Danielle Hunter, cap casualty targets & extending Russell Wilson

Danielle Hunter could be cut by the Vikings

Danielle Hunter could be in play for Seattle

The Seahawks have suggested in the media that they intend to add to their pass rush, perhaps in a more aggressive way than they have over the last few years.

One player not currently available, who could be, is Minnesota’s Danielle Hunter.

Per the terms of his contract, Hunter is due an $18m roster bonus on March 20th.

With the Vikings currently $20m over the cap, they need to make a significant saving somewhere.

Hunter’s cap hit in 2022 is an enormous $26.1m. It’s highly unlikely they will commit to paying him the bonus or retaining the cap hit. Cutting him over the next month is plausible because they would save $14.6m.

Either way, something’s definitely going to happen. A cut, a trade, a restructure or an extension.

He could be appealing to Seattle. He’s 28 this year, so not too old. He had a PFF grade of 80.8 in 2021 and had six sacks in seven games.

The problem is, those seven games are the only times he’s featured in the last two years. Durability is a concern — especially if you end up needing to pay him a fortune.

He is a name to monitor, though. Reports in Minnesota have suggested a cap-lowering extension is an option and Ed Donatell has already talked up Hunter’s fit in his defensive scheme.

They need to save money somehow, though. Hunter might be a cap casualty and a potential target for Seattle.

Other potential cap casualties or trade targets

A year ago Seattle traded for Gabe Jackson to avoid him being cut and entering the open market. This year, there are some potential options again.

The Bills are currently $9m over the cap. They can save $7.5m by cutting center Mitch Morse, or $8.5m by trading him. He’s approaching 30 — not too old — but only had a 63.4 PFF grade in 2021. Even so, he’s the kind of experienced center Seattle has been missing since Max Unger.

His base salary is just $6.9m so it would be a cost effective trade for Seattle. You could even sign him to an extension (he has one year left on his deal) to lower that cap hit further.

Eddie Goldman has familiarity with Sean Desai in Chicago. Once a highly rated defensive tackle, his form has dipped significantly. In 2021 he received a horrendous 39.8 PFF grade. Is it the beginning of the end or just a blip? Desai will know.

Goldman has only just turned 28. His trade value will be paltry but his base salaries of $8.8m and $8.3m for the next two years are tolerable if you still believe he’s capable of his best form.

The Packers would clearly like to keep Za’Darius Smith but they’re $42m over the cap and scrambling around to manipulate contracts for Kenny Clark and Aaron Jones to have any shot of retaining Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams.

Smith has a $27m cap hit and would save $15m if he’s cut or dealt. With only one-year left on his contract, he could also be extended.

His base salary is just $14.5m so a trade wouldn’t be costly. It’d be a one-year rental. He missed most of last season through injury but remains productive and he’s not too old at 29.

Frank Clark seems like an inevitable cut for the Chiefs. They have just $8m to play with and now have to contend with the increasing cost of Patrick Mahomes over the coming years.

Clark’s cap hit of $26m is unsustainable and cutting him saves $13.4m. He’s practically un-tradable due to his base salary rates of $19m and $20m for the next two seasons. Nobody is going to commit to that.

His PFF grade was just 54.3 in 2021 and he’s approaching 29-years-old. If he is cut — the Seahawks could do a lot worse than bring him back to Seattle, given he’s unlikely to break the bank.

Richard Sherman, NFL insider

According to Sherman on his podcast, he expects Stephon Gilmore to sign with the Seahawks or 49ers in free agency. I’m not sure if this was a sourced report or an opinion but it’s interesting.

He turns 32 in September so he’s not a long-term fix. However, after being dealt to Carolina, he still earned a PFF grade of 77.1.

In his best season (2019) he was hailed for the way he played in man coverage — something Clint Hurtt has already talked about playing more of this season.

Whether it’s to replace D.J. Reed or slot in across from him — Gilmore would be an ideal fit. It’s also possible, given his age, he might be available at a reasonable cost for a year or two.

If the Seahawks are serious about being aggressive — adding a top pass rusher and Gilmore at cornerback would be a real statement.

