signing a vet at the DT position, doesn’t preclude you from still drafting one.

            Just like a possible signing of DeMarco Murray, Matt Forte, whoever, mean you still can’t draft a RB.

            • franks says:

              Right but as with the OTs, if you draft a good one, you don’t need to pay a guy veteran money. I’m really hoping we come out of the draft with two, but I see PCJS’s history and I know we could just as likely come out with nine.

              • franks says:

                I could see us signing a3 tech and drafting a nose, though, or vice versa. Mebane’s time may have run out.

  5. CHawk Talker Eric says:

    For immediate impact, I’d prefer Murray at $6M than any prospect in the draft. A Rawls-Murray backfield could be epic.

    And admit I would very much like to watch Murray run all over SF and Kelly twice next year.

    • Greg Haugsven says:

      It would be $7 million next year and $7.5 the next, both guaranteed. Would you still want?

    • Volume12 says:

      I agree CHAWK.

    • Saxon says:

      RB is the most fungible position in the NFL. A UDFA guy like Rawls can come in as a rookie and tear it up. Asian Foster was another UDFA that broke out. You don’t pay RBs. Find guys in the mid to late rounds who’ll run hard and be decent in short yardage. The Patriots are the model franchise in sports and they never pay RBs. Neither should we. Put the cash into OL and DL and you’ll get a better ROI.

  6. Radman says:

    The rule not allowing Okung to speak to teams until Weds seems unfair. Okung is an agent. He should be allowed to talk to teams as an agent, on Monday, like any other agent. The fact that he is also a player shouldn’t change the fact that he’s also an agent. He can wear an agent hat on Monday and any other day he’s negotiating a contract, a player’s helmet the other days. Not that I think it’s a big deal, but this rule seems like one that should change.

  7. James says:

    Wouldnt Beadles and Evans not count against comp picks since they were cut?

    Not saying we should just curious.

    Also, thank you again for the blog Rob. The daily posts lately are excellent and greatly appreciated.

  8. Greg Haugsven says:

    Also my gut tells me they resign Okung before Wednesday. Anyone’s thoughts?

    • Seahawcrates says:

      I would be extremely surprised if Okung went through preparation and work to become his own agent only to NOT look at what the market will offer.

      • Greg Haugsven says:

        Your probably right, it’s just a feeling.

        • C-Dog says:

          Rapport put out a tweet today saying the Seahawks are interested in keeping Okung, but he wants to test the market. If true, kind of ends any speculation Seattle is ready to move on for Okung. Just means what many thought; Okung wants to test the market. My gut says they will allow him to test what’s out there, if a team doesn’t throw too much money his direction off the bat, I think a deal can reached with Seattle.

          • Rob Staton says:

            “If true, kind of ends any speculation Seattle is ready to move on for Okung.”

            Well, it means they’re not shutting the door. I think they’re fully prepared to welcome him back — but only on their terms. Meaning not a big fat multi-year contract.

            • C-Dog says:

              Yep, and if his market is cold, a leaner contract would probably be what both sides would want anyways.

            • rowdy says:

              I just dont trust Rapaport, before Lynch got his deal he said 4 different scenarios and one stuck. We were also interested in keeping tate but didn’t want to pay him his worth. Okung is also injured and I don’t see a deal for him right of the bat.

            • CharlieTheUnicorn says:

              John Clayton mentioned on his Saturday show in Seattle (the 5 minutes I happen to hear it) that Okung may find a rather thin market for FA LTs. There are possibly 2 or 3 teams that might spend some money at LT and the balance of the teams with modest need at OT will grab guys in the draft, since they are far cheaper. Okung can’t pass physicals until may or June, so he will be at the end looking for scraps, instead at the front of the line with all the other LT in FA.

              • C-Dog says:

                I look at it this way; Okung didn’t make the bold decision to represent himself not to test the free agent waters. Seattle probably would like to keep him, but there is zero reason for him to sign before testing those waters. If some team wants to throw a large sum of money at him that Seattle is not in a position to match, instead of addressing the position in the draft, God bless them. Given his injury, IMO, I think the chances of that are fairly questionable. I’d give it a decent chance Okung comes back, 50/50, at least. We shall see soon enough.

              • Rob Staton says:

                I think there’s a very good chance Clayton is right. Okung’s market really up in the air.

              • CHawk Talker Eric says:

                It only takes one team…

            • SeventiesHawksFan says:

              Agreed. It’ll be on their terms. No reason to shut doors. The Hawks negotiating position with Okung is solid in the form of Gilliam and two to three players likely to be available in the draft.

      • Attyla the Hawk says:

        One thing to consider, is the fact that as his own agent, he’s not able to talk to teams during this two day ‘tampering’ period.

        Most of the big alpha deals are set during this time frame. It’s reasonable to think that without benefit of this advantage, plus the fact he’s still injured and can’t work out with teams — that he may well miss out on the bigger contracts as cap reserves are spent today and tomorrow (on ‘paper’).

        Unless a team really thinks he’s a 100% go on his word and is willing or able to commit a big cap hit on him after the opening bell — he looks like he’s going to go in the 2nd or 3rd wave of UFA signings.

  9. Steele says:

    The main problem with the o-line last season was interior. Therefore, shouldn’t the strategy emphasize shoring up C and G? Tackle is of course the matter of losing Okung and replacing him with an acceptable option, but the sieve was up the middle. Wiesniewski, Alex Mack, Breno and a couple of others remain interesting to me.

    DeMarco Murray. Good back, but I think they can get a back who can do that job in the draft, even with a low round pick. Martellus Bennett, Randy Starks, sure, if the price is right.

    Chris Long, fine, but there are other (better, younger) pass rushers I’d rather see them target.

    • Radman says:

      I guess I have more faith in Gilliam as a LT than many. But I’d like to see them move Gilliam to LT as it seems was originally planned, and sign a veteran for RT, and draft interior after round 2. Of course, I’ll send that memo to JS right away so he has a proper plan in place 🙂

    • EranUngar says:

      The main reason that we target the interior of the line is that we had a very solid pair of tackles. If you think that Donald and Short are scary, let a rookie RT face Quin….

