Tag Archives: NFL Free Agency

Thoughts on the Jimmy Graham Trade

10 Mar
The Seahawks acquired TE Jimmy Graham from the New Orleans Saints Tuesday (Photo Credit: neworleanssaints.com)

The Seahawks acquired TE Jimmy Graham from the New Orleans Saints Tuesday (Photo Credit: Michael Hebert, neworleanssaints.com)

Today’s sequence of events proves two things; that anything is possible, and that head coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider will go to any great length to improve this roster. The Seahawks were not expected to swim around the possibility of adding a big name when the new league year and free agency began on Tuesday, but they certainly made a big splash. The Seahawks traded center Max Unger and their 2015 1st round draft pick (#31 overall) to the New Orleans Saints for tight end Jimmy Graham and the Saints 4th round draft pick (#109 overall). With this one move numerous points have come to the surface that I believe must be discussed. Here are my thoughts on today’s trade.

Adding Graham: There is no question that Jimmy Graham instantly becomes the best receiver on the Seahawks roster. Graham is a three-time pro bowler and 2013 All-Pro who is a matchup nightmare for any opposing defense. For 5 years we have watched Graham and Saints quarterback Drew Brees connect for 54 total touchdowns. Only the tandem of Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski had more touchdowns in this span.

What I am not so hot on is the Seahawks inheriting Graham’s $9 million salary for 2015, making him the second highest paid offensive player on the roster. With Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor, and Marshawn Lynch having already signed lucrative deals with Russell Wilson and Bobby Wagner also due to cash in soon, I believe that this move may make sense only in the short term. After this upcoming season things could get very interesting. And complicated.

Graham will certainly see his fair share of targets and his presence in red zone will certainly improve the 20th ranked red zone offense last season. I believe the Seahawks need to add another weapon on the outside but adding Graham is certainly a good start to making our offense more explosive vertically.

Losing Unger: I am honestly more concerned about the ramifications that come with trading Max Unger. With Unger going to New Orleans the Seahawks are not only losing a pro bowl offensive lineman, but they are thinning out a position group that I believe could not afford to get any thinner. As of now Seattle’s starting center is Patrick Lewis. Add in the departure of James Carpenter to the New York Jets and the Seahawks currently have Alvin Bailey plugged in as our starting left guard. In regards to trading Unger I believe this means one of three things. Either:

  1. The Seahawks are comfortable going into 2015 with Patrick Lewis as our starting center (The Seahawks proved they could win without Unger at the end of last season, going 6-0 in the final 6 regular season games, all of which Unger was injured).
  2. John Schneider has his eyes on a free agent center that he may look to bring in to replace Unger. (Jonathan Goodwin and Chris Myers are the best available veteran free agent centers according to ESPN).
  3. Schneider has fallen in love with a center in the 2015 draft who he believes could still be on the board when the Seahawks make their first pick (#62 overall).

Time will tell but at this point I cannot simply say one team won this trade and the other lost. Both teams are giving up a significant player but are receiving a significant player in return. If the Seahawks use Graham just like he was used in New Orleans, it is going to be awfully difficult to stop our offense in 2015.

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Thoughts on the Seahawks Defensive Signings

28 Mar
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DE Cliff Avril

The Seahawks kicked off the NFL league year with a bang by acquiring Percy Harvin from the Minnesota Vikings. I haven’t jumped on the blog since the first day of free agency but since my last post the Seahawks have made a few great signings. The Seahawks were clearly on a mission to improve our pass rush and our defensive line through free agency and that is exactly what they have done so far. Here are some brief thoughts on Cliff Avril, Michael Bennett, and Tony McDaniel.

I love the signing of Cliff Avril the most of any of our signings. Avril hit the open market as one of the top pass rushers available and we were able to sign him for two years and only $15 million. Last season Avril turned down a contract extension offered by the Detroit Lions which would have paid him $10 million a year. These numbers made it hard to believe that the Seahawks would be in play for any veteran defensive ends such as Avril, John Abraham, and Dwight Freeney, among others because of the money I thought they would be asking for. Signing Avril for $8.5 million a year is a bargain in my opinion and a signing that set the market for the rest of defensive end free agent group. Avril and Bruce Irvin will battle for the starting defensive end spot while Chris Clemons is rehabbing his torn ACL. I think Irvin is expected to be the starter but no matter whom is the starter both Irvin and Avril will make significant contributions to the Seahawks pass rush this season.