Time to s**t or get off the pot with Russell Wilson

The last few days have been interesting.

As we approach the combine, it feels like things are starting to ramp up. Aaron Rodgers’ decision is forthcoming. That is the first domino to fall of the NFL off-season.

What happens after that is highly unpredictable. With so many teams primed to try and mimic the Rams by acquiring a veteran quarterback — and with a bad QB draft class — this could be quite a dramatic couple of weeks.

However, the situation with Russell Wilson is positively tame at the moment.

Think back a year ago. Brandon Marshall was talking about Wilson being done in Seattle. Colin Cowherd was voicing similar things. There was the Adam Schefter tweet about the four trade destinations. The story was alive and dominating the news cycle.

It’s a huge contrast to this year.

Cowherd predicted this week Wilson will play for Seattle in 2021. Ian Rapoport told Pat McAfee today the straight forward message that without a replacement, he can’t see Seattle trading him.

Let’s go back to Cowherd. If he’s predicting Wilson stays — you can pretty much take that to the bank. He’s clearly connected to the Wilson camp. If that’s what he’s hearing, that’s what is happening in all honesty.

I suspect it’s what we’ve been saying for weeks. Carroll is 70, he’s under pressure to win now due to his age and job security after last season. There’s no obvious replacement out there. If left up to John Schneider, he might embrace a rebuild. That clearly isn’t Carroll’s mindset.

Whether the Seahawks should be letting a 70-year-old dictate their long-term vision is a question worth asking. Yet ultimately, it appears that’s the case.

Thus — there’s no point Wilson kicking up a fuss. He’ll simply make a lot of negative headlines, spoil his reputation in Seattle and for what? To return in training camp with his tail between his legs?

A lot of people take comfort in Wilson’s couched language in interviews which are a mix of ‘hoping’ to be in Seattle, expressing some interest in staying but also keeping his options open. The truth is if he was 100% bought-in and happy he’d say he is definitely staying and that’s that. He has a no-trade clause. He dictates whether he stays or goes. There’s no ‘hope’ needed.

It seems obvious to me Wilson is open to a change of scenery. You’d have to be naive to think otherwise after the last 12 months.

But if he can’t make it happen without forcing the hand of the Seahawks and making an aggressive trade request — then he has no choice but to stay.

Wilson is very image conscious. I get the sense if he leaves, he wants it to be a Matt Stafford-style departure where everyone parts as friends and Seattle continues to root from him from afar. Those situations are incredibly rare.

I’ll maintain that the only thing that I think changes this situation now is a bad free agency for Seattle. If they swing and miss in the first week of the market opening, he might decide it’s time to act. Public opinion could be sympathetic to Wilson if the Seahawks fudge this. He won’t want to waste another season.

And frankly — if they miss out on top pass rushers, suddenly a deal that presents (for example) a ton of picks and Chase Young might seem more attractive.

So basically — have a positive free agency. That’s the key. We should all hope Seattle is active for once. The consequences could be severe if not.

I’ll finish with this though. A year ago I said the Seahawks should trade him or extend him. One way or another, this drama could hang over the franchise like a dark cloud.

They tried to brush it off, embarrassingly, as a ‘media creation’ and simply insulted everyone’s intelligence. The situation has lingered and it isn’t healthy. It could easily impact Seattle’s pulling power in free agency if the situation isn’t properly resolved.

The one way to do that is to sign Wilson to a new deal in the next two weeks. That ends this, once and for all. It can also give you a chance to lower his cap hit this year and create extra money to stack the roster.

Putting your fingers in your ears and blaming the media isn’t the answer.

Trade him or extend him.

Commit to each other and make it happen. Or part ways.

From the quarterback — either be prepared to negotiate and commit, or just get on with it and request the trade.

Resolve the saga, once and for all.

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  1. Canadian Hawk


    Excellent summary as per usual.

    With respect to Bobby W – what’s your current sense as to what the Seahawks will do?
    Keep him? Cut him? Extend him?