  10. Cameron says:

    I’m curious why everyone seems so convinced that Russell Okung will receive a large, multi-year contract on the open market. There seems to be one big impediment to that happening.

    Several months ago Okung sent a letter to every team in the league explaining some operation he was about to have and that fact would mean he wouldn’t be recovered before the start of the new league year. My question is, if Okung isn’t recovered before the start of FA, and he can’t pass a physical, what team is going to sign him to a big FA deal? If he’s not in on the first wave of FA it seems the chances of him landing a lucrative deal are pretty slim. Teams will have moved on, spent there monies elsewhere, etc.

    Tell me where I’m going wrong.

    • Radman says:

      Positional scarcity is the only counter to that very sound logic. To what degree? That is the question.

    • Rob Staton says:

      You aren’t.

      It’ll all be down to whether a team offers him that big deal in the first wave. If it doesn’t happen it increases the chances of Okung returning possibly on a one year deal.

      • Cameron says:

        Is there precedence for hurt players signing lucrative deals in FA? Seems like one of those things I’ve never heard of and Okung really needs to be healthy before he’ll command any interest.

        • Rob Staton says:

          Depends how serious it is.

        • bobbyk says:

          Being hurt in free agency definitely hurt Wisniewski last year. He had to settle for a 1 year deal at “only” $2.5 million.

        • Michael M. says:

          Daily Vocab Tune Up!

          Precedence – the condition of being considered more important than someone or something else; priority in importance, order, or rank. EXAMPLE: “Finding a new left tackle takes precedence over finding a new punter.”

          Precedent – an earlier event or action that is regarded as an example or guide to be considered in subsequent similar circumstances.EXAMPLE: “Are there precedents for hurt players signing lucrative deals in FA?”

      • GerryG says:

        Personally I think Okung doing a 1 year with the Hawks, and drafting a LT at #26 (who can redshirt this season, plus play the 2-3 games Okung is hurt) is the best possible scenario.

    • Trevor says:

      I thought the same thing as well Cameron but I think we are in the minority. I just don’t see a big market for Okung. I really believe he will be back at a deal between $8-10 mil APY over 4 years similar to the deals most of our other core players have signed.

      • Greg Haugsven says:

        It hurts him as well that he can’t actually talk to a team until Wednesday at 4 eastern time.

        • C-Dog says:

          I’m with you all you guys. I am not convinced at all that his market is going to be that big. In fact, outside of a small handful of the free agents league wide, I don’t see a lot of players worth the big money. I think a lot of guys are going to be well over paid outside of Von Miller. We will see on Okung, I think there’s a chance he’s back in town.

          • CJ says:

            No chance Okung is back, he’ll get 10+ million per year on the market. The demand for tackles is too great and there’s a reason why a blindside protector is top 3 in most important positions for a franchise: they’re so hard to find. I could see him going to Jacksonville for a boatload of money in a more passing friendly offense. He and Joeckel would be an excellent bookend for Bortles and he’d play for Gus.

            • C-Dog says:

              We shall see. The teams in position of need are also probably in good position to draft the top OTs in the first round. If you are a GM that could land one of them, would you be more inclined to spend $10 Mill a year on a 28 yr old LT that has injury concerns, or spend rookie contract peanuts on a much younger player coming out of college with upside? If Jacksonville gives him that kind of deal, God bless them, and good for him.

              • reggieregg says:

                Plus whatever team takes him hopefully drafts before us bumping us up on the list of teams looking to draft a tackle.

        • rowdy says:

          He can talk to seattle all he wants, he just can’t talk to other teams

  11. Grant G says:

    Rob,

    As always, thanks for the incredible effort you put into this blog. Love reading it all year, and you make the run up to the draft so fun to be a part of.

    I like a lot of the names thrown around. Let’s say you could get Bennett for a 6th and maybe convince him to nudge his salary down to 4-5M. re-sign lane at 5-6, rubin at 3. Bring in Chris Long (would he go for a 2-year deal at 2-3M APY?). Or, bring in either big Phil at LG or make a run at Brooks, maybe in that 4-5M range. That would be a pretty solid FA class and leave us well set for the way talent is likely to run in the draft.

    • Greg Haugsven says:

      All sounds good to me Grant. Let’s do it.

      • David says:

        I’m guessing Bennett won’t be open to renegotiating a lower salary. Isn’t the reason he wants to be traded is because he doesn’t think Chicago is paying him enough?

  12. Radman says:

    I’d love to see Bennett on this roster. I was hoping they’d sign him back when he was a FA and signed with the Bears. He’s a better fit in this offense then Jimmy, in my view, and was disappointed when they didn’t get him. With one year left, there’s a chance to see how it works. Come playoff time they could have a nice Move TE and inline TE, with the ability to move on from either at season’s end.

    • Greg Haugsven says:

      I agree Radman, think he fits our system better. He’s a better blocker which is good for a run first team. Not sure he’d be on the team with Graham as lreadybhete here.

    • Trevor says:

      I think the only way they bring in a player / strong personality like Bennet is if Grahams rehab is not going well and they do not think he will contribute next year or they plan on releasing. Both of which they have public stated they are not doing.

      I like Bennet at TE and think he would fit well in our offense and locker room but when Graham comes back you would have 3 receiving tight ends including Willson and ton of money ties up in that position with not enough balls to keep everyone happy.

      IMO opinion the only way Bennet is in a Hawks uni is if Graham is not.

      How about this idea which goes against everything PCJS have said.
      -Trade Kam to the Bears for Bennet (equal salaries / cap #)
      -Cut Graham (save $9 mil cap) use this cap $ to sign Alex Mack
      -Resign Okung to play LT
      -Draft Keanu Neal Rd #1 to replace Kam

      So basically we would get Okung, Mack, Neal and Bennet instead of Graham, Kam and Rookie 1st Round Tackle

      • Greg Haugsven says:

        Interesting Trev, maybe we could get more from the Bears. Maybe anot her pick, but I kind of like it.

