Who could the Seahawks go after in free agency?

Cincy's Michael Johnson is an enticing option in free agency

Could it happen again?

Remember a year ago. We all expected a relatively quiet free agency.

Then BANG.

Percy Harvin trade. Cliff Avril signs. Michael Bennett signs.

In the space of a few days Seattle became the talk of the NFL.

And nobody expected it.

We’re unlikely to see anything quite as headline grabbing as that when the market re-opens on March 11th.

But there’s no reason why the Seahawks can’t at least be in the discussion to make a couple of very interesting moves.

With the cap growing by $10m this year, there’s unexpected relief for a Seattle team determined to keep their own free agents.

Michael Bennett is the priority, while extending Earl Thomas’ contract is a must this off-season.

But even if they’re able to achieve both of those goals, there’s no reason why they can’t be in the hunt for at least one prize addition.

Here’s why:

— $10m increase in the cap

— Nearly $3m rolled over from 2013

— Releasing Sidney Rice and Red Bryant saved $12.8m

— The possibility of cutting Chris Clemons and/or Zach Miller could free up as much as a further $12.5m

The Seahawks will have to pay $6.3m in dead money for 2014, plus they were already over the original projected cap before the rise.

You’re looking at the possibility of an estimated $17.8m (number courtesy of Spotrac) to spend without even touching the contracts of Clemons or Miller.

I think it’s unlikely Miller is cut — and Clemons remains safe for now. But restructuring both contracts is very possible.

Miller is a valuable player who does an excellent job for the Seahawks. But at the end of the day, he’s still a predominantly blocking tight end set to earn $7m. That’s off the back of an $11m season in 2013.

The franchise tag number for a tight end is set at $7.035m this year. Miller is earning a flat $7m, having made $4m MORE than the current tag total last season.

That’s an incredible level of investment.

It wouldn’t be unfair of the Seahawks to expect Miller to take a reduced salary, even if they were the ones who asked him to sign the deal back in 2011.

He isn’t going to get close to $7m on the open market. There’s surely a negotiation to be had between the two parties (probably ongoing). Perhaps they extend the length of the deal and spread the cap hit across three seasons?

Whether the contract is cut or restructured, the Seahawks stand to make a saving.

They’ll save $7.5m by cutting the 32-year-old Clemons, who’s owed $9.6m this year. It’s not unrealistic to think they could give all of that money, plus a little extra, to a younger pass rusher in free agency.

I also wouldn’t rule out the retention of a man who during the post season appeared somewhat back to his pre-injury best.

For the sake of this piece, let’s say Clemons is cut and Miller extends his contract by an extra season — spreading the $13m he’s owed into three chunks of $4.3m.

That would give you $28m to spend in free agency.

At this point it’s worth noting the cap is expected to rise above $150m by 2016.

So while some of that $28m could and should be used to keep Earl Thomas for the long haul — there’s no reason why there won’t be enough money in the future to also extend Richard Sherman ad Russell Wilson without worrying about rolling over a substantial sum of that free space.

Some of the money will go towards re-signing players.

Bennett is the prize asset this off-season and a must-keep. He can, quite rightly, point to the +$9m salaries of Clemons and Avril and argue he deserves the same value. The Seahawks can also argue those two players were effectively signed to two and three year contracts — while Bennett will likely be searching for at least four.

You can see why there might be some conflict, and I’m sure Seattle will be willing to walk away if needs be — however much they wish to keep him.

And yet I suspect there’s a middle ground that can be achieved, possibly for an average salary of around $8.5m.

If such a deal is signed, an estimated $28m in cap room becomes $19.5m.

Golden Tate is the next man up. He’s seen Riley Cooper sign a deal worth $22.5m. He’ll earn between $4.8-5.5m over the course of the deal after this year. His cap hit in 2014 is just $1.8m.

Tate should expect a better contract. Cooper’s production, albeit similar to Tate’s, really came in two prolific games last season. He’s also something of a one-season wonder.

Even so, he shouldn’t be expecting mega-bucks in comparison. A contract that pays him around $28m would appear fair. You can limit the year one hit and average it out between $5-7m per year beyond 2014.

Like Bennett, Tate may wish to test the market. But again there’s probably a middle ground that can be achieved before March 11th.

For the basis of this article let’s take $5m off the books — even if the 2014 cap hit for Tate would likely be lower.

That leaves £14.5m to spend.

Re-signing Thomas doesn’t have to come with a major cap hike in 2014. His salary could remain at the $5.4m he’s already due via his rookie contract.

If they do end up with $14.5m to spend — why wouldn’t you at least consider a splash in free agency?

The Seahawks have never been more popular within the NFL world. All we’ve heard since the Super Bowl is how much players want to play for Pete Carroll and this franchise.

And while I appreciate they also enjoy being paid even more than playing for a particular team, it’s not like the Seahawks won’t have money to spend.

So who could they go after?

Brian Orakpo (DE, Redskins)

Jason La Canfora reported today that the Redskins are unlikely to slap the franchise tag on Orakpo. The tag number for a defensive end is $13.116 million, and $11.455 million for a linebacker.