    Obviously what happens there will have a material impact on what happens with free agency.

    • Rob Staton

      I dread to think what they’re going to do with Wagner.

      If I had to guess, extend him. And thus, just be lumbered with another bad contract.

      But as you know, I’d rather cut him. He’s well past his best. He’s become hesitant. There are some really good LB’s in this draft.

      Time to move on, get cheaper at LB and shift his money to the DL or OL.

      • Kelly Smith

        This could just be my thoughts over the past couple days listening to the local sports radio, but I think Wilson and Wagner are related. I can’t imagine cutting Wagner if we trade Wilson, if Wilson goes I feel you need to keep Wagner to keep spirits high in the locker room for 1 more year while you’re bringing in new pieces, and be a bridge gap until you get the next blue chip sense of hope, maybe it’d be the hawks way of saying, “don’t freak out we still value vets and we are not mailing it in.” If Russell stays Wagner goes or gets restructured to make space for free agents.

  2. cha

    Quick reminder that by acting decisively, the Seahawks could have landed Stephon Diggs, Yannick Ngakoue and Calais Campbell in 2020 for about what it cost them to land Jamal Adams.

    Set aside for a minute how 2020 and 2021 would have played out. Imagine having those three going into 2022.

    They have to play the next two weeks right. The coaching changes are a nice step in the right direction. But much, much more is needed.

    I’d love for them to

    -cut Bobby Wagner (gain $16.6m cap)
    -get Duane Brown on the phone right now and assess their options at LT
    -talk to Dante Fowler Jr and see where he is at
    -ask DJ Reed not to sign anything without giving them a call first

    Don’t lock any money up with RFA’s or the franchise tag

    Then strike with purpose in FA.

    -Get a pass rusher
    -See if Gilmore really is interested and sell him hard

    • Peter

      Not sure what the point of Gilmore is. Regardless of possible scheme fit this team needs to get way younger. Just a stat line without a big deep dive into the player but he is seriously slowing down. Totally on the wrong side of 30. Even if Seattle is in “win now or else mode,” i don’t see how he brings anything to that equation.

      • Rob Staton

        Not sure why you’re so down on this idea.

        Ideal scheme fit if they want to play more man. Still playing at a high level per his grade.

        Not every signing has to be a five-year deal.

        People said Von Miller and OBJ were washed.

        • Peter

          I’m worried that with back to back years of missed time he’s a piece and not a replacement. His grade is good but that’s for half a season. I don’t dislike him but I think they would still be looking for a full time starter.

          • Rob Staton

            He would be a full time starter

            • Peter

              You mention Von Miller and i get people thought he was washed ( not me,) but Gilmore has only started a small handful of games in two years whereas miller has missed very little time.

              I’m open minded so maybe he just needs a fresh start. I’m not down on him. A fair veteran minimum adjacent contract i can see. But it has to be a bit cautioned if you are counting on him starting.

              • Rob Staton

                Gilmore has played in 19 games in the last two years. That’s hardly a small handful — and the reason he missed so much time this year is because he wanted out in NE or a new deal.

                • Peter


                  I always appreciate everything you do. This is just one of those times I’m not feeling it. Take chandler Jones. I wasn’t on board right away. Because of age. Yet I think i was unfairly valuing his contribution. Again maybe Gilmore just needs a new start. And have thought he was great for many years. But like has been mentioned about Diggs and age I am just worried he will. E trending down and wouldn’t be a starter. I didn’t mean games played i meant games started according to “sports reference.” There he is listed as only starting a handful of the games played. He played very well in his games overall. For a fair price: 3 yrs/9 million 5 guaranteed I’d be into it. But would not be comfortable counting on him as a starter.

    • Big Mike

      You’re first paragraph was utterly depressing cha and once again illustrates how poorly they’ve handled roster construction. Not a complaint about your post, just a statement.

      • TomLPDX

        Well, let’s hope they’ve seen the light and will do the correct thing moving forward…but I won’t hold my breath.

        • Big Mike

          Not unless they cut Wagner. I have little hope Tom.