      • EranUngar says:

        Trevor, not bad. Neal will actually replace Irvin and McC will replace Kam.

        • Trevor says:

          If we did that then we could use the 2nd round pick on a guy like Garnett and have an OL in 2016 of

          Okung, Garnett, Mack, Glowinski, Gilliam sounds like a Huge upgrade to me and good combination of youth and vets.

          • RWIII says:

            I like Mack. But it ain’the happening. Mack would cost Seattle a comp pick.

            • EranUngar says:

              So, you’d rather have a 3rd pick in 2017 than an all pro Ceneter right now?

              Quality wise thats like giving away a herd of cows in hand for a bird in the tree.

              • David says:

                Great scenario – and upgrades the middle of the line as well. The idea that they wouldn’t sign talent (if they have the cap space) because it might cost them a 3rd round comp pick seems a bit short-sighted, particularly when the team is in a rather narrow SB window (the locked up talent is in their prime and may never be as good again as they are now) especially considering its not without precedent to give up draft picks for talent (they gave up a first and took on Graham’s salary last year).

      • Rob Staton says:

        Bennett has only one year on his deal. You’d have him until the end of the season and that’s it — no long term commitment. Willson is up at the end of the year too.

        Bennett fills in for Graham if he starts on the PUP — then you’d have both to close the season.

        They almost certainly won’t trade Kam for him and they’ve already said they aren’t cutting Graham.

        • Trevor says:

          I said in my post this went against everything PCJS have stated publicly I was just floating an idea.

          The idea that we would spend $9 mil Graham, $6 mil Bennet, $2 mil Willson so $17 million on the tight end position just does not seem plausible to me considering that is more than we spend on our entire OL including backups.

          • Rob Staton says:

            But the point in the article was — you’ve lost Kearse so Bennett provides a proven replacement target who wouldn’t cost a comp pick like Rishard Matthews. Bennett would also fill in for Graham if he’s on the PUP (which seems likely). It wouldn’t be $17m on the TE’s as much as it’d be $17m on your targets + whatever Baldwin, Lockett and Richardson cost.

            • Greg Haugsven says:

              Anyway you look at it it’s sure fun to play fantasy GM

            • CharlieTheUnicorn says:

              A subtle implied note about Bennett, the TEs in the draft look decent, but none of them knock your socks off. If you bring him in, you are acknowledging this is a poor TE class and could use a nice 1 year bridge until 2017.

      • Steele says:

        I would hesitate about taking Okung for anything rich. Spend the savings on Mack/Boone, a cheaper veteran LT on a short contract, and draft a potential starting T.

  13. Greg Haugsven says:

    Also any Sounders fans in here. Game starts in an hour.

  14. EranUngar says:

    Great work as always Rob. You always expend our thinking.

    I started this off season believing that addressing the defense should be the main priority. In my mind, it was that defense that got us our first and only Lombardy and SB50 was another validation. I also felt that with a better defense we would not have lost the lead in the 4th quarter in our first 4 loses. In my mind, the offense manged to put top 5 numbers by the end of the year and should be just fine behind whatever OL we mange to field.

    With time and study i began to realize that there is a “clear and present danger” that we start the year with a worse OL than 2015. It could derail the whole season. The temptation to solve it by drafting better players is not a workable solution for me. I believe that having more than one rookie on the OL is an invitation for disaster in the first half of the year. The level of DLs we will face next year is higher than last year (RAMSx2, ARIx2, NYJ, MIA, CAR, BUF…). I believe that continuity breeds excellence when it comes to offensive lines. The more I think about it, the more i am convinced that the key to starting the season with a solid OL is retaining both Tackles and Center at their respective position. If the OL maters so much, it should take the first priority using our cap space, not just our draft capital.

    The key for me is resigning Okung. If he commands 40M for 4 year, so be it. Pay him a 6-8M signing bonus and limit his first year cap hit to 6-7M. This should be the first move and the rest will follow. Add another OL player with our 1st or 2nd draft picks to compete with Britt/Glow and be a quality backup if he fails to make the starting line in his first year. I also like the Loadholt option at LG if the numbers allow it.

    This deep class of DTs should enable us to get a run stuffer to replace Mebane. It will also push some current NFL DTs to be there at vet minimum or close to it later in FA. We should be alright even if we do allow one or two 100 yards rushers during the season.

    Your main argument against signing Okung (other than injuries) was that it will put Lane out of our reach. It doesn’t have to be. If Lane is such a vital key, they can offer him a 4 year contract and take a million or two off his first year cap hit. As good as Lane was, he has a very extensive injury history and very little actual games started in 4 years. If not, so be it.

    A solid line to start the season would mitigate losing Kearse. It would also open the first round pick to BPA OL/DT/DE/LB/WR….

    Right now, this is my best course of action.

    • Grant G says:

      If there is a Clear and Present Danger, the only solution..bring in Jack Ryan

    • Grant G says:

      Also, I don’t agree with throwing long-term, big money at Okung. He simply hasn’t performed as a top-flight LT, consistently, in his tenure here with the Hawks. Even when healthy, he has struggled at times with false starts, holding calls, and hasn’t dominated in pass protection for any significant stretch. By no means has he been awful, but he hasn’t even performed to the expectation of “best OLineman on the team”, let alone someone you would pay as a franchise cornerstone.

      Continuity is important – but not at the expense of performance. Consistency is important. Okung has played like a perhaps a $5M LT. Overpaying slightly is one thing, doubling his true worth is another.

      • Steele says:

        A clear and present danger won’t be solved by overspending for Okung.

        That danger of a bad o-line is a problem, even if they keep Okung. It isn’t solved quickly. Might take two offseasons, if they don’t pull off a miracle this time around.

        It may be that another season on offense is in jeopardy because of it, but the money isn’t there.

      • pqlqi says:

        I don’t think you understand what it costs to employ a competent LT.

        There were 13 players who had a contract with AAV > 8 million in 2015, and Okung was the lowest salaried among those 13. There were 19 LTs who had a AAV >7 million.

