Hawks checking out flawed free agents

Logo -- Free agencyThe Seahawks were way too young on the offensive line in 2016, and they went through far too many running backs. Those were both major contributing factors to their failure to go beyond the divisional round for the second straight year.

Their solution: Bring in a bunch of flawed veteran linemen and backs.

They reportedly are going to sign Luke Joeckel, a former No. 2 overall draft pick who is coming off a bad knee injury. They also apparently are planning to host T.J. Lang, a 29-year-old guard coming off hip surgery; Jamaal Charles, an explosive back who can’t stay on the field; Eddie Lacy, a punishing runner who can’t control his weight; and Latavius Murray, a part-time player for Oakland.

These are the kind of guys the Hawks have to check out, because they don’t want to overspend on so-called first-tier free agents. But will any of them be worth even a discounted price?

Joeckel’s deal was reported as worth up to $8 million. Because he played just four games last season before the ACL/MCL injury, you can bet the Hawks are adding a bunch of playing incentives — assuming his knee even checks out. Figure at least half that $8 million is contingent on him playing — the Hawks use those per-game roster bonuses all the time. So he likely will count $4 million or less in 2017, with the rest potentially hitting the cap late in the season or in 2018 (if his incentives exceed the 2017 cap).

Joeckel was the No. 2 pick in 2013 by Jacksonville, but he flopped at left tackle and moved to guard last year. The Hawks, however, seem likely to put him back at tackle — probably competing against George Fant on the left side.

Lang is coming off a Pro Bowl season, but he had hip surgery in January and turns 30 in September. The Hawks obviously want to check out his physical condition and be assured he can play. He could then still command upwards of $8 million a year — the Detroit Lions are pursuing him as well.

If the Hawks were to sign Lang, he likely would step in at right guard and Germain Ifedi probably would move to right tackle to battle Garry Gilliam. Then the Hawks’ line would look like this: Joeckel/Fant, Mark Glowinski, Justin Britt, Lang, Ifedi/Gilliam. Rees Odhiambo could factor in there as well.

As for the running backs, it seems odd that the Hawks are looking at unreliable players to join the rest of their injury-prone stable. Do they think Thomas Rawls, C.J. Prosise and Charles or Lacy would add up to one whole back?

If they do sign a back, their budget surely is no higher than about $3 million.

OTHER OBERVATIONS

Steven Hauschka is officially gone, signing with Buffalo for $12.4 million over four years. Hauschka leaves as the best kicker in Seattle history, with team records of 175 field goals and an 88.8 percent hit rate. The Seahawks certainly are hoping Blair Walsh, 27, becomes the next in a pretty steady line of Seattle kickers. The Seahawks have had just eight since 1978: Efren Herrera, Norm Johnson, John Kasay, Todd Peterson, Rian Lindell, Josh Brown, Olindo Mare, Hauschka.

J.J. Wilcox, former third-rounder who started 38 games for Dallas the past four years, could be an option as Seattle’s No. 3 safety. Wilcox is expected to visit. Kelcie McCray could always return as well, and the Hawks seem certain to draft a guy from a talented pool.

Kam Chancellor surely took note of the safety market on Day 1 of the league year. Tony Jefferson got $9 million a year from Baltimore, and Reshad Jones received $12 million from Miami. Chancellor is set to make $7.1 million in 2017, the final year of the deal he pouted about in 2015. The Seahawks might pay him Jefferson money for two to three years, but forget the Jones deal.

Calais Campbell received $60 million over four years from Jacksonville, disappointing delusional Seahawks fans who thought Seattle might pursue him. It’s not the Hawks’ MO. They had been linked to Terrell McClain, who signed with Washington at $5 million a year. Seattle’s budget for a veteran D-tackle has typically been $2 million or $3 million. … The Hawks will see Campbell in Jacksonville next season, but at least Russell Wilson won’t be hassled by him twice a year against Arizona anymore.

Russell Okung got a good deal from the L.A. Chargers: $53 million over four years, with $25 million guaranteed. Nice work by the self-agent after he got blasted for his 2016 deal with Denver. The Seahawks were thought to be interested in a possible reunion, but they certainly weren’t going to pay $13 million a year. Okung reunites with Brandon Mebane, who signed with the Chargers last year.

The Seahawks unsurprisingly tendered only one restricted free agent: Gilliam at $1.8 million. Not tendered: injured DeShawn Shead, Brock Coyle, Steven Terrell, Mohammed Seisay. The Hawks obviously plan to bring back Shead at the minimum, and they probably will be interested in the other RFAs, too. ERFA Brandon Cottom also was not tendered, which could mean the Hawks have other thoughts at fullback — maybe re-signing Marcel Reece?

We half expect John Schneider to pull off a surprise trade in the next few days. He did it in 2013 (Percy Harvin) and 2015 (Jimmy Graham), so it is time once again, right?

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3 thoughts on “Hawks checking out flawed free agents”

  1. According to broncoswire.com, Russell Okung hit a games-played incentive and wound up making $8MM in 2016. That plus the guaranteed money in his new deal will save him close $1MM in agent commissions.

    By accepting the risk of an incentive-based contract, RO was paid above-market in 2016 and put himself in position to enter a much friendlier market as a UFA if Denver didn’t pick up his option. It was very well played.

    Okung’s critics (some of them, anyway) may have a decent grasp of NFL contracts, but none of them showed an understanding of risk. RO’s claim that he got the deal that he wanted was less of an exaggeration than they knew.

    Like

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