After the Avril signing I figured we had found a replacement for Clemons and that our shopping for defensive ends was over. I was wrong. The Seahawks then went out and signed Tampa Bay defensive end Michael Bennett to a one-year $5 million contract. Bennett was signed by Seattle as an undrafted free agent in 2009 but was released at the trading deadline of that season. Tampa Bay picked him up and he had a solid impact with the Buccaneers from 2009-2012 recording 15 sacks; 9 of which came last season. Over the past few days it has come to light that the reason the Seahawks were able to sign Bennett to such a cheap deal is because he played with a torn rotator cuff last season. According to Seahawks general manager John Schneider, surgery is not on the table for the time being and it is not required for Bennett to play in 2013. Although a defensive end, I think the Seahawks may want to try to use him as an interior pass rusher, similarly to Jason Jones who left in free agency to the Detroit Lions. I consider Bennett to be Jones’s replacement.

Today it was announced the Seahawks signed former Miami defensive tackle Tony McDaniel to a one-year contract. McDaniel is a 6-7, 305 pound run stuffer who was an undrafted free agent in 2006. I think this signing means the Seahawks will not attempt to re-sign Alan Branch who is a similar physical build to McDaniel.

If the season were to start today, I predict that the starting defensive line will consist of Red Bryant, Brandon Mebane, Tony McDaniel, and Cliff Avril. Bruce Irvin, Michael Bennett, and Chris Clemons when healthy will all be used on passing downs, giving the Seahawks four or five exceptional pass rushers on the field at the same time. I am a fan of all of these moves, especially since their contracts are not huge hits to the salary cap and they still give us the freedom to go out and make other signings. Before the signing of McDaniel, the Seahawks had $6.8 worth of salary cap space according to ProFootballTalk.

Seahawks Free Agent Priorities

10 Mar

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On Tuesday at 1:00pm the 2013 NFL league year officially begins. At this time all 32 teams can sign free agents to contracts. The Seahawks have roughly $17 million of salary cap space to fill and it is possible the Seahawks will look to sign some notable names over the next few months. As nice as it will be to use free agency to improve the roster for 2013, the first thing teams need to look at is their own players that are set to become free agents. This year the Seahawks have 13 players who are set to become free agents. I have tiered our own free agents from a scale of 1 to 4 based on how big of a priority they are through my eyes. Tier 1 is players who I think should be the top priority for the Seahawks to re-sign. Tier 4 is players who I feel we don’t necessarily need and who I think we could afford to lose if they decide to sign with another team. All our free agents are unrestricted unless otherwise noted.

Tier One

DT Alan Branch

DT Jason Jones

K Steven Hauschka

DT Clinton McDonald (Restricted)

The Seahawks would be losing a ton of defensive line depth if these three players all leave. Alan Branch is the only starter among this group and he is the biggest named free agent for the Seahawks this offseason. If the Seahawks re-sign Branch we maintain our continuity among the defensive starters and assures that our incredible run defense stays intact. Jason Jones played sparingly last season because he was injured. He recorded only 7 tackles and added 3 sacks. Jones would be a great interior pass rush force and it is unfortunate we were not able to see his potential last season. He would surely help out Bruce Irvin in getting to the quarterback since Chris Clemons will miss a significant portion of the 2013 season. Steven Hauschka was impressive last year but his range is not what I expect out of a kicker. If he can improve his leg strength and prove he can kick from 50+ yards out consistently I would definitely sign him to a multi-year contract. Clinton McDonald is a restricted free agent this season and I expect him to be back with the Seahawks in 2013. I would not give any of these players big money but I think Branch and Hauschka are most likely to get multi-year contracts. Jones and McDonald may get smaller deals.

Tier Two

CB Marcus Trufant

LS Clint Gresham (Restricted)

CB Chris Maragos (Restricted)

Marcus Trufant was cut last offseason but restructured his contract to stay with Seattle. With the emergence of Jeremy Lane, Trufant may have lost his spot on the roster. Trufant is getting older but played decently in the nickel package last season. I believe Trufant will test the open market to see which team will give him the best deal. If the market is not what he was expecting and if the Seahawks would like to have him back for his 11th season with the team, Trufant may find himself in the same role as last season; playing on a limited basis on a one-year contract. I think both Clint Gresham and Chris Maragos are more important pieces to our team than people probably believe. If you remember last year’s Monday Night Football game between San Diego and Oakland you understand why I want Gresham back with the Seahawks next year. In that MNF game, Oakland’s long snapper was hurt in the second quarter. The replacement long snapper could not get the ball to the punter and holder and cost the Raiders opportunities to score points. It also gave the Chargers great field position. I did not realize how important the long snapper is to a team before that game and I now have a greater appreciation for Gresham’s job. He did not botch a single snap last season. Chris Maragos is a key contributor on special teams and made a lot of great plays on kickoffs last season. He seems to be around every single play and works really hard to be in a position to make plays.

