While rumors continue to circulate that Malik McDowell might never play again, Pete Carroll said the Seahawks’ top pick (35th overall) will return to the team “with really no demands on him” so “he has a sense of coming to work.”
Carroll also confirmed what was pretty clear: The Sheldon Richardson trade was driven largely by the loss of McDowell, as the team sought an interior rusher for this season (and beyond).
“That was an area we really were excited about him coming in and adding in,” Carroll said of McDowell, “and then when we realized we weren’t going to have him, it just made us look in earnest to see if we could find some way to help that spot.”
Carroll said McDowell will “be with us in and out more regularly now, just to kind of start the process of having him re-enter. I have nothing to say about the injury itself. I don’t know anything differently. Nothing else has been reported. But we are trying to work him back in with us and just reconnect and make sure that he has sense of coming to work … and he feels comfortable about that with really no demands on him at this time.’’
Carroll said he had no idea when McDowell might be able to return to football work: “I have nothing. I wish I did. I have nothing on that.’’
We can assume McDowell is out for the season and that we won’t know anything firm about his future for several months.
Meanwhile, Peter King reported that the Seahawks plan to try to re-sign Richardson after this season and Rob Staton pointed out that the Seahawks could re-sign him if they wanted to.
But Richardson is expected to command somewhere between $15 million and $20 million a year. Staton points out that the Seahawks could use the franchise tag on him — that number is $13.4 million this year. But that still would require cutting, trading or not re-signing at least two or three good players (e.g., Luke Joeckel, Cliff Avril, Richard Sherman, et al.).
And how might Richardson react to the franchise tag? He seems like the type who wants all the cash he can get — and is willing to hold out to get it. It’s not really Seattle’s style anyway — John Schneider has not used the franchise tag since 2010.
Of course, those are all a bunch of big IFs; Richardson still has to show he fits in and is not going to be an off-field concern.
Carroll addressed those questions: “Our guys have done a lot of homework on him. … I know he has some issues in the past, but he has withstood the test, I think, coming back and righting ship, and he has done a really good job. Teammates think a lot of him. Coaches think a lot of him in the way he works and how he brings it to the game. I think he fits in very well. He is a very aggressive, up-tempo player, and I think he is going to fit in great.”
Carroll said the team cut Ahtyba Rubin because Richardson and Nazair Jones made him obsolete. They also saved $2.2 million — a big deal now that they have just $3.5 million in cap space.
“Another huge guy to let go that was hard to do,” Carroll said. “But there are just all kinds of concerns to make this happen and then Sheldon comes in and plays. Then Naz made as much of a statement about that as well. We will have to figure out the rotations. We are down to just a few guys in there right now, and those guys just have to come through and make the plays. We may have to make a move with somebody.”
The Hawks have eight defensive linemen and just three run-stopping tackles. They also have 10 offensive linemen, so it’s possible they even out their lines after Week 1.