The franchise tag period runs today through March 1, and the Seahawks will skip it for the sixth straight year.
They have not used the tag since 2010 — the first year of the Pete Carroll/John Schneider regime — when they used it on Olindo Mare.
Schneider has stayed ahead of the curve, avoiding any need for the tag by getting early extensions done with potential franchise players Marshawn Lynch (2012), Kam Chancellor (2013), Earl Thomas and Richard Sherman (2014) and Russell Wilson and Bobby Wagner (2015).
They gambled on Michael Bennett in 2014 and ended up re-signing him a day before free agency started — a week after the tag deadline.
The guys they have lost in free agency have been role players or lesser starters they were prepared to lose: John Carlson, David Hawthorne, Golden Tate, Breno Giacomini, Clinton McDonald, Byron Maxwell, James Carpenter, et al. This year will be no different, with as many as six second-tier starters likely to leave.
They certainly are not going to put a $13.5 million franchise tag on Russell Okung or a $14 million tender on Bruce Irvin — their top two free agents who could get deals around $10 million a year elsewhere.
The Hawks very likely will stick with their usual MO, letting high-priced free agents leave and chalking up 2017 compensatory picks for them.
The salary cap apparently will hit $155 million this year, meaning the Seahawks are expected to have upwards of $29 million in space.
That should be enough to keep Brandon Mebane, Ahtyba Rubin, Jon Ryan and some minimum-salary free agents while adding a couple of veteran offensive linemen.