As the New Orleans Saints continued to revamp their roster Friday with yet another trade, the Seahawks — still basking in the glow of the deal that brought tight end Jimmy Graham from the Saints — simply looked within.
The news that impacted them was of players signing elsewhere, but they don’t care. No one will miss Bryan “Wave It Off” Walters, who signed with Jacksonville, and the Hawks didn’t need Shelley Smith, who got $5.65 million over two years from Denver or Stefen Wisniewski, who is a possibility but not a pressing need.
Pete Carroll has said several times this week, including on KJR Radio on Friday, that the Seahawks feel comfortable with some of their young linemen (Alvin Bailey, Patrick Lewis, Garry Gilliam, Keavon Milton, et al.) and think the draft is full of good linemen. Expect the Hawks to use at least two of their 11 picks on big guys.
They can only hope to come up with another J.R. Sweezy, the 2012 seventh-rounder who has played so much that he received $260,000 in performance bonuses from 2014 and got a CBA-mandated bump to a $1.54 million salary this year (as did Russell Wilson).
It wouldn’t be a surprise if the Hawks drafted a return man as well. They clearly want to upgrade their return games — they did not tender or offer to re-sign Walters, whose job last season largely consisted of waving his hand, catching the ball and then walking off the field.
Carroll talked about using B.J. Daniels on returns (and as a receiver) next season — it has been discussed before, so we’ll believe it when we see it.
Daniels likely will not be the No. 2 QB this year — the Vikings signed Shaun Hill to back up Teddy Bridgewater, so Tarvaris Jackson is not going back to Minnesota, as he had hinted he would like to. Carroll said the Hawks are talking to Jackson about coming back for the third straight year as Wilson’s backup.
As for Wilson’s expected new contract, Carroll told KJR, “We are going to do everything we can to get this right.” Some have suggested Wilson might play out the final year of his rookie contract, which calls for a $1.54 million salary, but that seems very unlikely.
In LOB news, Carroll all but said Jeremy Lane (ACL, broken arm) will start the season on PUP, although Earl Thomas (shoulder) will certainly be ready for the opener and Tharold Simon (shoulder) will be back in a few months. New corner Cary Williams is “going to get a great chance” to start, Carroll told KJR. At $6 million a year, he had better.
Meanwhile, it appears backup safety Jeron Johnson is on his way out. No surprise. He reportedly was visiting Washington, where Scot McCloughan is the new GM, and has interest from other suitors.
Losing Johnson would put the Seahawks at plus-five in the 2016 comp-pick equation, assuming O’Brien Schofield got more than a minimum deal in Atlanta and Johnson also signs a qualifying deal.
Byron Maxwell ($10 million a year), James Carpenter ($5 million) and Malcolm Smith ($3.5 million) figure to net the Hawks picks in the third, fifth and sixth rounds next year.
John Schneider loves comp picks so much that the Hawks could go all offseason without adding a UFA, merely picking up castoffs who don’t count in the formula. He probably is rooting for Johnson to sign somewhere on a counting deal (non-minimum), because that would give Schneider a free UFA spot to work with — maximum comp picks number is four, as the Hawks are expected to get this year (they were plus-seven in the equation off 2014 free agency).
However it all works out, figure the Hawks probably will start with 10 or 11 picks again next year, including the coveted third-rounder (the highest comp pick possible).
They have gotten only one third in at least the past 11 years, and that was for losing Shawn Springs and three others in 2004 while adding just two. They spent that third-rounder in 2005 on linebacker Leroy Hill.