As Okung shops, Hawks tackle the LT puzzle

The Seahawks' lineAnd then there was one.

With the re-signing of Jon Ryan on Friday, the Seahawks are 4-3 with their eight key UFAs — Russell Okung being the last free agent standing.

If you thought the last few days were full of drama, get a load of this LT puzzle.

As Okung leaves the Giants to visit the Lions (and maybe the 49ers after that), the Seahawks reportedly are planning to meet with Pittsburgh tackle Kelvin Beachum on Monday and reportedly have some interest in Oakland tackles Donald Penn and J’Marcus Webb, along with Arizona’s Bradley Sowell.

There could be some musical tackles going on here. Okung is in New York because the Giants cut Will Beatty (who is still available, coming off a torn pectoral muscle that cost him 2015). The 49ers’ interest is puzzling because they have Joe Staley on the left side, and right tackle Anthony Davis apparently is coming back after a year off. Staley reportedly was on the trade block last season; would an Okung signing put him there again? And would the Seahawks talk to the 49ers about him?

Beachum might be the best option outside of bringing Okung back. But, if he signs with the Jets, either D’Brickashaw Ferguson or Breno Giacomini probably would be let go. The Seahawks likely would be interested in either — Ferguson replacing Okung at left tackle or Giacomini returning to right tackle after two years away and Garry Gilliam ostensibly moving to left tackle.

Penn, 33, seems a fallback option — surely the fifth choice behind Okung, Beachum, Staley and Ferguson. Webb doesn’t have many positive reviews — he seems to fit in the same “meh” category as Sowell.

While there is lots of drama surrounding left tackle, defensive tackle is a little more straightforward: The Seahawks know for sure they need to replace Brandon Mebane.

Cedric Thornton signed with Dallas before he ever got to Seattle, but the Seahawks reportedly were hosting a pair of run stoppers on Friday: Cam Thomas and Al Woods. The 6-4, 335-pound Thomas was good for Pittsburgh, and the 6-4, 307-pound Woods knows Pete Carroll’s defense, having played two games for the Seahawks in 2011.

The Seahawks have done very well with bargain veteran D-tackles over the years — e.g., Alan Branch, Tony McDaniel and Ahtyba Rubin — so they know which players will fit their defense for the right price.

Speaking of the right price, that’s what the Seahawks got for Ryan. The going rate for top punters is $3 million a year, but they are paying Ryan just $2.5 million, which ranks 12th in the league. With Mebane gone, Ryan is the lone holdover — signed by Tim Ruskell in 2008 — from before Pete Carroll’s arrival in 2010.

Jermaine Kearse’s three-year deal might actually end up being a two-year agreement. He gets $6.3 million this year, including a $5.5 million signing bonus. His cap hit will be $2.6 million. In 2017, he will be paid $2.2 million and count $4 million. The big spike comes in 2018, when Kearse is due $5 million and would count $6.8 million.

Kearse is now averaging more than Doug Baldwin, who will be paid $4 million in the final year of his contract. He almost surely will get an extension later this year. Based on his stellar 2015 performance — and the fact that he has matured since his “Dookie Baldwin turddown” days — Baldwin should get $7 million to $8 million a year.

The Seahawks lost second-tier free agent Alvin Bailey to Cleveland, where fellow 2013 undrafted lineman Michael Bowie is. Bailey failed to hold on to the left guard job last year when the coaches were basically begging him to win it. He ended up working as the sixth man again. The Seahawks wisely declined to tender the restricted free agent; they know they can do better.

Guard Ted Larsen reportedly is “weighing options” after his visit with the Seahawks. He met with the 49ers on Thursday.

Brandon Mebane posted a heartfelt goodbye message to the Seahawks and their fans, saying, “I gave my blood, sweat, & belly rolls to Seattle for 9 seasons.”

Russell Wilson, 27, is about to be married for the second — and hopefully last — time. He proposed to Ciara on a beach, giving her a huge ring that might have him asking for a new contract soon.

One thought on “As Okung shops, Hawks tackle the LT puzzle”

  1. From reading your account, it looks like three possibilities:

    * A short-term offer to Okung that RO takes or doesn’t take based on what kind of offer he gets from Detroit et al

    * A reasonable but not mind-blowing offer to Beachum in the hopes that a market doesn’t develop for him

    * Fallout from a domino effect based on where RO and/or Beachum sign

    If nothing materializes, get 2-3 journeymen into camp and have them compete.

    I discount the Donald Penn speculation. Sportrac values Penn at $7.1MM, and I don’t see JS ponying up that much for a 33-year old offensive lineman, even for the short term.


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