Schneider and Carroll Have Busy Off-season Ahead
Whether you have accepted the Seattle Seahawks early departure from the playoffs or not, one thing should be crystal clear– the Hawks have a lot of free agents to deal with this spring. Some are obviously higher priority than the others but no one can argue that there are not key guys who are now free agents.
As you might now, free agents are broken up into two categories, restricted and un-restricted. Un-restricted guys are the ones that are free to sign with any team as soon as free agency begins shortly after the Super Bowl.
Here’s a look at all the names on the un-restricted free agent list for Seattle.
|Brandon Mebane||Defensive Tackle|
|Russell Okung||Left Tackle|
|Bruce Irvin||Line Backer|
|Jermaine Kearse||Wide Receiver|
|Ahtyba Rubin||Defensive Tackle|
|DeMarcus Dobbs||Defensive End|
|Fred Jackson||Running Back|
|J.R. Sweezy||Left Guard|
|Will Tukuafu||Full Back|
|Michael Morgan||Line Backer|
|Anthony McCoy||Tight End|
|Bryce Brown||Running Back|
|Chase Coffman||Tight End|
If you are wondering about the order in which I listed them, I did put some thought into that. I listed them as I would rank their level of contribution to the team in 2015. In other words, Brandon Mebane was more a more valuable contributor to the team than anyone else on the list. I’m not suggesting this is the order of importance that they should be re-signed, it’s simply how much they contributed last year.
The best guess for the NFL’s salary cap for the 2016 season is $150 million. The Seahawks have just $26 million in cap space based on that number. The $26 million could increase if they were to make some cuts, but for now, that’s the number.
Obviously you can’t re-sign all of these guys for $26 million and we know the Seahawks will probably make at least a few cuts to free up more space but allow me to speculate on who I would retain from this list. My re-signees would be Tavaris Jackson, Jeremy Lane, Jon Ryan, Ahtyba Rubin, and Will Tukuafu.
That’s it. Just five of these guys need to stay on the roster. Jackson stays because he is the perfect backup for Russell Wilson. Jeremy Lane stays because he’s the best corner the Seahawks have other than Richard Sherman. Jon Ryan gets to stay because he’s as tough as punters get and he’s a really good punter.
I also chose to keep Ahtyba Rubin because he’s going to me more affordable and because I think his play is on the rise. Will Tukuafu has to stay. I’d be afraid to tell Tukuafu that I wasn’t interested in keeping him. The guy is scary both as a full back and a human being!
Some of my decision were financial, some were simply because the player hasn’t performed well. Not performing well is certainly not the excuse for having to say goodbye to Brandon Mebane. He’s had arguably the best two season of his career the past two seasons.
The problem with Mebane is that he’s going to be looking for a huge payday, and deservedly so. I just don’t see the numbers adding up for the Seahawks if they give him that kind of payday.
Another significant goodbye is Russell Okung. The player-agent has played well at times, played not so well at times, and also seems to be quite injury prone. The amount of money that would take to retain Okung is better spent elsewhere. The Seahawks can certainly do just as well performance and durability wise for far less money.
Bruce Irvin has to go too. I like him as a player but his price tag, even with the hometown discount he claims he’s willing to give is going to make him very expensive. It’s time for Kevin Pierre-Louis to step up. Isn’t that the Seahawk way? Next man up!
The last significant name on my goodbye list is that of Jermaine Kearse. Yes, he’s a Seattle born and bred guy, but I just don’t see the value in keeping a wide receiver who is so on and off. Kearse either has a great game or a terrible one. There is no middle ground.
The biggest asset Kearse had for the Seahawks was that he was a couple of inches taller than some of his teammates. With the immergence of Tyler Lockett, the continued growth to super-stardom of Doug Baldwin, a healthy Paul Richardson, and a healthy Jimmy Graham, why do the Seahawks need an expensive, average guy at wide out?
They don’t. That’s why Kearse is out on my list. Kevin Smith not only is capable of the role Kearse has been occupying, I think he’ll be better at it than Kearse has been.
Michael Morgan and Demarcus Dobbs are both guys I like for depth and for special teams. How much money they command on a new deal will be the tell-tale for both of them. I’m not opposed to either staying on the Seahawks roster, I just don’t think the Seahawks will have the money.
Lemuel Jean-Pierre is a serviceable backup center. He’s just not the kind of offensive lineman you put on the priority list to re-sign. I could see him back with the Seahawks as depth guy, but again, the money says it’s likely not going to happen.
The other O-lineman on the list is J.R. Sweezy. He won’t be back, at least I sure hope not. I don’t think I need to explain why.
I love Fred Jackson. I think he’s a great guy and good third down back and I really hope he hangs up his cleats this year and retires. He’s earned it. Go out with your health and on your own terms. You have nothing left to prove here, Freddie.
Bryce Brown was only brought in when the injuries piled up at running back for the Seahawks. I don’t see the need for Brown assuming everyone returns healthy in 2016.
I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was a bit intrigued by Chase Coffman, who was only a contributor for the Seahawks after Graham was injured. He’s got an amazing skill set but has never been able to put it together in the NFL. He’s on my out list but I’d consider giving him a chance if the price is right.
That just leaves Anthony McCoy, who is made of glass and I would not re-sign for that reason and that reason alone.
That means we can move on to the restricted free agents. The Seahawks have the right to match any offer they receive from another team before they are allowed to leave.
|Christine Michael||Running Back|
|Ricardo Lockette||Wide Receiver|
|Derrick Coleman||Full Back|
|Jesse Williams||Defensive Tackle|
|Nick Moody||Line Backer|
I’ve used the same thoughts I did before when I listed these guys in order. Out of these seven guys, Patrick Lewis contributed the most which is why I listed him first and so on.
Lewis really continued to improve his game after winning the job away from Drew Nowak. I’m not saying he’d be my starter next year or that the Seahawks should not get other guys into compete with Lewis, but he’s shown me enough that I want him stay on the roster.
The same can be said for Christine Michael. Despite being cut and only returning because of a huge list of injuries at running back, I think Michael should be retained, assuming the price is not too high. I like the idea of a Thomas Rawls and Michael combination along with Derrick Coleman leading the way at full back.
Jesse Williams and Nick Moody are both expendable. Williams has never played a game in the NFL since being drafted three years ago. Moody has played sparingly, mostly on special teams.
Alvin Bailey has gone on record saying he wants to be on any other NFL team other than Seattle. Well, your wish is my command Mr. Bailey. I see no point in keeping a guy that doesn’t want to be here.
Last but not least, we have Ricardo Lockette. What in the world do you do with this guy? Lockette has made some amazing catches as a receiver, is a quality special teams guy, and no one has any idea if he’s ever going to be healthy enough to play in the NFL ever again.
The devastating hit and injury Lockette took to his neck is a huge question mark and the Seahawks, nor any other team, can really make a sound decision on whether or not to offer Lockette anything just yet. I’ll say this much about Lockette returning to Seattle– I really want to see it happen.
If Lockette can return from that injury and play at the same level or better that he did before, he could be a great comeback story and he’d get my vote for the NFL comeback player of the year.