He’ll turn 28 at the end of July so theoretically he’s hitting his prime. He had 10 sacks in 15 games last season, with 39.5 in total during his five years in Washington. He’s a three time Pro-Bowler.

There’s no doubting he’s a quality pass rusher and he rebounded statistically after missing most of the 2012 season with a torn pectoral muscle.

Why it wouldn’t happen

Orakpo would command interest from any team in the league with money to burn. His price should sky rocket quickly, and the Seahawks would need to be willing to spend big. It could cost them as much as $10-12m a year.

You’re not going to get Orakpo on a shorter term 1-3 year contract. So would you really want to commit major money and years to a player who turns 30 before the 2016 season?

Michael Johnson (DE, Bengals)

His sack totals were down in 2013 (3.5 in total) — but don’t let that fool you. Johnson had a terrific year, displaying the usual fire and brimstone we’ve come to expect from him.

He slipped in the draft five years ago due to question marks about his effort. Those questions have since been answered. Johnson has been one of the tone-setters on Cincy’s highly rated defense. He’s also a fantastic run defender, listed at 6-7 and 270lbs.

The Bengals used the franchise tag to keep him last season, after an 11.5 sack campaign in 2012.

Why it wouldn’t happen

Again, the competition for his signature could be fierce. It wouldn’t be a total shock if someone like the Atlanta Falcons made a big push, freeing up the #6 pick in the draft to spend on a left tackle.

Mike Zimmer — now in Minnesota — could go back for his former project. Especially if Jared Allen walks.

Johnson’s run defense would likely appeal to the Seahawks after releasing Red Bryant. It could allow them to start Bennett and Johnson at end in four man fronts on early downs.

Jared Allen (DE, Vikings)

I don’t buy all this talk of a decline with Allen. If there’s one player in the league who’s going to keep going for a few more years yet — it’s this guy.

He’ll turn 32 in April, so any contract is likely to be short term. It’s also unlikely to be financially motivated, considering he earned every penny of a $73m contract in Minnesota.

This is exactly the kind of move I could envisage the Seahawks making. Allen plays a ton of snaps and always brings an intensity to the field. He’s a terrific character, familiar with some of the people in Seattle’s locker room (Darrell Bevell, Percy Harvin).

He had 11.5 sacks in 2013 on a bad Vikings outfit. He had 12 sacks the year before, and 22 sacks in 2011. Even at 32, imagine what he could do playing opposite Bennett and Avril.

Why it wouldn’t happen

The Seahawks are mostly a youth movement. They want to have a young roster. Just because I think Allen has at least another couple of years to go, doesn’t mean Seattle’s front office feels the same way.

I just wonder if the Vikings might make a push to keep him. They’ve appointed a defensive minded coach in Mike Zimmer and he’ll be keen to keep his best pass rusher. They have enough holes to fill without adding another. They’re projected to have $37m in cap room so could re-sign Allen and go after Michael Johnson.

Whether he has any interest in staying remains to be seen. They’re likely to be a team going through a minor rebuild. His window of opportunity is dwindling if he wants to win a Championship. Signing a two-year deal in Seattle or with another contender gives him a better shot at that elusive ring.

Arthur Jones (DE, Baltimore)

Excellent run-stuffing defensive lineman who played end in Baltimore but could play in multiple spots for the Seahawks. He’s also capable of making plays in the passing game, recording 8.5 sacks in the last two seasons.

Seattle’s run defense took a hit with Red Bryant’s departure and even if they don’t bring in another 320lbs monster, they’re likely to address the situation one way or another. Jones is 6-3 and 315lbs and could play the five technique in Seattle.

He’s the type of player this team likes — big, with length. He has 35 and 1/4 inch arms. He wouldn’t just make up for the loss of Bryant, he could be even more disruptive.

Why it wouldn’t happen

It’s hard to judge Jones’ true worth. On the one hand, he could end up being an absolute bargain. If his market is relatively cold to begin with, it works to the advantage of a team like Seattle if they have interest.

On the other hand, there’s just as much chance he gets overpaid. Bryant received a big old contract in 2011 — and teams might be wiling to pay Jones $7-8m a year to do a similar job.

In that scenario, the Seahawks might be better off walking away.

Lamarr Houston (DE, Oakland)

I’ve always liked Houston, right back to his Texas days. He was a deserved early second round pick in 2010 and he hasn’t disappointed with the Raiders.

He notched 10 sacks in the last two seasons playing for a miserable team. He’s a ball of energy with decent size (6-3, 300lbs). He’s not as long as Seattle likes (33 inch arms), but he is a solid pass rusher.

If another former Raider in Desmond Bryant is worth a $34m contract, Houston’s going to get paid this off-season.

Why it wouldn’t happen

Oakland are slated to have more cap room than any other team in the league (close to $70m). Even a franchise known for titanic gaffe’s over the years is unlikely to let this one slip through the net.

Houston doesn’t have to accept the contract, of course, but the Raiders need to make sure they don’t lose any existing talent. He’s one of their best players and they can’t afford to let him walk.

The Seahawks found effective interior players in Clinton McDonald and Tony McDaniel without spending big money. Houston projects as a three technique in Seattle, and I’m not convinced that’s an area they’ll want to spend big.

