A look into the linebackers free agency market
Last season the Seahawks drafted KJ Wright which allowed them to cut ties with the grossly underperforming Aaron Curry. Seattle also drafted Malcolm Smith last year and the 7th round draft choice is currently the other starting OLB.
One would think the Seattle Seahawks have to be active March 13th.
Here’s how I see Seahawks Linebackers shaping up for 2012.
Currently on the Roster:
OLB KJ Wright
KJ Wright will turn 23 before the start off the season but as a rookie he outplayed former 4th overall pick Aaron Curry. Wright averaged 4 tackles 0.1 sacks during his rookie season. He also forced a fumble, recovered a fumble and had 2 pass defensed.
OLB Malcolm Smith
Malcolm Smith will turn 23 before the start of the season and is a backup type player at this point in his career. The Seahawks will certainly need to address this. Most of Smith’s action has been on Special Teams.
LB Adrian Moten
Adrian Moten is a special teams/backup type player.
LB Mike Morgan
Mike Morgan is a practice squad/developmental type player
LB Tressor Baptiste – Signed a “Reserve/Futures” contract
Saying that linebacker is a team need is an understatement. The Seahawks need a starting SAM (strong side LB) and a starting Mike (middle linebacker. At least the Will (weak-side LB) is finally set with someone who the Seahawks can count on.
OLB Manny Lawson – Manny will turn 28 before the start of the season. He plays the SAM and has averaged 3.7 tackles and 0.2 sacks per game in his 6 year career. Lawson has also force 6 fumbles, has 5 fumble recoveries, 2 interceptions and 18 pass defenses.
OLB Rocky McIntosh – Rocky will turn 30 during the season. He plays the SAM in a 4-3 defense but struggled last season in the Redskins new 3-4. McIntosh has averaged 5.1 tackles 0.1 sacks per game. He has 8 career forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovery, 3 interceptions and 18 pass defensed in 6 seasons.
OLB Leroy Hill
LeRoy Hill will turn 30 during the course of the season. He has averaged 5.6 tackles and 0.2 sacks per game during his career. He has 7 forced fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries and 11 pass defenses.
I believe he is the best option for the Seahawks to fill the SAM in free agency.
ILB Stephen Tulloch – This 27 year old Mike has really come into his own the last 3 seasons. He is looking for a long term commitment from a team and the Seahawks could be in position to bring him in. During his last three seasons he is averaging 8.2 tackles 0.1 sacks per game. He has 8 career fumble recoveries, 4 interceptions and 17 pass defenses in his career.
ILB David Hawthorne
David Hawthorne is a year older than Tulloch he has also come into his own the last three season. During that time he has averaged 7.2 tackles and 0.1 sacks per game. He has 5 career forced fumbles, 3 fumble recoveries, 7 interceptions and 15 pass defenses.
After testing the market and determining what his value is he could wind up coming back to Seattle and getting a deal worked out.
ILB Curtis Lofton – Curtis will turn 25 before the start of the season and is a solis option at the position. He has averaged 8.3 tackles and 0.1 sacks per game during the last 3 seasons. He has 7 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovery, 3 interceptions and 15 pass defenses in his career.
OLB Philip Wheeler – Wheeler plays the SAM and will turn 28 during the season. He has averaged 4.6 tackles and 0 sacks per game since 2009. Philip has 2 forced fumbles and 2 pass defenses in his career.
OLB Jarret Johnson – Age is a deterrent here as he will turn 31 before the season begins. If he would be willing to sign a 2-3 year contract he could be an option later on in free agency.
OLB Erin Henderson – He plays the Will, the only LB position the Seahawks have locked down.
OLB Wesley Woodyard – He plays the Will which excludes him from the Seahawks radar.
ILB Dan Connor – Dan is a few years younger then David Hawthorne but is a definite down grade. If the Seahawks sign him they will be left second guessing the contract they offered David while they had exclusive negotiating rights.
ILB London Fletcher – He has had a great career but he’s far too old to be taken seriously at this time.