Tier Three

LB Leroy Hill

TE Cameron Morrah

We are now getting into the area of players who I don’t think the Seahawks need moving forward. Leroy Hill was recently arrested for the fourth time during his Seahawks tenure. Last offseason he was arrested for marijuana possession in Atlanta and I commented how I think he screwed up a great chance to show the coaching staff and front office that he has cleaned himself up off the field. With this recent arrest I think he just punched his ticket out of Seattle and on to a different team. Add the emergence of linebackers Malcolm Smith and Mike Morgan and you have a recipe where the Seahawks can afford to let Hill walk. Since Pete Carroll and John Schneider came to Seattle in 2010, I have thought that Cameron Morrah’s job could be in danger since he was not brought in by this regime. I think the Seahawks are looking to move toward a two tight end set similar to the New England Patriots. Morrah was hurt for a good part of last year so I’ll cut him some slack since he was not able to show what he could do on the field but things are not looking good for him. The Seahawks signed tight end Darren Fells to a 3-year contract last week and I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Seahawks draft a tight end during the draft. If Morrah is not signed by a team by draft weekend and the Seahawks do indeed draft a tight end, Morrah will not be back in 2013.

Tier Four

WR Deon Butler (Restricted)

DE Patrick Chukwurah

K Ryan Longwell

OG Frank Omiyale

Two of the players in tier four were injury replacements during the playoffs. These two players, Patrick Chukwurah and Ryan Longwell, do not have a future with this team in my opinion. They were simply emergency roster fillers who we hoped could make an impact during the playoffs. Deon Butler appeared in one game last season but did not record a catch. With Sidney Rice, Golden Tate, Doug Baldwin, and a need for another vertical weapon on the outside, I do not see a spot for Butler next season. Frank Omiyale was seen as a challenger for a starting guard spot during training camp last season. He could not beat out Paul McQuistan at LG and John Moffitt and J.R. Sweezy at RG so he was used as a substitute in 2013. With James Carpenter back healthy, Omiyale may not be back with the Seahawks next season and I personally do not think we need him.

Now that the league year is about to begin, I hope to be back on the blog more often. If the Seahawks make any notable moves in free agency or any significant news comes out of Seahawks headquarters, I will hop on to give my opinion about what is going on. Let’s go 2013! Go Hawks!

Seahawks Free Agency To This Point

14 Mar

I hate the fact that finals occurs at the very start of NFL free agency. Now that I am done I’m  finally back on the blog. Here is a recap of the Seahawks moves over the last 25 hours, and what could be happening within the next few days:

Red Bryant Re-Signed: Within the first hour of free agency, the Seahawks took care of their biggest priority. Locking up Red Bryant for 5 years is a great move and I am very happy that we were able to get the deal done so quickly. According to Bryant in an interview earlier today, the Miami Dolphins and New England Patriots showed interest in his services but he wanted to stay in a system and a city that he was comfortable with.

Heath Farwell Re-Signed: Farwell is a solid special teams player. Not the biggest signing but definitely a move to keep special teams continuity in tact, and to keep continuity in the Seahawks linebacker corps.

John Carlson signs with Minnesota: The Vikings reached an agreement on a 5-year, $25 million contract with the former Seahawks tight end. With this move, there are whispers that the Seahawks may be interested in bringing in tight end Visanthe Shiancoe. Shiancoe, formerly with the Vikings is another player familiar with Darrell Bevell’s offensive system and would be a solid replacement to line up in a tight end set with Zach Miller.

Multiple teams interested in Hawthorne: Through twitter, I have confirmed that both the Detroit Lions and New Orleans Saints have interest in linebacker David Hawthorne. After Red Bryant, I believed that re-signing Hawthorne was our next biggest priority. The fact that no movement has been made from Seahawks camp on a contract with Hawthorne leads me to believe he will not be back in Seattle in 2012.

Flynn, Hutchinson, Jones to make visits: Reports indicate that quarterback Matt Flynn, offensive guard Steve Hutchinson, and defensive tackle Jason Jones are all scheduled to meet with the Seahawks over the next 24-48 hours.