B.J. Raji (DE, Green Bay)

Originally drafted as a nose tackle, Raji eventually moved to end in Green Bay. He’s had a couple of slow years, failing to pick up a single sack since 2011. He had 9.5 between 2010-11.

At one point he threatened to become one of the top big men in the league, yet for whatever reason he’s failed to deliver on that promise. The Packers aren’t huge spenders unless you’re Aaron Rodgers and they’ve let other free agents walk in the past.

Raji can expect a decent pay day on name-reputation alone, probably more than the Packers are willing to cough up.

Why it wouldn’t happen

He’ll probably get overpaid. Teams trying to establish a 3-4 defense will consider moving him back to the nose. He’s still a genuinely rare player with enormous size (337lbs) and quick feet.

I don’t anticipate the Seahawks paying big for a player with this size. Splashing out on an edge rusher just seems more likely.

Henry Melton (DT, Chicago)

Before a torn ACL cut short his 2013 season, Melton had established himself as one of the top interior pass rushers in the league.

A former running back at Texas, the 27-year-old excelled after switching to defense. He recorded 13 sacks between 2011-12, but only played in three games last season.

Without Melton the Bears defense collapsed. It wasn’t all down to his absence of course — the secondary was poor and Julius Peppers is starting to decline. It had a major impact though — and there’s a reason Chicago tagged him a year ago.

Why it wouldn’t happen

First of all, you need to do a medical check. Is he going to be an injury risk in the future?

Secondly, will the injury have any negative impact on his speed and is he expecting a contract to go with his 2013 status? He expressed interest in staying with the Bears last year, and it’d make some sense if they were to re-sign him. They know the extent of the injury, they also don’t need to do anything to weaken that defense further.

For me this signing would be more likely if Bennett departed Seattle. Melton might be able to play a similar role as a hybrid DE/DT.

What? You only picked defensive linemen!

It’s pretty simple really.

I hate the options on offense.

I’ve no interest in Hakeem Nicks or any of the receivers not named Golden Tate. The draft is too good at wide-out to even warrant considering a low-ball offer to any of these guys.

I’m talking about a big splash here. Would you want to pay any of these receivers £8m in free agency?

Not me.

Plus the defensive options will be limited at #32 in the draft, so it just makes sense to invest any free money on the D-line. It allows you to go after the O-line and receiver in the draft.

Out of all the names listed, I think the most likely player they’re willing to spend $7-8m on will be Michael Johnson.

I think the player they’re most likely to add is Jared Allen. But then I can also see them deciding just to keep Clemons instead.

Alternatively, they could save the money and reward Richard Sherman with a nice new contract this year. It’s worth considering.

Yet there’s something tantalising about the prospect of this Seahawks roster — and in particular the defense — being even better next year.

Think about what that might look like, and tell me you wouldn’t be keeping your options open in free agency…

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  1. Andrew Kelly

    What would you think of the possibility of outbidding New Orleans for Jimmy Graham? Even if the cost is giving up our next two firsts and giving Graham around $10 MM per season

    • Rob Staton

      I think Graham would struggle to get close to the same production in Seattle. He’s a perfect fit for a prolific passing offense like New Orleans’. Plus he’s an atrocious blocker. It wouldn’t be worth blowing two first rounders IMO.

      • Cade

        Also It would be weird to cheer against a guy on my own team

      • Andrew Kelly

        Generally I agree. It’s just hard to not consider rosterbating a little about adding another superstar to this roster.

      • monkey

        I agree Rob, Graham would be a nearly complete waste here in my opinion, he just doesn’t fit what we do at all.
        His blocking really is THAT bad, when he’s in the game, it’s almost a guarantee it’s a pass.
        To be honest, I think the guy all but disappears in big games as well. I personally think he plays soft. Not a fan of Graham…the production is terrific, but how much of that is a result of the way that he is used (coaching) and how much of that is because of Drew Brees?
        Coaching and Qb play have more than just a little to do with Graham’s success. If he played a system where he was regularly required to be a part of the running game (as he would in Seattle) he would be FAR less effective, and not remotely worth what the Seahawks would have to give up to get him.

    • kevin mullen

      Jimmy Graham has no street cred, big puss in the eyes of the ‘Hawks. Remember that old adage, I think Bruce Irvin said it, “Who’s Jimmy?”

  2. red

    Hi Rob

    What do you think about FA TE Gerret Graham and Scott Chandler if we were to cut Miller what do you think these TE go for on open market 2 mil a year hard to gauge the FA TE market.

    • Rob Staton

      Graham missed a great chance to prove himself in 2013 — had an underwhelming season. Chandler I actually quite like but it’d have to be at a bargain price if we’re cutting Miller to go after him.

  3. Jon

    I believe your numbers are off by about 7-8 m as far as our cap. right now with the cuts of Rice and Bryant we are sitting at around 17-18m in cap space.
    133 cap + 3 roll over = 136.
    Top 51 contracts is at 111 + 6-7 m dead = 118 +-)
    This leaves 18 m cap space

    Before cutting Rice and Bryant we were over 2013 cap (123m) in 2014 by about 6 m which means that even though the cap grew 10 m this year we had allready planned to spend the first 6 m of that money. We are still in fine shape but not such a crazy amount that you have suggested perhaps.

