It’s day 5 of NFL free agency, and its been one of the craziest free agency periods I can remember in a while. Maybe its because there are literally millions of 12th men/women now, and people are overreacting to every little transaction and rumor that exists.
One thing I gotta get off my chest: Don’t diss (do we still use that word?) any players just because they went somewhere else to make money. Football is a business and these guys risk their lives just to hopefully make a few million bucks before their short, 4 year career is over. I know….wah wah right? Well, all I’m sayin is these guys have a small window to make money, and I can’t blame them for wanting to take it. Besides, these guys just won us a friggin Superbowl, so cut them some slack.
As I wrote in a previous article: What’s Next? We Are Just Getting Warmed Up, I fully anticipated and expected all of these moves thus far. In fact, the only thing I was wrong about, I was pleasantly surprised. The Seahawks were able to resign FA Michael Bennett (aka Ravishing Rick Rude) to a four year, $28.5 million contract, with only the first year fully guaranteed. That’s a freakin steal and another tip in the cap to John Schneider and staff.
And then they were able to seemingly pass on Jermichael Finley (Thank God) and restructure Zach Miller’s contract (hooray!). Not that I think Miller’s a better player….okay, I do think he’s a better player. He’s got better hands, and is very tough run blocker. Miller’s problem is that he’s probably the slowest TE I’ve ever seen. On the flipside, Finley is fast and talented, but drops too many balls, doesn’t seem to be a great blocker, and the thing that stands out to me on tape is his inability to break tackles/make explosive plays.
Oh yeah and he just had major neck surgery. Peyton Manning running seam routes? No thanks.
Hawks Free Agents thus far
So the Hawks have said good bye to free agents
- Golden Tate
- Chris Maragos
- Breno Giacomini
- Clinton McDonald
- Brandon Browner
They also cut ties with
- Red Bryant,
- Sidney Rice
- Chris Clemons
- Anthony McCoy
- Tony McDaniel
It looks like they are still trying to decide what to do with
- Steven Haushka
- Kellen Davis
- Paul McQuistan
- Michael Robinson
- Walter Thurmond
- O’Brien Schofield
The Hawks have also hosted free agent players from other teams such as Jermichael Finley and Henry Melton. Melton looks like the more likely player to sign…he’s a stout defensive tackle up front who can also pass rush and who could play a role similar to Clinton McDonald last season.
The players I think we’ll miss the most:
Golden Tate: I wasn’t the biggest Tate fan. He seemed to have a snobby attitude, and didn’t seem to develop a great rapport with Russell Wilson. However, I can’t deny the guy has great work ethic, is probably the most explosive offensive player not with a last name of Harvin, and unquestionably helped this team win a Superbowl. His ability to make plays downfield will hurt us…as Harvin is not the best high ball receiver, and Doug is good, but didn’t quite have the knack like Tate did.
Chris Clemons: Clem wasn’t fully healthy all year last year, which goes to show you how talented this team really was last year….because if he was, the Seahawks would’ve had about 8 more sacks and pressures all throughout the season. He’s been a beast for the Seahawks for a long time, and I’m glad he left a champion.
Brandon Browner: I will miss Browner a lot. He wasn’t the best or fundamentally sound corner, but boy was he fun to watch. I’ve never seen a cornerback line up and just straight fight the other wide receiver before. He was amazing. He brought the team toughness and swag, and that will be a task to replace. Yes, we won without him, but the attitude he played with may have been the spark to the fire in the locker room.
Now as for the rest of the offseason, here’s how I think it’ll go:
I think and hope we resign Sidney Rice. He’s too good a player for the Hawks to just let walk into the sunset. He’s banged up, so the Hawks should be able to negotiate with him on the cheap. He’s already cost the Hawks $2.5m in dead money (meaning we’re paying him that amount this year no matter what), and I think he’ll take another $1m hopefully to resign. He’s got a good rapport with Wilson, knows the offense, and is a big target.
I guess you need a kicker to play the game right? Leaving Haushka on the table for this long has been scary, but the fact that no teams seemed to have bite may be a good sign for the Hawks. Or maybe no one cares about kickers, who knows. Either way, I think he comes back with the Hawks on a 3 year, $7.5m deal.
Michael Robinson had some interesting comments about not being sure if he was coming back to the Seahawks next season. Unfortunately for MikeRob, the market isn’t there for an aging fullback, so he’s probably going to have to come back to the Hawks for peanuts. That or retire. He’d make a great TV guy, so he’s probably weighing that decision now.
Walter Thurmond is probably gone, and I don’t think the Seahawks are going to make any serious offers at him. He was a little overhyped in the slot in my opinion, and his market value is probably higher than the Seahawks value him. Bye bye Walter.
McQuistan and Davis are gone, unless they come back on minimum salaries. Even then, don’t think they will make the roster by season opener.
So that leaves us with about $15m or so in cap room for 2014.
Here’s how I see the Hawks spending the rest of that money:
They are trying to get Henry Milton really bad…but for less than market value. I can see the Hawks offering something like $6m APY, with a sales job of letting him know he has chance to get a ring. I’d say 1 or 2 year deal around $6m per year.
After that, my guess and hope is that they re-up some of their existing players on the squad that can be extended. Earl Thomas is about to take a $5.5m cap hit next season….if the Hawks re-up on him, I can see them paying him around 10 million this season, with the future money and guarantees weighted on next year and the following years.
They would like to re-up Sherman too, but don’t think they’ll have enough money to do that, unless they work out a contract to pay him more on the backend of his career as well. Make no mistake though, they’ll do everything they can to lock up Sherman full time.
That should eat up the rest of the cap space for 2014. The best case scenario for the Seahawks this offseason, is that they lock up at least one of the guys I just mentioned. They will deal with Russell Wilson next year, and by then, hopefully, they’ll be talking about a 3-peat!
There will still be some needs after the dust settles on free agency. Not signing Finley tells me they are still looking for a big target with a big catch radius. Expect the Hawks to nab a TE or WR in the 2nd round. If local kid TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins is there, they may take a shot.
I feel they will also load up on the offensive line, and early in the draft.
On defense, I can see them picking up some big uglies up front, especially if they wind up not getting Milton. They’ll need to replace the run stoutness of Red Bryant. I doubt they go linebacker or safety because of our depth and youth at those positions, but we’ll need to get a slot cornerback to replace Thurmond. Not sure if Jeremy Lane is the answer there.
Still the same as before free agency. Best team in the league. We were destined to lose a couple key players, but those key players are not irreplaceable. With the continued development of our young superstars, Wilson, Sherman, Thomas, Wagner, Harvin and others, we are still on an upward trend to legendary mode. I do worry about locker room chemistry, as guys like Red Bryant, Sidney Rice, and Brandon Browner were real pillars in the locker room, but those mantles should be well taken by our young, fearless leaders.
Not to mention the coming emergence of guys like Christine Michael, Jessie Williams, Jordan Hill, Luke Willson, Michael Bowie, Alvin Bailey, and Derrick Coleman….we could actually see some improvements in those “gaps” we have on the team.
It’s a long way to go until day 1 of the 2014 season…just enjoy the ride.
Categories: NFL and Seahawks