        Okung is at least a league average LT, and when he has been healthy, he’s rated in that 5-10 range. With the cap increasing around 7-8% this year, the expectation would be that a league average LT should get a contract in the 8-9 million/yr range.

        That seems like a fair enough price for Okung.

        • Grant G says:

          I understand LT compensation levels, I really do. If you’re saying Okung is in the top 5-10 LTs in terms of performance than we will agree to disagree. I actually don’t believe he is league average and therefore don’t believe he is worth 8-10M. If I had to quantify, I think he is at the top of the bottom 3rd of the league – so per your numbers in the group not quite reaching 7M. Add age and injury history and I don’t see any reason to commit league average dollars to him at the LT position.

          I like big Russ, I think he is a stand up guy and a solid player. Positional value shouldn’t force you to pay 10M for a good dude, though.

          • pqlqi says:

            fair enough.

            He has an injury history, but when he’s healthy he doesn’t look/move like a guy who has an injury history. His injuries have been mostly freaky/unlucky, and they have not been the kind that lead to advanced rate of joint degeneration.

            I don’t think he’s an overly impressive physical specimen at the position; I wish he was more of a workout warrior because he has the frame and natural talent to be an absurd physical presence over there. I don’t think he has much fire. This might ultimately be the knock against him.

            I flip flop between a 4 year 36-44 contract, a 1 yr 10 million contract (structured with 6 million of salary related to per game active roster bonuses – if he misses half the season he’d only make 5 million total), or completely cutting the cord and rolling with Bailey/Gilliam and drafting OT in round 1 and round 3.

      • reggieregg says:

        It could be argued that Okung played no better that a rookie!

    • SeventiesHawksFan says:

      Gilliam was being groomed as Okung’s replacement even before last season. That remains on track. Okung is very unlikely to be re-signed. Their real need is a new starting RT.

    • Hawksince77 says:

      To your point, there were several games lost last year because the offense couldn’t string together a couple of first downs late in the game. While many blamed the defense for those losses, had the offense kept the ball in those games, the late 4th quarter losses would have been mitigated.

      Improving the offensive line is THE critical priority for the year. Locking down the secondary a distant second. If re-signing Okung is critical for that improvement, Seattle will stretch financially to achieve it.

      Yes, the interior of the line is the weakness of the line, but it doesn’t help to lose elements of strength, the tackles. Sure, Gilliam can slide over to the left, but now you have a gap at RT, and a first-time starter on the left. Plus a weak interior.

      Last year the offensive line contributed to a slow start, and a weak finish (Rams, Panthers). Hopefully next year is better.

  15. Adog says:

    Not sure they resign Okung…I don’t think that the Seahawks place a high value on oft injured players. Also it seems that Gilliam could step in and give them a similar result. I would not be surprised or concerned to see them stand pat in the frenzy of the first wave of free agency. I think they foreseen the departure of Okung last year when they drafted heavy on the o line with Poole and glowinksi… Not to mention grooming sokali. Let’s face it…there is no single equalizer to the likes of Donald or shorrt, but there is a collective one…fluid and efficient communication. I could see this line next year Gilliam, Dahl, sokali, glowinksi, Bailey …what I don’t see is a high priced fa or a first round pick on that line.

    • Michael M. says:

      I’ve heard nothing from the team that makes me think Sokoli is anywhere near ready to start. I am still excited about his upside though.

      My ideal 2016 line:
      LT: Gilliam
      LG: Loadholt
      C: Lewis + a day three guy to compete (unless Martin makes it to R3)
      RG: Sweezy if he’s cheap, Glowinski if not
      RT: #1 Draft Pick (Ifedi/Coleman but not Clark)

      • David says:

        The line was a disaster last year and I just don’t see that line improving from last year in any way. You are downgrading at LT (at least initially it can’t be expected that Gilliam will step into a new position and play better than Okung), upgrading at LG, C even, RG even (though Glow may be downgrade from Sweez, we don’t know either way) and likely downgrading at least initially at RT (the hope is to get a guy who can step in and perform well as a rookie but history has shown us that this is rarely the case – especially for non top-10 rookies. The league just hasn’t seen a lot of high round OL guys step in and dominate from the start, even the exception athletes. College football is just too different).

  16. Trevor says:

    Okung representing himself is certainly a unique dynamic that I am interested to watch play out. It is clear that the NFl establishment is not really comfortable or excited about the idea.

    • Trevor says:

      Also I thought all contracts require you to pass a physical. How will he be able to do that? Or is it just that the team has to be comfortable with the physical?

  17. I really like your analysis of the potential with Loadholt. To me it is so critical to get Britt off the starting O-line that it makes finding a OT to replace Okung priority 1A and finding a LG priority 1B. It really interests me that in moving him to LG we could remove the weakest aspect of his game, and also I can’t help but love this:

    >He could also be cheap after missing the entire 2015 season through injury. Loadholt would also provide a hedge option at right tackle if the Seahawks are unable to retain Okung and see a rush on offensive tackles in the first round of the draft.

    Taking advantage of a situation (injury) and getting a player for cheap that could be such an upgrade over what we got (Britt at LG) would be fantastic. And the added hedge option is fantastic as well.

    ———————————————————————-

    Love the DT analysis.

    >Ideally the Seahawks keep both Rubin and Brandon Mebane. Rubin in particular feels like a straight forward retain. It’s hard to judge Mebane’s value — his salary was nearly $6m in 2015 and he hasn’t tested the market since 2011. The Seahawks gave him $5m APY on his last deal.

    Exactly. The DT FA’s and potential DT FA’s after roster cut downs (maybe a rookie DT or two bumps a vet DT off of some teams in the NFL) along with the depth and talent at DT in the draft really sets us up nicely in retaining our DT’s (or at least Rubin). I really hope to see us re-sign Rubin, he is the must of our two DT’s. But re-signing Mebane would also be nice.