    • Rob Staton

      I have adjusted the numbers. Thanks for the note, Jon.

      • Jon


  4. red

    Hi Rob

    I have been playing around on the over the cap calculator on the site over the cap and it says if you cut Miller June 1st the seahawks save another million against the cap. So the dead money would be only 1 million you know anything about this?

    • Rob Staton

      I believe that is true.

    • Jon

      It is true, but it simply pushes that extra million to next years cap. In the world of cap roll over it is not such a big deal as that money comes off the books whether this year or next.

      • Bryan C

        True, but the $1M this year rolling into next year could potentially hit in later years when Wilson, ET3 and Sherman’s new contracts also hit. The rising salary cap over the next 3 years has to be hell on the cap managers trying to project the impact of deals upon the future.

        One thing no one has really discussed so far is the 89% floor that is going to force some teams to spend like crazy to meet the floor over the 3 year average. This will likely cause a huge spike in franchise tags within 3 years. That could be a driver for teams to sign extended deals now and even add a year vice having to potentially use the tag to retain a player in the future.

  5. Milwaukee hawk

    It’s also possible that Clemens gets renegotiated, adding a year onto his current contract and splitting the salary. Since his cap number is ~9.7 mil now, we would gain 7.5 mil by cutting him with ~2.2 in dead money. With that split over two years, a 4.8 mil salary seems reasonable for him. I don’t think he could get that on the open market

    • Milwaukee hawk


  6. Madmark

    I guess you must have seen my last comment in your last article, Rob. I like to thank you. I tend to write more as an opinion than in asking questions for comments. Totally my fault. I got to say I think Minnesota will only sign one of there FA and that will probably be a younger Griffin. I’m all in for a Jared Allen after seeing an article where Seattle ask about him. B.J. Raji escape my look thru because I saw him as a nose tackle maybe that’s my mistake. WR is too expensive FA and with such a talented college group there is plenty of opportunities in the 2nd round to pickup another Rice. I’m still going to consider an offensive lineman for 32. I’m still working out my draft but I’m sure it will continue to be a OL at 32 . Zack Martin ,Ya, Xavier Su’a-Filo,Ya, or a Joel Bitonio who I think is perfect to fill in for McQuinstan my unsung hero for Seattle. Don’t think that I’m not still looking at DL because I wouldn’t mind getting a Justin Ellis in the 4th or in the 5th with our Oakland pick since he trimed his weight down to 334 since the East-West Shrine game. If Jesse Williams isn’t ready to preform then this guy will be ready to push the competition..

    • CC

      Mad – I agree with you, I think this is a really deep OL draft, but I’m looking at a few of the OT with 32. Moses, JuWuan James, are a couple of guys I like – James played opposite Tiny Richardson and hasn’t got the same hype, but he could be a good RT if we lose Breno. If you’ve looked at any OT spots, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

      • Madmark

        One thing about the offensive line it has to move as a unit in the ZBS. Maintaining the same lineman for a few years I believe helps with consistence. I’m all in for bringing Breno back but signing another OL in FA I think would cost to much. I think its just easier for Cable to train a new draft pick than it is to train an old dog a new trick.

  7. Darrell

    Don’t forget to budget 7-8M for IRs, practice squad, and injury settlements.

    • Rob Staton

      You need to budget around $3.5M for IR by the time you get into camp, but that’s something we can consider down the line.

      • Darrell

        That’s really not enough for all the over and aboves. If they had only set aside that much last year, they wouldn’t have made it.

  8. BChawk

    Under Miller’s contract he will make $6m this year not $7m which is his cap hit. Likewise last year he made $10m not $11m.
    Clemons is under contract for $7.5m this year with a cap hit of $9.7m

    • Rob Staton

      When I say ‘earn’ it’s really just a way of expressing the impact it has on Seattle, not how much they actually pocket. I’m always talking about cap hit.

      • BChawk

        Ya with the dead money it makes salary and cap space pretty complicated. However I would suggest clarifying for your readers as most people don’t understand it when you say Miller cost us $7m. Most other bloggers use the same terminology and most? readers misinterpret.
        In this case you infer that Miller would have to get a team to pay him $7m in FA to match his current contract. To match he only need to get a $6m offer which is still unlikely but a lot more likely than $7m. $5m seems conceivable to me. Miller at $6m is on the high side but a contract we can live with were a $7m contract falls more on the side of we need to do something about it.

        Furthermore if we cut Miller the total cap savings is the same as his salary $6m. We save $4m in 2014, $1m in each of 2015 and 2016.
        $7m is the cap hit this year if we keep him but we are taking the extra $1m dead money cap hit from his signing bonus whether we cut him or not.

  9. Gramsci

    How about Linval Joseph as a big 3-tech? He is only 25 years old, he can stop the run and collapse the pocket.

    • Rob Staton

      Good player, nice size. I think he’ll get paid, but not by Seattle.

