What do Jeanpierre, Bennett mean for draft?

NFL draftWith the draft now a little over a week away, some of the Seahawks’ positional concerns were highlighted Monday with the news that (a) Michael Bennett did not show up to offseason workouts, (b) the Hawks re-signed center Lemuel Jeanpierre and (c) the Hawks hosted speedy wide receiver Chris Conley last week.

Bennett’s absence — likely tied to his sudden dissatisfaction with his contract — is nothing to be concerned about now and won’t be unless he remains absent when training camp begins in July.

The only mandatory team event between now and then is the minicamp June 16-18. But if Bennett remains away, he clearly won’t be following up on his stated goal of “trying to be a good Seahawk.”

Clearly, the Seahawks are not going to bow to any pressure by Bennett to adjust his deal. They won’t trade him, and they won’t redo the deal this year. The best he might get from John Schneider is a promise to revisit the deal next year (he has per-game roster bonuses in 2016 and 2017 that could be converted to true salary in 2016, as the Hawks did for Marshawn Lynch last year). But Bennett will have only two choices in 2015: play or sit.

Not to say the Hawks will let Bennett’s actions dictate theirs, but they might take his status into account as they evaluate their line situation.

The Hawks already were likely to invest at least one of their 11 picks in a defensive lineman/pass rusher, and the possibility that Bennett — their best lineman — could be a hypocritical pain the ass over the deal he signed just one year ago might make them consider picking a lineman a little higher (the other Michael Bennett in the second round?).

One thing that might assuage any concerns there is re-signing Kevin Williams. They reportedly talked to Williams in March about returning, but there has been no recent word on whether that might happen.

Williams is one of just three Seattle free agents left unsigned — along with Tarvaris Jackson and Heath Farwell — after center Lemuel Jeanpierre re-signed Monday.

With Stephen Schilling retiring and Oakland free agent Stefen Wisniewski going to Jacksonville, the Hawks added some known veteran depth by bringing back Jeanpierre for the fifth year.

That probably is the last veteran signing along the line the Hawks will make before the draft, but it certainly doesn’t preclude the Hawks from drafting a center option such as Hroniss Grasu, Ali Marpet or B.J. Finney.

Aside from offensive line, the other position the Hawks are expected to target in the draft is wide receiver. They reportedly have brought in or worked out six receivers — the most notable being Georgia’s Chris Conley, a 6-foot-2, 4.35 40 guy who is projected to go in the middle rounds (rated anywhere from 10 to 22 among receivers).

The NFL schedule will be released today (not Thursday, as reported last week). Will the Seahawks open in Green Bay on Sunday night? Here’s a pre-free agency look at the Seahawks’ opponents.


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