    ———————————————————————-

    I really don’t like the idea of acquiring Murray. I mean to begin with I think he is over-rated along with the fact that I don’t like him as a person. Besides all that I don’t like using that much cap space for a RB, especially in today’s day and age. I want us to roll with Rawls, CMike and a 3rd down back (draft pick or cheap FA). There is no need to acquire an expensive vet RB IMO. I am tired of the Seahawks making big dumb moves like this; Percy, arguably Jimmy, arguably Rice, etc. Yes some have worked out (Marshawn) but I just want a really solid and safe off-season in FA and the Draft.

    ———————————————————————-

    The problem with the Marty Bennett trade to me is the idea of giving up any 2016 draft capital. We have too much we need to get done. It is one thing if we cut Jimmy and all of a sudden had $9mil in ’16 and $10mil in ’17 freed up. But to retain him and get Marty? Ehhh, not high on this. We need to replace Okung, replace Irvin, and add some quality talent to the team (DT, OG/C, RB, CB). That all can get done with the picks we got.

    ———————————————————————-

    I have no feelings one way or the other in regards to Chris Long. I worry he won’t be very impactful, if at all impactful. I mean getting 2-3 sacks…in his third year Cassius Marsh could have that potential (not that i’d bet on it).

    • Volume12 says:

      You wouldn’t like having 2 TEs like Graham and Bennett?

      • rowdy says:

        To much money at the position for me and Willson stepped up last year, not to Bennet level but to me the money is best used else where

        • lil'stink says:

          Part of me wonders if the front office would want both Bennett bros on the team. Could be great from an on the field perspective, but could be challenging in other areas. Especially if both want more money.

      • Robert says:

        I think they can get some decent contributions out of Coffman.

        • I agree, I hope we bring him in to compete during camp. He seems to be a player with a great college career;

          John Mackey Award (2008)
          Consensus All-American (2008)
          Second-team All-Big 12 (2006, 2008)

          but he just never clicked in the NFL. But last season when we picked him up I felt like it might have clicked for him. Pete and Russ praised how instantly Russ connected with his size and catch radius on the practice field. How Coffman right away picked up the playbook and could contribute.

          Give him a full preseason to work with the offense and I feel like he could really help our TE group. Another factor I really liked was when he blocked in pass pro or run blocking he seemed to do a good job. I never once saw him get beat when he was blocking.

          Give him a shot.

  18. Trevor says:

    Would Dan Quinn have coached Keanu Neal at Florida his freshman season? Or did Quinn join us that year?

    • icb12 says:

      No. 2013 Quinn came to Seahawks.

    • Rob Staton says:

      Quinn re-joined Seattle in 2013, the year Neal began his college career. So he won’t have coached him.

      • Trevor says:

        Thanks I was just curious as I thought the Falcons might be a landing spot for him. They need a safety and toughness + Quinn saw first hand the impact Kam had.

      • CharlieTheUnicorn says:

        But he might have been involved with his recruitment and most likely still has strong ties to the coaching staff. Valuable insight into the player, which few can ever really get during the evaluation/draft process.

  19. icb12 says:

    Rob, thoughts on James Jones in free agency?

  20. nichansen01 says:

    A quick note: I would rather resign Lane and Rubin and sign Starks and Loadholt, than resign Lane, Rubin and Mebane, and sign only Loadholt.
    Mebane is looking way past his prime. Rubin also wasn’t a good fit in the Browns 3-4, but he excelled as a 1 gap lineman in seattle.

    • Greg Haugsven says:

      Have to consider continuity as well though.

    • Michael M. says:

      Why are people so down on Mebane? Are his days of 40+ tackles behind him? Of course they are, but from what I’ve seen and the overall effectiveness of the defense, especially against the run, he’s not “way past his prime”.

      I would be sad to see Mebane go.

      • hawkdawg says:

        Agree. Not sure where that narrative is coming from.

        • David says:

          I think the biggest knock on Mebane is that he doesn’t collapse the pocket like he used to (or ever did) which makes him a 1 or 2-down player. Don’t think Mebane is worth the $5m he was paid last year, but for $5m combined, would love to see both him and Rubin back on the roster as run stuffers.

        • arias says:

          Mebane was 64th of 71 defensive tackles this past season in run stop percentage. He hasn’t been the same since his injury in ’14.

      • purpleneer says:

        Maybe we’re forgetting how good he was, but he was absolutely way more than a stout run-stuffer. That alone has a pretty substantial effect on his value and ease of replacement. He’s also not up for as many snaps as before, regardless of situation.

  21. CJ says:

    Any chance the Seahawks could go for Henry Melton as a rotational pass rusher? He’s coming off a down year and would come fairly cheap wwhen considering the draft is so deep at his position. We’ve shown interest in the past, he could serve Clinton McDonald’s role if Hill is hurt/disappointing again..

  22. Darth12er says:

    Maybe if he missed this somewhere down a thread. Is there a limit to how many high comp picks a team gets? Like, could they end up with 2 3rds, or would it result in a 3rd and 4th. *Assuming both Okung and Irvin leave with 2 of the higher contracts*. The team limit is 4, correct?

    • Volume12 says:

      Yup. 4 is the most you can be awarded.

      • Darth12er says:

        Ok, so what about the number of high comps? Is it possible to have two 3’s, or would it default to one 3 and one 4?

        • CharlieTheUnicorn says:

          It is based upon the contract that was given to the player. For example Maxwell got one of the largest UFA deals a few years back, so that counted as a 3rd. Each year is different, but Bruce Irvin is the guy who I could see warranting a 3rd round comp, since he might make north of 10M per year and get a 50-60M+ deal.

          I however, do not know if there is a specific limit to comp picks in the 3rd. But once in a great while teams will have 2 4th round comps, so perhaps if the right guys got the right deals, it could happen.

    • CharlieTheUnicorn says:

      I’m pretty sure, the total number of comp picks is around 32 spread amongst rounds 3-7. There normally is only 3 or 4 in the 3rd.. and a few more each round after that, until the 7th… which has 10 or so.

    • Jeff M. says:

      If Okung and Irvin both get something like a $10m+ APY and are in the top 3-4 qualifying players the Seahawks could get two 3rd-round comp picks (assuming they don’t sign an offsetting comp-qualifying FA, which is why Rob wrote this piece about guys that don’t affect the comp calculations).