It seems to be a two-team race for Flynn between us and the Dolphins. Since the Dolphins are still in the running for Peyton Manning, I think the Seahawks may be the leading candidate to land Flynn. I believe that there is a good possibility that Flynn will leave Seattle on Friday morning with a contract offer.

Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times tweeted today that unless another team “blows away” Seattle’s offer, Hutchinson will be returning to the Seahawks. If the price is right I would not be opposed to bringing Hutch back, however I am having a hard time picturing our offensive line with Hutchinson in the mix, especially if John Moffitt and James Carpenter are both healthy.

Jason Jones has been with the Tennessee Titans for the last 4 years. He has taken a visit to St. Louis and has a visit scheduled with the Seahawks. Adding Jones would bolster our defensive line depth but I believe the Rams have a better chance to land Jones, as he would be reunited with head coach Jeff Fisher.

Stay tuned for more free agency news as it happens!

Seahawks to release Trufant

7 Mar

Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times is reporting at this hour that the Seahawks have released cornerback Marcus Trufant. An announcement is expected to come later in the day.

Trufant, a Washington State graduate, was drafted 11th overall in the 2003 NFL Draft. Trufant made both the Pro Bowl and the NFL All-Pro team in 2007, which was his best season. Trufant is the longest tenured Seahawk, and Leroy Hill is the only player remaining from our Super Bowl XL team of 2005.

Although Trufant was a steady player on the field, he made an even bigger impact on the Seattle community. The Marcus Trufant Family Foundation helps families all across the Seattle area.

I for one will truly miss Trufant. I got to meet Trufant at Applebees in 2007 and not only did he sign autographs and talk to me and my friends, we even invited him over to join us for a buffalo wing or two, to which he politely declined. Although this news is no surprise to me, the Seahawks will definitely miss him. Best of luck to Trufant in his future endeavors. My guess is that is career is not over and he will play for another team in 2012.

Should the Seahawks consider bringing back Lofa Tatupu?

4 Mar

With David Hawthorne becoming an unrestricted free agent and Leroy Hill being arrested on counts of marijuana possession, the Seahawks linebacker corps looks like the biggest question mark heading into the 2012 offseason. Because of this, the Seahawks may be interested in bringing back Lofa Tatupu, who was the staple of their defense from 2005-2010.

As you may remember, Tatupu was cut before the 2011 season for refusing to take a pay cut. Although he was looked at as an option by multiple teams after his release, he spent the entire 2011 season at home. Many people including myself believe this is because his demands money and contract wise were too much for any potential suitor. Tatupu is only 29-years-old and I believe he still has the fire to be a force in the NFL, if he can stay healthy.

I believe the Seahawks should take a good long look at Tatupu this offseason, especially if we are unable to retain Hawthorne and/or Hill. After sitting at home, Tatupu may now understand he is not worth what he originally thought and he would be willing to accept a reduced salary. Tatupu also brings excellent veteran leadership and is already familiar with Coach Gus Bradley’s defensive system.

There are a couple of red flags however, primarily his inability to stay healthy. Between 2008 and 2009, Tatupu missed 12 games due to injury and when he returned, many fans including myself could tell his play had declined. Tatupu was also arrested in 2008 for DUI.

I believe we should definitely take a look at Tatupu and seriously consider bringing him back. I don’t expect him to be the three-time Pro Bowler he was early in his career and I don’t think he would even be a starter with the Seahawks, but if we lose Hawthorne and Hill, there is no doubt we will need linebacker depth, and who better to bring in then a guy who knows the system, is a great leader on and off the field, and a guy who after signing a contract extension in 2008, stated “I’m going to end my career with the Seahawks?”

Seahawks sign Lynch to multi-year contract

4 Mar

According to reports the Seahawks have signed running back Marshawn Lynch to a four-year, $31 million contract. $18 million is guaranteed.

This can also translate to 31,313,313 bags of Skittles.

The Seahawks now have a very big decision to make in the next 18 hours. With Lynch re-signed we can now decide to use our franchise tag on a different player. If I had to take a guess on which player will receive the tag, should we decide to use it, my money is on linebacker David Hawthorne. Hawthorne would receive a one-year, $8.8 million dollar tender if he is tagged.

The franchise tag deadline is tomorrow (March 5th) at 1:00 pacific time. I will update the blog when I learn more about our intentions in regards to the franchise tag. Stay tuned!