A year ago, the Seahawks needed a new left tackle to replace the departing Russell Okung. Most people (probably even George Fant) would say they didn’t find one, which is why there is a lot of speculation about them checking into the several veteran tackles being let go.
But, unless one of those guys wants to come to Seattle on a cheap deal, don’t expect the Seahawks to add one. They had the chance last year to pursue Kelvin Beachum or Ryan Clady, but neither has been very healthy — which explains why both are available once again and why the Hawks wouldn’t pay either one much money.
Perhaps more intriguing is Branden Albert, if the Jaguars don’t acquire the 32-year-old from Miami to replace Beachum. But, even if Miami were to release him, he probably would end up with a richer deal than the Hawks would want to offer.
Okung also is expected to be free again — Denver not exercising the option in his contract March 8 — but it’s hard to see him returning to Seattle after the Hawks didn’t make much effort to keep him last year.
With Michael Bennett taken care of and Blair Walsh the ostensible replacement for the more expensive Steven Hauschka, the Seahawks have about $22 million in cap space for free agents. Extensions for Kam Chancellor, Jimmy Graham and Justin Britt could take as much as $5 million off that amount, but that still would leave $17 million for outside free agents. They certainly could use some of that on a lineman, but Pete Carroll said they won’t pay big for one guy.
“I don’t think you can just buy your way to it,” he said in his postseason presser. “We’re not going to do that. We’re not going to go out and spend a ton of money on free agency on one guy to try to save day. That’s not how we function at all.”
Carroll basically said the Hawks will continue their MO of developing players and adding free agents judiciously.
“We’re going to work really hard in the offseason to make sure we make that spot really competitive again,” he said. “We’re not going to rest on anything or sit back like we think we’ve got it now. We’ll continue to work and there’s opportunities, of course — in the draft and free agency and all of that — that we’re open to. We never turn away from any of those chances.”
The Seahawks will save around $2 million by replacing Steven Hauschka with Blair Walsh or another kicker. The other possible benefit of letting Hauschka go would be a 2018 comp pick.
The Seahawks don’t have many free agents who are likely to qualify for the comp formula — Luke Willson is the only other notable player who might get a decent deal elsewhere, and Kelcie McCray might draw some interest. If the team adds a couple of UFAs (street free agents such as Walsh and Perrish Cox do not count), a comp pick in 2018 would be unlikely.
This year, the Hawks are in line for a third and fifth (they could have had a sixth as well if they hadn’t made the ill-advised signing of J’Marcus Webb last year).
It looks like the Seahawks will keep their second-round pick, losing only a fifth for running afoul of NFL rules. So their picks currently look like this: 1, 2, 3, 3, 5, 6, 7.
They traded their fourth in last year’s draft to get Quinton Jefferson. They lost a fifth for too many offseason practice violations (but get a comp for J.R. Sweezy), acquired a seventh from Carolina in 2015 for Kevin Norwood and sent their own seventh to Oakland for Dewey McDonald before last season.