Linebackers a focus, too; plus other FA notes

Salary cap logoWhile Russell Okung stole the free-agent spotlight over the last week, culminating in his deal with Denver on Thursday, the Seahawks continued to go about their other business.

While they still need major help on the offensive line and figure to keep hunting for big gamers, they also need to sign at least one linebacker before the draft. Bringing back Mike Morgan for a sixth year replenishes the depth and gives the Seahawks a fallback option if they don’t come up with a better replacement for Bruce Irvin.

They have been trying to replace Irvin for the past week, bringing in Craig Robertson (Cleveland UFA), Shea McClellin (signed with New England) and Mike Neal (Green Bay UFA). They also reportedly talked to former Seahawk O’Brien Schofield, who played in Atlanta last season.

They seem to be targeting linebackers who can offer some pass-rush help, but they might not be as desperate to replace Irvin as you might think. Second-year pass rusher Frank Clark apparently is poised to work at linebacker this year. They also have Kevin Pierre-Louis — if only he could stay healthy.

They also could look at a few other free agents: former Husky Donald Butler, who was cut by San Diego; DeMeco Ryans, cut by Philly; Baltimore UFA Courtney Upshaw; Tennessee UFA Zach Brown; or Kansas City UFA Dezmon Moses.

For more OLB options, check out Walter Football’s list.

It’s no surprise that the Seahawks brought back Christine Michael on a one-year deal for minimal money ($725,000). Some thought they would tender the restricted free agent at $1.67 million, but that made no sense considering no team wanted him last season.

So, as expected, the Seahawks brought him back to back up undrafted star Thomas Rawls. Assuming Michael does not revert to the chuckleheaded ways that got him traded last summer, the Seahawks should have a solid 1-2 punch at running back. They also will have a free seventh-round pick, which Dallas sent for Michael (they later cut him).

The Hawks also have been looking for a third-down back, which might come via the draft. They reportedly expressed great interest in San Jose State’s Tyler Ervin this week.

Speaking of running backs, some are speculating that the Seahawks have not put Marshawn Lynch on the retired list because they might decide to post him as a June 1 cut. Such a move would split his cap hit over the next two years, giving the Seahawks $2.5 million more in cap space this year. That typically flies against Seattle’s philosophy of not pushing dead cap space into future years, but they might want to reserve the option in case they need more flexibility. After all, they finished with the least cap space in the NFL last season. They sit at about $14.5 million right now, with about $9.5 million of that available for free agents and the rest earmarked, as usual, for draft picks, practice squad and injury replacements next season.

Alvin Bailey, Seattle’s sixth lineman the past couple of years, got an unexpectedly good deal from Cleveland: $6 million over three years. He won’t count in the 2017 comp pick formula, though, because he was an untendered restricted free agent. The Seahawks obviously think they can do better than him as their sixth man.

Speaking of comp picks, the loss of Okung put the Seahawks at minus-2 and back in line for a fourth-rounder (for Irvin) and a fifth-rounder (for J.R. Sweezy) next year.

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