As the free agency negotiating period began Monday, two days ahead of the new league year, the Seahawks were at the center of a lot of expected news.
As expected, they managed to re-sign Ahtyba Rubin, one of their excellent veteran defensive tackles. As expected, Bruce Irvin and J.R. Sweezy received a lot of interest. And, as expected, former Seahawk Byron Maxwell did not last long in Philadelphia.
Rubin agreed on a three-year deal. The value was unknown Monday, but expect it to be around $4 million a year. Also expect the Seahawks to keep Brandon Mebane on a cheaper deal.
Before the Rubin deal, the Hawks had $22 million in disposable cap funds (excluding $5 million reserved for draft pick bonuses, practice squad and injury replacements). We project they will re-sign Rubin, Mebane and Jon Ryan for a 2016 cap hit of $7 million. That would leave them with $15 million to spend, which is why you can expect Irvin, Sweezy, Russell Okung and Jermaine Kearse to depart (they all are likely to get deals worth between $6 million and $10 million per year).
Arizona reportedly is pushing hard to sign Irvin. GM Steve Keim apparently is willing to help the Hawks net a third-round comp pick in 2017, with the thought that Irvin will help the Cardinals keep a leg up on his former team in the NFC West.
Sweezy reportedly has the interest of a third of the league’s teams, which means he could be looking at something like $6 million per year. The Saints and Jets, who have Sweezy’s former teammates (Max Unger, James Carpenter, Breno Giacomini) on their lines, are among the teams reportedly interested.
We don’t know the market for Okung yet, because the self-represented left tackle can’t speak with teams until Wednesday.
Seattle saw a few line options disappear Monday. Versatile blocker Keleche Osemele appears headed north of $10 million, eliminating that dream. Right tackle Phil Loadholt is staying in Minnesota on a reduced deal, and Joe Barksdale re-signed with San Diego. The Vikings also are expected to keep overpaid left tackle Matt Kalil, although John Sullivan’s status is not clear after he missed 2015 with a back injury. The Seahawks surely have their eye on every offensive lineman hitting the market.
They also surely took note of two former Seahawks who were sent packing just a year after signing elsewhere. Byron Maxwell’s trade from Philadelphia to Miami is no surprise — we said last year that the Eagles probably would regret paying him $10 million a year and he would be gone within a couple of years.
Jeron Johnson also lasted just one year in Washington, cut Monday along with QB Robert Griffin, S Dashon Goldson, DE Jason Hatcher. The Hawks could have some interest in bringing back Johnson or adding Goldson or Hatcher for cheap.
The Seahawks reportedly also “might be” interested in Denver linebacker Brandon Marshall, a restricted free agent who would cost a second-round pick to sign.
That report seems like dubious speculation though. Would the Hawks really want to do someone else’s negotiating on the off chance the Broncos wouldn’t match a deal that probably would need to be worth at least $4 million a year?
The draft has a good linebacker class, and a few vets already have been cut, so there seems no need to spend big on that position.