  23. franks says:

    no-Bennett = too much cap at TE
    Long = too old

    NO- Okung
    Murray

    Dunno-Osemele, Penn, Starks, Lane

    Pull-the-trigger-Loadholt, Williams

    The chances look good we’ll get 2 thirds and a fifth for Irvin, Okung and Kearse.

    Adam Beasley, a professional reporter for a major newspaper, quotes insiders saying Williams likely won’t get much and puts his name on it. Might be wrong but it isn’t a given that he’s signing for $$$. Had a bad year and is 31.

    • Rob Staton says:

      Williams wants to visit 4-5 teams and if they all want him the price will go up. The starting point is already in the $6m ballpark which is possibly too much for Seattle anyway given they’re paying that to Avril and $1m more to Bennett.

      • Michael M. says:

        You make a good point about paying that much to an outsider, given Bennet’s unhappiness with his number. They’d really have to sell it to the whole group. It’s a supremely long shot, but not impossible. Many factors though:

        – Williams would need to be chasing playoff contention or signing a 1 year deal to prove that Rex Ryan is at fault for his underwhelming season last year (which I strongly believe to be the case). Could be open to it as this would give him one final chance to land a big multi-year deal before he’s really too old.

        – You’d have to sit down and spell out for all three guys (Williams, Avril and Bennett) the upside of getting fewer snaps overall. Improved health (none are particularly young anymore), equal production via ‘fresh legs’. Makes the team better, thus giving them an even greater chance at a ring.

        Personally I’d be a huge fan of the move, but I really don’t think there’s much chance of it happening.

        • franks says:

          I think we could use another guy in the D Line rotation. Guys were looking gassed at times last year. I suspect Bennett would start taking more snaps at DT, in this scenario. Clark would be the one losing out on snaps, if we draft an effective 3 tech and sign Mario. Who knows how realistic either of those are.

      • Coug1990 says:

        All it takes is one team to be stupid and offer Williams an overpay of a contract. I just do not see that team as the Seahawks. Even if the Seahawks were his first choice, I have to believe a team would just offer more similar to Jared Allen a couple of years ago.

  24. CharlieTheUnicorn says:

    Murray. I understand what Rob is saying about him, but I’m not buying. I would rather roll the dice on a late round RB or UDRFA RB than bring this guy in for “big” bucks. It upsets the apple cart on playing your own players, buy cutting into available cap space this year.

    RBs that go for 1800+ yards are normally diminished the next season, but now it is two years later and he is pushing 30. There are some injury concerns, but I just don’t think it is a wise move.

    The one move that was mentioned and is incredibly intriguing….. TE Bennett from the Bears.
    You could go to a more traditional 2 TE set or 3 TE set and run play action out of it. Graham, Bennett and Willson on the field at the same time would be outstanding imo. I’m not saying Gronk and Hernendez 2.0, but it would be a very effective/efficient passing attack. All three have produced at the NFL level and 2 of the 3 can block when called upon. This would also free up Graham/Willson to be a move TE, while Bennett could inhabit the traditional inline blocking TE job. This inline traditional blocking TE position has been a sore point for several years on the Seahawks offense.

    • franks says:

      It looks like he’s hit the “cliff” to me.

      We’re nearing the cap and I think we could get an inline TE for half Bennet’s cost. Definitely could use someone who belongs there so we can play Willson and Graham where they belong. But if Bennet’s just a placeholder for Graham and PRich, he might work out.

      • CharlieTheUnicorn says:

        I would bring in Bennett as insurance, in case Graham can’t make it back this season. If, for some reason Seattle can’t have more than Willson at TE, they would be in some serious trouble….. since your only healthy play making TE would have to stay in to block more often. This would limit the offense’s “looks” and become more predictable.

        • franks says:

          I’m with you that we need an inline Tight End, just not necessarily a dynamic one like Bennett. I really want to move Graham and Willson out to their true spot.

          • rowdy says:

            I much rather have a 1st or 2nd Rd rb then Murray at his salary and Scott chandler wouldn’t be bad option at te, wouldn’t mess with the company picks and should pretty cheap.

            • Volume12 says:

              You take a dynamic player over an inline blocker every day of the week.

              Blocking TEs don’t exist in college, and there’s maybe 6-7 in the NFL.

              • franks says:

                It’s a cap issue for me. Dynamic t.e. takes cap space that could go to the defense. Blocking TE leaves more solace to upgrade defense. Then again if Bennett takes the spot Mathews is being considered for, and only adds a million or two, that’s another story.

              • purpleneer says:

                In a vacuum, sure. But a team built on a running game that has athletic receiving TEs needs at least one who can block better than average.
                And that 6-7 number is ridiculously low unless you’re only talking clear starter quality, which isn’t necessary. They absolutely do exist in college, just aren’t as talked about as the ones who put up big receiving stats. And some of the dynamic ones would work just fine blocking if the skill were emphasized just a tad more and got developed.

  25. jason says:

    Very good points in here. Hawks do appear to be trying hard to maximize comp picks.

    I’m most in favor of resigning Okung and Mebane if possible and I also like the Martellus Bennett idea unless they’re feeling really good about Jimmy’s rehab.

    The Murray idea seems the least plausible to me. I think RB is a position they’re going to try and save $ and can’t see them giving up a pick and $6m salary.

  26. HawkPower12 says:

    For those that say Martellus Bennett cost too much, please consider this…

    Rob used a good term- ‘Pass Catchers’. We only pay 1 WR any real money and that is Doug Baldwin. I feel we should extend him after FA, because he has earned it, and he and Russell can continue to grow together.

    So for all the WR and TE group, we pay very little compared to other teams…

    2016 Contracts for “Pass Catchers”

    Jimmy $9 million
    Baldwin $4 million
    Willson $1.671 million
    Richardson $848,000
    Lockett $580,000

    That totals only $16,099,000 out of a total 2016 NFL cap space of $155.27 million per team. That’s only 10.3% of the cap…

    When we realize and ALLOW for Jimmy to be what he is, a WR/TE hybrid, it all works out… He fought for WR money when Franchise tagged in New Orleans because he played as much WR as TE…

    So if we adapt to Rob’s simple term of “Pass Catchers” we can see that adding a TE with the overall skills of a Martellus Bennett for $5.1 million is actually a small thing. If you put half of Jimmy’s pay into WR, and half into TE, we have ZERO problem taking on Martellus.