  10. Cade

    I trust the FO to make the right calls.

    Personally I think it is wise to extend contracts of stars sooner than later. Every year star player salary costs are inflating at a crazy rate. Economically it makes sense to lock in a deal at a lower cost for guys who you don’t need to prove anything.

    I would like to see Clem and Miller cut. Love those guys and they do so much for the team but I think 85% of their production can be replaced at 20% or less the cost. Be good to bring in younger guys who can be developed.. perhaps poorly utilized players that will do most what we want from Clem or Miller better than they do.

    Consider that Millers biggest contribution is on blocking. Alvin Bailey has been acting as a extra blocker inplace of the TE for some snaps. Also we can pick up an undervalued TE who specializes in blocking and pass the ball to Willson when we need a pass catching TE threat.

    Honestly I think Avril, Bennett, Howard, Hill combo is enough pass rushers. Then we have a wildcard in Irvin, Mayowa and Schofield if they keep him. Who knows who we get in the draft.

    • Michael M.

      Who is Howard?

      • Jarhead

        I think he may be referring to Jaye Howard, 4th Rd DT from UF back in 2012. Although I’m not even entirely certain he is on the active roster anymore

        • Cameron

          He’s not on the team. Was picked up by the Chiefs, I think.

    • Cade

      Sorry Said Howard meant Scruggs

  11. YDB

    A possible bargain for a base 5T may be Tyson Jackson (kc). He has never lived up to his status as a high draft pick and is seen by many as a bust in KC. Although he has never realized his potential as a pass rusher, he has become quite good as a run stuffer. If he could be brought in on a cheap, prove it contract then he may prove quite productive in that role here in Seattle.

    Of course, he does still carry with him the stench of the 09 draft…so there’s that.

  12. kevin mullen

    I would only go for Michael Johnson should Bennett cut talks with JS/PC, but that could be a narrow window. Having both? I couldn’t even fathom how JS could cook that up, plus DQ would be have an erection at start of training camp.

    If, say Demarcus Ware was available, man I’d love for him to be that LEO candidate. I think he absolutely could be the ideal LEO that Kiffin envisioned but never came to fruition. Dallas lacked the talent on the DLine (defense overall), but if he were line up with our guys, I think he’d make more of an impact in the 4-3 scheme then he did at Dallas.

  13. CC

    Thanks Rob – great stuff as always!

    I agree with you on offense – unlikely there is anyone that is Seahawky around. I think we’ll see less FA pickups because the FO will do some extending the next few years.

    Thoughts on Russell Okung? 2 years ago he was unstoppable, last year well, not – and I know he was hurt. But do you think he’s going to get better if healthy, or is he on the decline? I want him to be at LT for years but I’m a bit concerned since he’s been oft injured.

    • Ben2

      That’s one reason I could see us going tackle in the draft….especially that guy out of Nevada Rob highlighted earlier. Could be an upgrade at LG immediately and potentially replace Okung if necessary…or play RT if we don’t end up resigning the Big Russian….Options and flexibility, on the field and with the cap!

      • CC

        I like JuWuan James at Tennessee RT – played opposite of Tiny Richardson and a guy Rob already has been on Morgan Moses – I wouldn’t mind a OT at 32 such a deep draft.

    • Cha

      I was thinking about Okung too CC, especially with his $11m cap hit in 2014. An extension could also help with the cap this year but with his injury history starting to pile up, the Hawks probably just have to sit on that number and see how he plays the next couple years. In the meantime, focus on developing a tackle behind him either in this years draft or with Bailey.

      PC said something about how the Hawks haven’t decided whether to operate on Okung’s toe that was a problem in 2013 yet. I trust the doctors but always annoys me a little when things like this seem to lag from an outsider’s perspective. It would be nice if this would be cleared up sooner rather than later so can participate in all the OTA’s.

    • Rob Staton

      I think if he can stay healthy he’s a Pro Bowler. It’s been a big ‘if’ throughout his career though.

      • RadMan

        It seems to me that a swing tackle is a really nice option for this draft. Potentially start in place of Breno and/or replace Okung if needed, and compete with carp. I don’t know if that guy exists in this draft at 32 or later but it’s not hard to imagine an interest in a young player who could fill those roles. I imagine Bailey and Bowie give some security there. But I do wonder if they see those guys as depth rather than long term starters.

        I am curious to see how free agency treats Breno. I would not be a bit surprised if he gets a price the hawks won’t want to match. This is perhaps his last, best, payday and I’m not sure the hawks should be the ones signing his checks. Should be interesting.

        • RJ

          I agree, Tackle is our biggest need, even more so than the big receiver we know Pete covets. We have to get someone who can play LT. I think the trauma caused by Okung going down last year will be fresh in everyone’s mind. No more McQuinsten types playing LT. That one move derailed our whole offense last year for significant part of the season. We were lucky to be able to weather it like we did. It’s a deep class, we should be able to still get a WR with our 2nd. That’s my 2c.

          • CC

            Well said!

