Seahawks have tough choices ahead & it’s time to get back to work

Salary cap issues will start to hit the team soon

While I hate to break up the party, I’d be negligent if I didn’t point out that the Seattle Seahawks, in particular the front office, has a lot of work to do in the coming weeks.

Here’s a list of important dates to keep in mind, leading in the draft, which starts on May 8, 2014:

  • 2/17 is the first date that any NFL team can slap the franchise tag on an eligible player
  • 2/19 the NFL combine begins
  • 3/8 is the date that first contact can begin with other team’s free agents, although no new contracts may be signed until 3/11
  • 3/11 is the official first day of the new year in the league.  Free agency begins.  Qualifying offers to restricted free agents (ie Doug Baldwin) must be submitted by this date
  • 5/2 restricted free agents must sign qualifying deals by this date

There are numerous Seahawk free agents that I feel are most key for John Snyder and Pete Carroll to address.  Here they are in no particular order:

Wide Receiver

Golden Tate: In or out?

Golden Tate: In or out?

Golden Tate is an unrestricted free agent and Doug Baldwin is a restricted free agent.  My suspicion is that Baldwin isn’t going anywhere.  I think the Seahawks really like him in that No. 2 or 3 spot on their depth chart.

Tate is another matter, however.  As a fan it’s hard to not like Tate.  He plays hard, he’s good at returning punts and so far he’s said all the right things to the fans, most notably that he’d give a discount to stay in Seattle.

I personally don’t think it will happen.  Russell Wilson has clearly developed a better chemistry with Jermaine Kearse and Baldwin in the later regular season games and playoffs.  Also, working against Tate is the fact that he is small.  Kearse is a bigger target.  Baldwin and Percy Harvin are also smaller targets.  Seattle needs a larger-bodied, taller wide receiver to round out their corps.

Defensive Line

Michael Bennett had an amazing year for the Seahawks in 2014.  The pressure he was able to put on opposing QBs was staggering.  With Bennett teamed up with Cliff Avril, rookie Jordan Hill and Bruce Irvin, I believe the Seahawks would continue to have one of the best pass rushes in the NFL.

Noticeably missing from the lineup above is the name Chris Clemons.  He’s the guy likely on the cut list if the Seahawks intend to keep Bennett.  More on who could go on the D line later.

Steven Hauschka

The Hawks’ kicker, Steven Hauschka, was flat out money all year long.  He only missed two FGs and one of them wasn’t even his fault as it was blocked.  Given the fact that the Seahawks played so many low-scoring, tightly contested games in 2013, I look for the Hawks to spend the money to keep their kicker.

Hauschka isn’t a guy the media reaches often so it’s hard to know what his intentions are.  If he wants to stay in Seattle, a deal should be pretty easy to close for Snyder.  If he wants to leave, the Seahawks could use the dreaded franchise tag on him.  Tagging Hauschka would cost Seattle about three million on their 2014 cap.

The Offensive Line

The most notable name on the free-agent list right now for Seattle at this position is my man Breno Giacomini.  Right now, I’m still having my man crush on Breno, and I’m hopeful the Hawks find a way to keep him around.  At the same time, the sports analyst/journalist in me says: It ain’t gonna happen.

The Seahawks already proved they can win games without both of their starting tackles.  Youngsters Michael Bowie, Lemuel Jean-Pierre and Alvin Bailey performed admirably down the season stretch as injuries mounted on the O-line.

I look for Seattle to allow them to continue to develop and receive more playing time in place of Giacomini and even Paul McQuistan.

Priority players mean cuts

In an effort to avoid issues like this that are even more severe at the end of the 2014 season it wouldn’t shock me to see a few more names wind up on the cut list in an effort to lock up other players with long term deals.

Most notably, the Seahawks are going to want to get deals to Russell Wilson, Earl Thomas and Richard Sherman even though they still have a year to go on their current deals.  Here’s some guys that might be sent away in an effort to make that happen.

Sidney Rice

It’s kind of a no-brainer.  Sidney Rice is hurt.  It’s hard to know if he’ll even be ready for next season on time with his ACL issue, and utting Rice saves the Seahawks $7 million.

If he’s healthy, maybe they bring him back on a reduced deal.  I did mention earlier that I believe the Seahawks will be on the market for a big body receiver.  Why not Rice on the cheap assuming he’s healthy?

Zach Miller

The development of Luke Willson and Miller’s nearly $6 million price tag in 2014 means he’s likely to be sent out.  I foresee the Seahawks looking in the draft with one of their top picks for a tight end to replace Zach Miller.

Zach Miller

Zach Miller could be expendable this offseason.

Walter Thurmond

The rise of Byron Maxwell and the fact that he’s likely going to be looking for a big pay day as an unrestricted free agent means Walter Thurmond will be wearing different colors in 2014.  With Brandon Browner also being lost to due to suspension, look for Seattle to scout large DBs in the draft this year.

Red Bryant

With a nearly $8 million cap hit in 2014 and a youngster in Jordan Hill riding the bench all year, it might be time to say goodbye to big Red Bryant.  I also mentioned Clemons earlier.  The Seahawks will have to decide between Bryant and Clemons.

Keep in mind Clemons will be 32 next year and has a cap hit similiar to Bryant. My money would be on Clemons to go and Bryant to stay.  Still, Bryant getting the axe is a possiblity.

Michael Robinson

Say it ain’t so!  Without question, Michael Robinson is an inspirational leader on this team.  They tried to let him go to start 2013 but injuries allowed for his return.

Barring injuries in 2014, I think Robinson is gone.  He’s a guy I’d like to see stay in the organization, however.  Perhaps the Seahawks can make him a coach or assistant of some sort.

However it all winds up shaking out, you have to admit, it’s going to be one of the most interesting offseasons in Seahawk’s history.


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About Brian Scott

Husband, Philosopher, Animal Rights Advocate, and Author Brian is a Spokane native and Gonzaga University grad. Seahawks, Mariners, GU Hoops and Cougar football are the teams that drive his passion for sports. You can catch him on twitter too! Connect with Brian today!
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