    That’s spending $6.171 million on TE before adding Martellus.

    That also means we would only be spending $6-7 million or so on WR. We are a defensive based team, so this all adds up to very little. IMO

    We have to help Russell Wilson. He needs targets and protection. I don’t see a better way than adding a good inline blocker like Martellus who can also catch plenty of passes when needed. Getting him makes sure we don’t rush our Ferrari out of the garage before it is ready(Jimmy)… We would be a seriously difficult team to defend is Russell plays quick like he did the second half of the season with Jimmy, Martellus, Rawls and WiLLson on the field together!

    Cheers Everyone!! Thanks Rob!

    • EranUngar says:

      Hmmm….we can also call him an inline blocker and calculate his cost within the OL.

      And, he’ll still be a TE we will not sign. If we need pass catchers to replace Kearse, i’d suggest a WR.

    • franks says:

      That’s true, and of Jimmy s back and healthy next year, maybe there are better tight end options in that draft.

      • David says:

        It seems less about what the Hawks pay pass catchers as a pct of overall cap and more to do with the fact that they have ~$18m in cap space with Okung, Kearse, Irvin, Lane, Mebane, Rubin, Sweezy and Tjack all needing to be re-signed or replaced, not to mention the OLine.

  27. SeventiesHawksFan says:

    The Seahawk’s negotiating position with Okung is that Gilliam is ideal for his position, so they are in position find a RT via the draft or FA. And there are likely 2 to 3 OT prospects who will be available at their pick. I still think Okung is as good as gone. And I’d expect the FO to make a run at Rubin, Lane and Irvin in that order before they re-sign Okung.

    • mishima says:

      I’d much rather start Gilliam at LT than Okung. Needs, in order of importance: RT, C, LG.

      • Michael M. says:

        So if you can only replace one of Lewis or Britt, you’re choosing Lewis?

        • mishima says:

          Undecided. No choice but to draft an OT, early. Britt offers versatility at OG and OT; Lewis, average play at C. Need a C to anchor/quarterback the line for years; thinking it’s the fastest way to develop consistency AND cohesion.

          Little cash and no guarantees in draft and free agency, so it might take some time.

          • 75franks says:

            Britt offers versatility at OG and OT

            its not versatility when you are a liability at both positions britt should be on the bench or gone.

          • hawkdawg says:

            Britt is bad at both. That is “versatility” of a type we don’t need. He should be on the bench until or unless he becomes MUCH more consistent, because at times he can look decent. I’m not convinced he has the athleticism to ever get consistent, but in any event he is not a starter on a good OL right now.

  28. rowdy says:

    Instead of Bennett, how about Scott chandler? Decent te and would be cap friendly and was released. He was waived with an injury designation so that would have to checked out. Could dill for grahm til healthy and be cut with little dead money.

    • lil'stink says:

      With Graham out TE is definitely not a strong position group for us. That said, we are probably looking for someone who projects to be a 3rd string TE who could be cut in the event that JG comes back in 2016. I think a vet minimum sort of guy is the way to go. I would like to see Chase Coffman come back and be given a chance to compete in camp.

      Of course, as someone on the Brandon Cottom hype train I would love it if he were able to get some 3rd string TE snaps.

      Not all our position groups can be elite. I think that adding anything more than a vet minimum player or draft pick/UDFA to TE is how you can risk stretching yourself too thin.

  29. Volume12 says:

    Rob, we got any film or anything on Vandy EDGE (?) Stephen Weatherly? As we know, this dude is an absolute freak!

    Can’t wait to break this guy down. So full of potential. That size and length combo is salivating.

    • Jarhead says:

      Wow. Pretty solid analysis. I have my opinion in Ifedi, and measurables are great, sure. His tape has some okay spots. But I wonder if the guy can play good football at the higest level. Hopefully some balanced analysis will spark some consideration. That post gives some food for thought

    • franks says:

      At long last, a breakdown of ifedis tape. Thanks for sharing.

      I agree with Nate Dog to an extent but I think he’s worth a late first rounder easily. But is he a unique opportunity for that pick? I think Yes, but only because it’s our pick and our line is so far away from every other position on the team, and there are big stakes this year, home field advantage, Superbowl, more playoff games against good D ends.

      • franks says:

        That said, would I prefer Coleman, who’s polished, tough, experienced and not only balanced, but better than Ifedi right now at run blocking and pass blocking? You bet I would. The SBs right on our doorstep, Ifedi the All Pro is a pie in the sky and Ifedi the rookie is learning on the job.

        • EranUngar says:

          I’m with you on that franks.

          A very smart Englishman taught me the the Seahawks like to draft LTs for their offensive line . The reason was that if you could not beat the guy playing LT on your college team, you are not good enough or competitive enough.

          I’ll take a LT ready to play on day one over a RT project that needs to learn ZBS and correct his own technique at the same time. I’m sure his college coaches noticed those issues and tried to improve them. After 3 years, he can’t be the world’s fastest learner….and we do not pick red shirts in the first round (said same Englishman…)

          • Volume12 says:

            Why is Ifedi a project, but not Shon Coleman?

            Auburn is one of the hardest O-lines to transition from and evaluate because it’s just plain odd.

            • Rob Staton says:

              Personally, I think the complaints over Ifeid are overstated. It feels like a lack of hype and the fact he didn’t win the LT job has led to people coming down on hard on him.

              Like every OT entering the league he’ll have to learn a new system and technique. Yet his physical skill set gives him the opportunity to handle that transition better than most rookies.

            • CHawk Talker Eric says:

              Pretty much all the scouting reports I’ve read on Coleman think he needs a season or two before he’s truly NFL ready (pretty much like every other prospect except for the outliers).