            • RadMan

              Well, I think the Hawks should be going for best player available in almost all positions. A swing tackle is nice and a high priority but if they feel the best player on the board is a TE, a DT, a WR or whatever, that should be their move. None of their needs seem urgent enough to reach for any position. I think we all basically agree on that. I think the way the draft and FA unfolds will dictate how they approach their pick.

          • Robert

            Assuming we do not draft an early round tackle prospect, we would be in much better shape this year if Okung went down. Bailey is much better than the unathletic McQ. Bailey and Bowie got a lot of experience last year. They will both probably challenge for snaps this year.

  14. Ben2

    I can’t wait for free agency to kick off…I’m really curious to see how the market plays out. Johnson’s length is so appealing! It’s like Tony McDaniel and Clemons got combined into one player!

    • CC

      McDaniel and McDonald both did such a good job in their reps – we’ll need to pick up some journeyman DL at some point.

      • Robert

        Not a proven player yet, but Jordan Hill is probably a cheaper player with similar production to McDonald. McDaniels seems harder to replace. We do not currently have anyone else on the roster with his length, which seems to be the desired prerequisite at 3T. I hope we can keep him or draft Tuitt. Tuitt seems like a good fit and great value if he’s available at #32. He likely would have been a top 15 pick with his 2012 numbers…

        • Kory

          We can always bring him back. I doubt his number is going to be more then 2-2.5 million a year.

  15. Rock

    I do not see any DL’s available in free agency that are better than the ones we have got. I expect Clemons to bounce back and have a big year. I would do all I can to hang onto the McD’s. Then there is the depth that we redshirted. After a Super Bowl, it would be disheartening to give the big contracts to somebody else’s guys. Restructure if we must, but hang on to everybody possible. Make the other teams catch up to us.

    i do not agree with your assessment of Miller. He is a fine passing target. We chose not to use him as much in the passing game as Oakland did. Replacing him would require two guys. You just do not find many TE’s that can both block and provide a receiving threat when needed. His contract is looking like a bargain for all he can do. Of Tate, Clemons and Miller, I would keep Miller if I had to pick just one.

    IMO, the surprise we make in free agency this year is that we do not pay anybody big bucks.

    • Rob Staton

      I didn’t say he was a bad passing target in fairness Rock. I said he’s a predominantly blocking tight end. Whether that’s because of the way Seattle uses him or not, it’s still true in this system.

      And I don’t think anyone can call it a bargain contract. He was the highest cap hit on the team last year.

    • Matt

      I agree with you about Miller being the less expendable player between him, Clem and Tate. He’s not worth what he’s getting paid, but the lack of quality replacements available is a big factor in paying him. Miller is the right fit for our scheme and does not complain at all about being a blocking TE, where his skill set is only half being utilized. The fact that he is a threat to catch passes is why he’s so valuable. Our run game with play action off of it is the basis of our offense, and having a player like Miller is more valuable than numbers can display.
      Restructuring Clemons should be in the cards, as the market for a player of his skill and age don’t get big money in free agency. He would be foolish to not accept a deal to restructure to stay in Seattle in an ideal scheme.
      I love Tate and his playmaking abilities, but I think he’s the most expendable player that we could lose. Our offense is predicated on the run and his skill set is redundant to Harvin. If we ran a scheme like so many other offenses now that’s pass first, second and third we should open up the pocket books to keep him. We don’t so we shouldn’t. I’m very confidant in a WR core of Harvin, Baldwin(he’ll be back), Kearse and a rookie 1rst or 2nd rounder. IMO

      • Robert

        Clemons really started to look like his old self late in the season and in the playoffs. Bad choice of words…I meant, he started to look like he did before the injury. He is a rare player in that he plays early down run plays so well. But if it’s a pass, he suddenly becomes a very effective pass rusher.

    • AlaskaHawk

      I was looking at yardage stats and found that Miller and Willson together have about as many yards as Tate or Baldwin. Should they only be getting half the pay of a top receiver? A lot of it boils down to passing schemes and how we use them. We are a run first offense. That devalues the tight end, but it also devalues Tate so maybe he isn’t worth 5 million.

      Then there is the fact that we have had terrible stats in TD conversions. Couldn’t a solid tight end give us the quick slant into the middle? But can Russell Wilson see the short middle unless the linemen part and give him that view? Maybe that is why the play isn’t used . Anyway, I don’t think Miller is worth what we are paying him, but it’s because we don’t fully use him, not because he wouldn’t be a great asset to any team.

  16. RadMan

    Is Orakpo a OLB or DE? Does he play with his hand in the dirt or is he a stand up pass rusher?

    Does it matter?

    I think Melton is a very intriguing possibility.

    I really like this model of bringing in short term peak years players and plugging them in around a core. In the meantime, developing and growing your own Dline – since that’s definitely a full grown man’s position and not typically one for under 26 year olds.

    • Madmark

      Orakpo is an OLB who stands up. His team team is currently considering putting the franchise tag on him. Waiting to see if that happens.

      • RadMan

        That’s what I thought but wasn’t sure. That might play into it a bit.

    • Arias

      The problem with the “short-term key players ” strategy is that it only works in down years.

      As far as developing their own homegrown defensive line they haven’t really been able to. That’s why they had to go out and get Avril and Bennett and trade for Clemens.