          • MychestisBeastmode

            I always have hope. And yes, I agree it seems like cutting Wagner will be the rubric for how serious they are in competing at a championship level in the nearest future. If they keep him they are wasting valuable cap resources and also feels like they’d be wasting another season.

            With Wagz money you could sign the best at nearly any position or 2to 3 good-not-great players at multiple spots. It’s business. It’s shitty. And it must be done if we want to maximize our chances at a Superbowl run.

  3. Gross MaToast

    Wilson has scrubbed his social media of any mention of Seattle.

    • Gross MaToast


      • cha

        I liked how he changed his profile pic to one of him & his dad, and the Washington Commanders crowd went nuts, linking it to Virginia.

        24 hrs later he changed it to a pic of his wife & kids.

    • Peter

      Such a silly segment.

      Guess russ “forgot,” to scrub his instagram account as well.

  4. Kyle

    Thank you Rob. Your blog is fun to read all year long, but in spring each year you kick into overdrive. Just excellent daily reports and a constant stream of interesting data and informative arguments. Thank you.

    • Rob Staton


  5. Ryan Purcell

    One of the things this front office has done well is not to saddle themselves with long term expensive deals. We shall see about Adams! Some of these situations teams have found themselves in is horrible. Hopefully we can be the beneficiary this year as some teams house of cards come crashing down. Great work Rob. Thankful we’ve got a few picks this year so you can work your magic.

    • Rob Staton

      One of the things this front office has done well is not to saddle themselves with long term expensive deals. We shall see about Adams!

      Well, I’d argue Adams is already a long term expensive deal.

      And so is Bobby Wagner’s.

      • Ryan Purcell

        Wagner can be cut for next to nothing so he won’t hurt us too badly even though we will miss him when he’s gone. Adams – I guess we will have to wait and see if he underperforms. (continues too?) I’m hopeful. But not too hopeful. And that can be the trouble with big swings. Sometimes you miss.

      • Palatypus

        Rob, how would you feel about retaining Wagner if we landed Devontae Wyatt to play in front of him?

        • Rob Staton

          Wagner’s play has dropped so much more than people realise.

          He has become really hesitant and avoids contact at times.

          It’s time to move on. If they draft Wyatt (who will be gone before they pick anyway) then let him disrupt for a younger, more aggressive (and cheaper) linebacker.

          • Palatypus

            That’s what I thought you would say.

          • CHaquesFan

            It’s sad because Wagner’s prime years were also used going nowhere

  6. BobbyK

    Looks like there’s going to be plenty of options to fix the pass rush without depending on the draft.

    Chandler Jones – I like him, but I don’t like his age (older than BWagz) and giving big money and/or long term contracts to old players.

    Danielle Hunter – My favorite guy, when healthy, of the bunch. Still only 28. This guy is a dominant pass rusher AND run stuffer. That being said – nobody rags on Chris Carson and his “health” more than me and while giving big money to this guy would be exciting – the injury risk is too much to bear for me.

    I’d love the two guys above, but not for more than I know what others will pay for them. Giving big money to old guys and/or injury prone guys is a risk I wouldn’t be willing to take.

    Frank Clark – My favorite of the three, though I think he’s the worst of them. Not as old as Jones, not the injury risk of Hunter. I’d be happy with a pass rushing trio of Clark, Dunlap, and Taylor next year. Then there’s always Robinson (who they can say they’ll play but leave him for depth for the most part).

    Interior DL still needs major improvement. I’m okay resigning Al Woods to a 1-year run stuffing contract, but I never want to see that guy on the field when it’s 2nd and 11 or 3rd and 5.

    I’m fine with Poona Ford but I’m not fine with him playing 63% of the snaps again. When the Seahawks were are their best, both Bennett and Avril barely played in 50% of snaps during the ’13 season. Poona needs to be a 50-55% guy.

    Not sure what they’ll do with Mone, but whether they tender him or not – they need a Clark/Hunter/Jones type addition there (a DT version and guy who can get to the QB from the interior). If they go with a Frank Clark on the edge, I would assume they’d draft a DT such as Travis Jones.