              The thing about Coleman is his attitude/ethic. Maybe that comes from fighting cancer, or maybe it’s just highlighted by that. Either way, Coleman demonstrates that ‘Seahawky’ attitude we talk about so much on every play. His teammates (Carl Lawson in particular) say he practices the same way, that his work ethic is unequaled.

              Not saying Ifedi lacks this, don’t know one way or the other. But with Coleman, it’s immediately obvious.

              • Volume12 says:

                I completely agree about Coleman’s attitude, edge, whatever people wanna call it, but there’s no such thing as an O-lineman that’s just gonna slide in without his technique or skill set getting coached up, and learning or adapting to his team’s style or scheme.

                Ecspecially picking at 26.

  30. Attyla the Hawk says:

    Jeron Johnson just cut by Redskins.

    Wonder if Seattle is interested in bringing him back. Was a versatile player and good ST performer who just got one of those ‘give a bro hug’ kind of deals from another team.

    • J says:

      Would he want to come back? Could be other opportunities out there where he could compete to start. That’s not going to happen here.

  31. EranUngar says:

    Also interesting – The redskins just released both Terrance Knighton and Jason Hatcher. Is it a reaction to the depth of DTs in this draft class?

    It will certainly help keeping the FA DT market under control. Good news for a team that needs to resign/draft 2 starting DTs.

    • EranUngar says:

      And…Logan Mankins retires.

      What a monster of a football player. One of toughest players to ever play the game. We sure could use someone like him right about now…

  32. reggieregg says:

    I love the idea of taking a stud playmaker at cb with our first round pick. So many balls get funneled over to that spot! The defense does not play to individual talents it is a scheme with some very amazing players but it is ultimately the scheme. I have to believe that Pete recognized the chink in the armor and is dead set on having a playmaker in that spot! Just a thought. William Jackson please!!

  33. MJ says:

    Sounds like Sweezy is a hot commodity…didn’t see that coming. Thought he had a down year this year. Looking more like Irvin, Okung, Sweezy, and Kearse are basically the longest of long shots of coming back next year. Which means…

    Seahawks are staring at SERIOUS comp picks for next year. And the fact we get to trade them?? Yikes for the rest of the league.

    I think we are looking at OL at #26, no matter what. I think it’ll be a forced pick, if the guy we want isn’t there. Also, with so many picks next year, they may be more aggressive to trade up and address the holes.

    • Attyla the Hawk says:

      I’m doubtful that the ability to trade comp picks is going to be all that impactful.

      Teams can already trade their native picks. And when talking about trades — any team is going to opt for the native pick (earlier pick) in the same round. I don’t see it much different than how it is currently.

      It could help to spend MORE draft stock to move up. Not sure that’s a good thing. Certainly Seattle isn’t likely to get MORE picks trading down.

      Seattle has been a team that traditionally ‘loses’ draft pick trades in regards to traditional stock value as we understand it. Which is ok … since we generally get to move on a lot of deals as a result. In general, I don’t see us benefiting from the ability to trade those picks. If anything, I’d see us as one of the few teams that would be ok with taking the comp pick in a round instead of the native in order to move a trade along.

      Having them as before, it prevents teams from offering those up. I see Seattle willing to part with them instead of a later round native.

      • MJ says:

        I agree with everything you said, but I think this year could be the year they get aggressive because there are 2 clear holes that NEED to be filled. This is more of a gut thing, but I wouldn’t be shocked to see them package 1 and 2 to move up for an OL.

        In R3, they could still get a guy like Feeney to fill for Irvin.

        Do I think this will happen? No. Do I think it’s impossible? Definitely not.

      • purpleneer says:

        It won’t be some gigantic effect, but the added flexibility will have a noticeable impact on the whole thing. A couple thoughts I just had that might help the effect if a bit indirectly.
        1. The clusters of comp picks being locked in has made some of the spots more clear on whether a certain guy will go in that area. Admittedly this one is a small effect because most of them are late enough that team “avoidances” by position or whatever dissipate. Related to this idea is that trades up/down sometimes won’t have to include the gap increase that is bigger because of the untradeable groups.
        2. The number of low-value picks that can be included just makes it easier to find matches to make more trades work. Having all of them tradeable also helps with this. It seems like there’s a number of times when a pair of teams want to do a deal, but just can’t find the right pieces to make the value of each side look even enough.

  34. reggieregg says:

    I’m also of the firm belief that we need to draft 2 of these dtackles not wait until the 3rd or 4th and draft one because their believed to be talent still available. What if their is a run on this superdeep class of dtackles that could make the draft play out very differently??

  35. John_s says:

    Looks like Byon Maxwell is on the trading block and Miami is interested.

    I think he counts around 9 mil against the cap but it would be nice to have him back

    • sdcoug says:

      He’d be nice but I just don’t see us interested in that contract (plus a late pick to acquire him). I think Lane is our Maxwell… homegrown, versatile, productive, young and more affordable. Just my guess at least.

  36. CHawk Talker Eric says:

    @RapSheet: #Seahawks LB Bruce Irvin has clear interest from #Jaguars & #Falcons, with many connections. But keep an eye on #AZCardinals. They like him

    Oh hell no.

  37. Trevor says:

    I don’t see the Cards having the cap space to get him if the Jags really want him. At least I sure hope not. Really don’t want to see Bruce twice a year if at all possible.

  38. reggieregg says:

    Anybody think that Okung may be blackballed for attempting to represent himself. That is a secret society that he’s trying to break up. I don’t think it’s too far fetched. What do you guys think?

    • Trevor says:

      I think it could hurt him for sure.

    • CHawk Talker Eric says:

      I don’t think team execs have any love for the ‘old boy’ agent network. If they can sign a talent that fills a need, and do so without the hassle of an intermediary agent, they’ll go for it.

      Having said that, I think Okung hurt himself going solo. Agents charge 3%, and players pay that premium, because agents are usually effective at maximizing the value of their clients. It’s not a whole lot different than trying to act as your own lawyer. Or dentist/doctor. Some things are best left to experts.

  39. Trevor says:

    I guess Loadholt restructured his deal and is staying with the Vikings.