      • RadMan

        Yes. That’s the strategy to which I’m referring.

  17. Robert

    Very exciting camp this year with all the young talent simmering on our roster. I am particularly interested to see if Scruggs. Boatright, Brooks and Hill can contribute. I heard Jesse Williams knees are better, but we’ll see…

  18. Matt

    Orakpo played OLB in Washington and DE in college at Texas.
    I was really wanting Melton at this time last year. Now might be the time where we could actually get him, as Chicago’s cap situation is shaky. Maybe we could get him on a prove it deal like Bennet.
    Both players are intriguing, but I really don’t expect the Hawks to make a splash in free agency. Carroll said we are looking to keep our team in tacked the best that we can. The release of Rice and Big Red should allow us to keep the players that PC/JS want to keep. It is fun to speculate though!

  19. Matt

    Robert- like “simmering”! it rings very true! Can’t wait to see what Hill, Williams and Scruggs bring to the table! Our roster is so deep giving our young guys a chance to develop in the Dline rotation is exciting! Our draft picks last year were mostly spent on players that could contribute in year 2 and 3 of their rookie deals. Their time is coming soon!

    • Robert

      Kenneth Boatright looked dominating in college. Not the greatest 40 time, but his 7 yard time through OL and into the backfield to blow up running plays and disrupt the QB looks elite. I heard he put on 20 lbs of muscle and is now around 275. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F8aOttTDZc0

  20. Geoff U

    I keep hearing Thomas extension over Sherman this offseason, but why wouldn’t you wan’t to extend Sherman first?

    Ideally you do both, but if you had to chose one I’d pick Sherman. First of all, Sherman’s contract will be more and with rising salaries, the sooner you get it done the better a deal it’ll be long term. Also, if you had to franchise tag a player next year, wouldn’t you rather it be a safety than a corner? 3 million less.

    • AlaskaHawk

      I would want to do Thomas first as our safeties get way more tackles and hold the middle of the field against all opponents. Sherman may prove to be too expensive for our tastes. He is worth 12 million on the free market, but we got 5 secondary to pay when they get off the rookie salaries. Much as I like him, he may have priced himself out of our teams market. I also believe that PC is the best teacher for secondary players. He has proven that he can consistently train secondary players and make them awesome. So I really don’t worry if we don’t have Sherman. But we do have him for another year at 1.4 million, so why even worry about it? By end of next year we will have two crops of new rookies, and we will be busy negotiating Wilson’s pay rate.

      • Robert

        In my Seahawks fantasy, Tharold Simon develops into the next long, dominating CB. I love Sherm, but we seem to have a system for generating great CB’s. Part of it is scheme and ET patrolling deep so effectively that teams rarely take the deep shots. So if we can groom a CB to play at 85-90% of Sherm’s level, maybe we sign and trade or let him go? At some point, we will have to make hard decisions to protect the CAP. We will have to replace expensive veterans (fan favorites) with cheap, young talent.

        • Arias

          You replace expensive aging veterans like Clemens, Bryant, and Rice. You don’t cut veterans that are worth every penny and haven’t yet even enter their prime like Richard Sherman. bad idea.

          • Robert

            Maybe you missed the part where I said, “At some point…” This year, we are shifting from a team in rebuild mode to a team in maintenance mode per PCJS’s Win Forever philosophy, which they have discussed openly. During the 4 years of rebuilding, we were viewed as an undesirable destination by most free agents. So we had to pay a premium to attract guys like Rice, Miller, Clemons etc. Not anymore! Now free agents would love to come here. We are viewed as a 1st class organization that not only has a great chance to win a Superbowl, but you can have a lot of fun doing it while maximizing your value going forward. So many Free Agents would except LESS $$$ for the opportunity to come and play for the Seahawks. So my argument with the rigid winning formula in your post is that we only have a couple overpaid players left on the team now – Clemons and Miller. But with our recent success, we will be in big CAP trouble soon, probably next year. At that time, there will be no more aging veterans to cut. So my question is whether the margin of difference between RS and the next man up is worth the extra 10 million on a team that continues to generate upper tier NFL CB’s? I do not know the answer, but trust PCJS to creatively manage our CAP by infusing the roster with young, cheap talent, which is another way to say that the new kids must continually replace some of the fan favorites or the CAP math will fail and our team will regress to middling.

    • Rob Staton

      The reason I’d do Thomas now is his cap hit is already $5.5m. So you can extend his deal this year and keep the 2014 hit pretty similar, even if he averages much more in the future.

      If you extend Sherman this year, you’re turning a rookie 5th round salary into one of the best paid corners in the game. So you’re talking a major difference there and a substantial 2014 cap hit. There’d be no avoiding that unfortunately.

      If you wait until next year to re-sign Sherman, you can also give him the franchise tag if talks stall knowing a.) he’d be worth it and b.) you wouldn’t lose Earl Thomas, who’s already signed up for the long haul.

      • Geoff U

        Not exactly sure how contracts work, but couldn’t you do the same with Sherman? I mean, worst case for Sherm is basically playing next year for 1.4 mill, couldn’t you keep that basically the same then the real contract essential starts in 2015? Or is that just not feasible?

