Why the Hawks are shopping Kearse

It made too much sense for them not to try: The Seahawks reportedly are shopping Jermaine Kearse.

The Seahawks don’t want to keep more than six receivers. Doug Baldwin, Tyler Lockett and Paul Richardson are the other veterans. Kasen Williams has played his way onto the team this preseason, and Amara Darboh, who has struggled with injuries, figures to stick because the Hawks won’t throw away a third-round pick this early. And Tanner McEvoy is a 6-foot-6 target who can throw passes and block kicks.

Kearse, undrafted out of Washington in 2012, is a limited receiver who does not have separation speed and is prone to penalties and occasional bouts with the dropsies. His best asset is his ability to win contested catches, and he certainly has improved his route running in his five seasons with Seattle. But he has been a liability against teams with good cornerbacks — e.g., Green Bay in the NFC title game in the 2014 season and New England in that Super Bowl.

People credit Kearse for two of the biggest catches in team history, but the fact is the winning TDs against San Francisco in January 2014 and Green Bay in January 2015 were perfect calls and throws by Russell Wilson. Great for Kearse that he was on the receiving end, but Wilson deserves the lion’s share of the credit for both.

Kearse has managed to hang on for the past four years because most of the guys acquired to play ahead of him — Percy Harvin, Richardson, Lockett — have gotten hurt. But, thanks to Williams’ emergence and the drafting of Darboh, the Hawks are deeper at receiver than they have been in several years.

Williams and Darboh are younger, cheaper and more talented than Kearse, and the team surely would like to keep triple threat McEvoy. That explains why Kearse is really the seventh-most talented guy at the position.

It seems doubtful the Hawks will find a taker for Kearse’s $2.2 million salary, which jumps to $5 million in 2018.

Among the teams that seemingly need receivers are Buffalo, the New York Jets, Cleveland, San Francisco and Kansas City. A deal wouldn’t draw much in return — maybe a sixth-round pick. But it would be better than simply releasing Kearse, which is obviously what they are planning to do if they cannot get anything for him.

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