    I think Gillmore would be a fine addition for band-aid Pete. And if Pete’s band-aids won a Super Bowl, none of us will care. We’ll take it. And be appreciative.

  7. BobbyK

    It’s funny how things come full circle.

    Pete’s first year he traded Darryl Tapp and Josh Wilson for future draft picks (got Clem in the Tapp deal, too). He had a plan and a long-term vision. I hated the Wilson trade because I thought he was a great nickel. Pete and John made all kinds of moves like that with long-term thinking.

    Now they are the team trading a 5th round pick for Gabe Jackson (opposite of the Josh Wilson trade) and applying band-aids with no forward thinking.

    It was such an optimistic time in the first scenario when they were building something, now these band-aids are just that and it’s obviously been tearing things down in the grand scheme of things.

  8. Ashish

    How about James Corner RB as a backup/starting RB?

    • BobbyK

      As far as I’m concerned, if they resign Penny, they absolutely must draft a quality RB, too. With Penny’s injury history, they can’t afford a second rate (yet solid) RB as their back up. If they had a durable RB like Marshawn was or Jonathan Taylor today, then you can afford to go into a season with a second rate type guy as your backup. But with someone as fragile as Penny on a team that wants to run the ball as badly as Pete does – it’d be unforgivable to go into a season with a clown show at RB if their brittle starter were to get hurt, imo.

      • Ashish

        I don’t feel Homer and Dallas contributed enough for 53 spot. Homer is more for pass protection which Corner is good. Corner can also play all downs thus real backup for Penny.

  9. Blitzy the Clown

    I get Mitch Morse is better than anything Seattle currently have, but trading for him instead of being aggressive in FA for Allen or Jones or Jensen would be just a repeat of how they “improved” the OL last year with Gabe Jackson.

    Also, I’m pretty sure they could work one of the FA’s contract so it has a lower cap hit next year than Morse’s $6.9m.

    I’ll be very disappointed and underwhelmed if Mitch Morse is the big veteran OL addition this offseason.

    • BobbyK

      I’d tend to agree although I still like Morse more than Gabe Jackson. That was such a stupid trade. They give a 5th rounder for a guy who was going to get cut and give him about $22 million over 3 years.

  10. Paul

    From a business perspective, I doubt that Wilson is interested in an extension unless it is on his terms. With career earnings of $180M, he’s not incurring much added risk by waiting, whereas he would be giving up leverage by signing now. If I’m him and the Seahawks approach me about an extension, I want the annual salary to be based on my estimate of the market, I want some assurance that that a renegotiation will trigger in 2024 if I’m not the highest-paid QB, and I want more than the usual 50% guarantee at signing. Otherwise, I’m happy to play in 2022 under my current deal.

  11. Andy J

    Extending RW3 is not an option if he is unwilling to sign a new deal. I’m sorry, but (imho) Russell sees free agency looming. It’s his only option for determining his own destination.

    • Rob Staton

      But he won’t get to free agency.

      They will franchise him after the final two years of his deal. Possibly twice. So free agency in the year he turns 38? Not much of an ambition.

      And he has a no-trade clause so he already has some control.

      Money talks. As does a proper plan, co-operation, give-and-take.

      • Big Mike

        “proper plan”? Difficult to grasp as a Seahawks fan when any plan at all seems to be a foreign concept to these people.

  12. Cortez Kennedy

    Extend him and use the savings to sign an extra FA, or upgrade to a higher quality free agent. Makes all the sense in the world, both this year and last year. Idk, I’m done trying to guess what these guys are going to do. I expect more of the tepid same.

  13. swedenhawk

    Seems to me that if the Seahawks want to avoid further marginalising their HOF QB, they can’t afford to sit around for players like Hunter, Smith, or even Clark get cut. The front office has taken this wait-and-see approach before and it’s not worked out. If winning now is the priority (as it should be) then it’s time to be aggressive. Extend Wilson now or trade him before FA gets going. It’s disconcerting that the front office seemingly doesn’t have a plan. Leadership vacuum, indeed.

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