        • Rob Staton

          Possibly. But depending on the size of the deal, you run the risk of some pretty horrendous cap hits down the line.

          If he’s willing to accept a 5-year $50m contract then it wouldn’t be so bad. You’d be talking a $12m hit in four of the years. But I’m not sure if that’s the type of deal he’s looking for.

  21. Stuart

    In your case with Sherman, if he were to go, it would have to be in a trade. You absolutely cannot lose a talent like that without great compensation. I know it’s early to say this but if Sherman’s career play is like last season, he will make the Hall of Fame.

    Interesting tidbit about TE, over at Field Gulls they did a comparison of TE Miller. His closet’s comp per college measurements player was Anthony McCoy.

    • Jon

      I have a feeling that Sherm will not be extended this year, and he will likely get the franchise tag next year at something around 10-11 m. That means that he is currently on a 2 year 6 per type of deal. At the end of that tag year he will be 27. At that time he could be tagged again for about 13 m if a new deal cannot be worked out. In the case of tagging him a second time they Hawks will trade him for a 1st and 2nd like the Revis trade last year. We have two very reasonable years left with Sherm even if he does not agree to a reasonable contract.

  22. Steve Nelsen

    The loss of Red Bryant creates a job opening which will generate some hungry competition. Signing an edge rusher as a free agent might have the unexpected negative effect of dampening the competitive enthusiasm of some of the young D-linemen already “simmering” on the roster. But, if Jared Allen wants to play in Seattle, you can’t say no to that.

    I agree with the belief that Seattle already has everything it needs and will be a better team next year simply from the continued improvement of the younger players on the roster. Because I believe that, the best off-season strategy is to take advantage of the unexpected extra cap growth to lock up guys we already have (Bennett, Tate, Thomas, Sherman) and take advantage of the unusual depth in this year’s draft to replace what we lose – a big receiver, a tight-end, at least one offensive lineman, a couple defensive linemen and a cornerback.

    • Steve Nelsen

      As far as the draft goes, the back end of the first round will present a rare opportunity to get a big, fast receiver like Kelvin Benjamin or Brandon Coleman who would go in the top-20 most years but will slip this year because of the extraordinary depth in the draft. Let’s face it, we won’t be drafting in the Top 20 for a long time the way this team is set up so you can’t pass on a potential #1 WR and another playmaker for the offense. If Seattle had Harvin, Tate, Baldwin, Benjamin and Kearse, that would be a 5-deep WR corps that can match any in the league.

      The other area where the draft is deep is O-Line. A tackle who could start on the right side but has the athletic ability to potentially slide to the left side for Okung would be perfect. That kind of player is normally a first-rounder but there could be a player like that at the back end of the second round this year.

      The old axiom that you draft the best player available is especially true when your roster is stacked and when the draft is deep. There are 45 guys who could go in the first round and 75 guys who could go in the first two rounds. So, I don’t expect Seattle to pick someone with a second round grade like Bitionio in the first round. I’m more hopeful they get a playmaker with a top-20 grade at at #32 and someone with a top 45 grade at #64.

  23. Ehurd1021

    Rob what do you think about Everson Griffen?

    • Rob Staton

      Always flattered to deceive IMO.

  24. Kenny Sloth

    I’ve been really impressed by the tape of Cody Latimer. Has great hands and uses his body extremely well. A former basketball player, so his ability to catch in traffic makes sense.

    He didn’t run at the combine, but looks acceptably fast on the field. He reminds me a lot of an Anquan Boldin-lite. Shields the ball with his body and is a weapon in the red zone.

  25. MarkinSeattle

    I have to say, the idea of resigning Bennett and then signing Allen to a 2 or 3 yr deal for $5-6m per year is very appealing. With Allen, you get a guy who is a lot like Bennett, he can play DE or slip inside on passing downs. Put Allen in for McDonald on the NASCAR package, and opposing QB’s would be justifiably nervous (and the LOB would be quite happy as well).

    The benefits to Allen are two fold. First, a very good shot at a ring (or two) that he has been chasing. The salary is respectable for a player his age, as I doubt he will get that much more. The cap hit to the Hawks would be limited as well. The second benefit is that Allen wouldn’t be expected to play 100% of the downs. Between Bennett, Allen, Avril, and Clemons, most of those guys would be playing right around 60% of the snaps. That means less wear and tear on his body, he is fresher, and he can focus a little more on chasing the passer.

    I would also seriously consider cutting Clemons to pick up Allen. Not ideal, but Allen is a year or two younger, and is a more accomplished pass rushers (and is as good, or even better against the run). A straight up trade of players (with similar cap impact) would seem to point to Allen being an upgrade (especially considering that Allen is constantly double teamed, while opposing teams can’t afford to do that to Clem).

    Regardless, even if the dream scenario were to occur, I would still look at picking up an Urban/Tuitt in the first round. It would give either of those two some time to develop (a year or two), before being called upon to step in full time at DE. Everyone needs to keep in mind that even if we resign Bennett, we still have to be concerned about the DL in the next several years (especially depth as well as front line talent).

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