Winning Has Two Prices: Increased Salaries & Free Agent Departures

Several Key Seahawks Part Ways with the 12th Man

It might be a new thing to Seattle Seahawks fans, but winning the Super Bowl has its price.

The players who stick around with your team after the big win want a bigger contract.  Guys leave too, usually for the same reason — a bigger contract.

Despite the talks of discounts, dynasties and keeping the team together for a long period of time, the reality is that some losses have occurred and that had to be expected.  Keep in mind there is a silver lining to everyone of these departures.  Let’s take a look at the guys that have left the Seahawks.

Golden Tate

Golden Tate: out?.

Golden Tate: out.

When your leading wide receiver leaves for green pastures (also known as a greener wallet), it’s hard not to take offense.  Yes, Golden Tate was the Seahawks’ best receiver in terms of statistics last year.  Yes, he was also a very good punt returner too.

Despite those two facts, losing Tate is not a killer for a couple reasons:

  1. The Seahawks are, and will continue to be, a run-first offense.
  2. Tate was not even a 1,000-yard season receiver.

Doug Baldwin, Jermaine Kearse and Percy Harvin in the slot still looks pretty scary out there to defenses around the NFL, and they don’t look more scary if you put Tate’s name in the lineup with them.

The other thing to consider is the size of these guys.  Baldwin, Harvin and Tate are roughly the same body type — shorter, lighter guys.  There’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s nice to have a big guy too.  Chris Matthews is now a Seahawk and he’s that kind of receiver — 6’5″, 225lbs.  Now that’s scary!

As far as punt returning goes, go you could ask Harvin to add that chore along with returning kick offs or why not let a guy named Christine Michael have a chance?

Red Bryant

Big Red Bryant was certainly a force to be dealt with in the running game.  A big-bodied guy who could really plug up the holes while playing end or tackle.  While Red’s departure to Jacksonville certainly leaves a void in the run-stop game, don’t forget about a guy who barely played at all last year.

Jordan Hill is a very similar type of player as Bryant.  Hill road the bench for the majority of 2013.  He was hurt coming out of preseason with a torn bicep, which led to practically no playing time in the regular season.

Hill is fully capable.  There is a reason why he was picked in the third-round before last year.  The guy can play and he’s going to get his chance now.

Chris Clemons

The immense pass rush is one of the reasons why the Hawks’ defense was dominant, particularly in the Super Bowl.  Chris Clemons was a big part of that.  Clemons and Cliff Avril coming off opposite ends were darn near unfair at times for offenses.

While the loss of Clemons stings given his history of success with Seattle, he’s not impossible to replace.  The Seahawks have retained free agent Michael Bennett, and I can easily see him getting more playing time and moving out to the end position.

Chris Clemons

Say goodbye to Chris Clemons, Seattle.

The other option is drop Bruce Irvin in at defensive end, and let a guy who was … oh gee, Super Bowl MVP … get a bit more time to play at linebacker.  The crowd at linebacker with the immergence of Malcolm Smith alongside Bobby Wagner and KJ Wright means Seattle has an extra guy who needs playing time.

Chris Maragos

Backup safety Chris Maragos headed to Philly to cash in, but Maragos rarely saw significant time.  Maragos is special teams ace, however, and the Seahawks will miss him in that role.

Maragos was the leader of kickoff and punt coverage teams.  While it’s difficult to gauge leadership statistically, look for guys like Jeremy Lane and Ricardo Lockette to step up their already brilliant special teams play and take over that role without any issues.

Clinton McDonald

Tampa Bay-bound is next on the list for the now former Seattle defensive tackle.   Clinton McDonald had a solid season for the Hawks, posting 5.5 sacks in 2013.

Jordan Hill, whom I previously mentioned, could also find his way into this slot in 2014.  This vacancy could also lead to the signing of a free agent such as Henry Melton or Ryan Pickett.  Both are every bit that McDonald was and more.  If this signing happens, the Seattle defensive line might just be even more scary in 2014 than it was last year.

If deals don’t work with those guys or another free agent, the Seahawks likely address this vacancy in the draft. Given their draft record, that’s not a bad fallback position.

More to Come?

More guys could certainly depart as well.  Brandon Browner is still out there along with Walter Thurmond who has been touring teams and is reportedly visiting… are you ready for it….  San Francisco!

You gotta love this team and this rivalry!


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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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