Could Duane Brown really be a Seahawk by the time the Hawks play the Houston Texans in Week 8?
We suspected the Seahawks might have checked into Houston’s holdout left tackle during training camp, so it’s not a big shock to see the Hawks apparently are still working that angle.
One report indicates the Seahawks could be close to getting the Texans to lower their asking price, with Seattle’s workout of Branden Albert on Monday helping their cause.
The obvious question: What would it take, in trade and cash, to get the 32-year-old three-time Pro Bowl tackle to Seattle?
Brown is pulling a Kam Chancellor, holding out with two years left on a contract that has $19 million remaining. Top left tackles are now making up to $13 million a year, so he obviously is hoping to add at least $2 million a year to what might be his last big extension. The Texans, like the Seahawks with Chancellor in 2015, have not been interested in redoing his deal prematurely.
If the Texans have reached the point of no return, there are a few creative ways the cap-strapped Seahawks could add him: (1) Send draft picks and give him an option deal; (2) send draft picks and have one of their highly paid players restructure; (3) trade Jimmy Graham or Richard Sherman.
PICK AND OPTION DEAL
The Seahawks clearly are trying to avoid giving up a first-round pick for a 32-year-old player, which explains why they are slow-playing the Texans in this pursuit (assuming the Texans are open to dealing Brown).
The Seahawks don’t have a second pick in 2018 because they sent it to the Jets for Sheldon Richardson. So it would have to be a third and something else, or maybe give up the first and a fifth (they have two) for Brown and a third (or 2019 second).
The Seahawks have less than $2 million in cap space, so they could entice Brown with an option deal that could make him a free agent next offseason. Pay him the minimum (which amounts to around $620,000 for the rest of this season) and include a big option bonus for 2018 as a kind of deferred signing bonus in a deal worth around $11 million a year.
The Hawks could always decide to let him become a free agent if they thought George Fant would return and do well at left tackle in 2018.
PICK AND RESTRUCTURE
If the Hawks wanted to give Brown a more traditional contract, without dealing a high-priced player in return, they would need to get one of their stars to restructure. John Schneider has been against that kind of move in the past, but he has so many expensive players that he might have to do it if he wants to make this move.
They could convert the remaining $8.66 million of Russell Wilson’s salary into bonus. That would free up around $5.8 million this year for Brown — enough to get a long-term deal kickstarted. They could make a similar move with Sherman.
BROWN FOR GRAHAM
Graham finally got it going in Los Angeles, showing he still has what it takes to be a top tight end. He would be a great weapon for Deshaun Watson, if the Texans were so inclined.
Graham makes $493,750 per game, which would amount to $5.43 million for the rest of the season if he were traded for Brown this week. The Seahawks could make that work in a new deal for Brown.
The Seahawks still have Luke Willson and Nick Vannett and could elevate Tyrone Swoopes or find another third tight end.
BROWN FOR SHERMAN
Sherman was on the trade block earlier this year, so it would not be a stunner to see the Hawks deal him now.
Shaquill Griffin has emerged as a solid starter, and the Hawks have Jeremy Lane (when healthy), Justin Coleman and Neiko Thorpe — and starter DeShawn Shead is expected back in the next month.
This scenario really comes down to this question for Schneider and Pete Carroll: Would they rather have a 29-year-old shutdown corner or a 32-year-old lockdown left tackle?
In this deal, the Hawks would basically be trading Sherman’s salary (and potential extension beyond 2018) for Brown’s.
Sherman’s salary is $714,000 per game, which would mean $7.86 million in cap space if the deal were made by next week. That would be plenty for Brown this season, and he would basically take Sherman’s place on Seattle’s salary scale going forward.
The Texans have some solid corners: Johnathan Joseph and 2015 first-rounder Kevin Johnson, plus former first-rounder Kareem Jackson and ex-Seahawk Marcus Burley. But Sherman would lock down one side, a big help after the Texans lost key pass rushers J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus on Sunday night.
While some might think Jeremy Lane would be an option, it seems doubtful. He’s not any better than what Houston already has, and he is constantly injured. The Seahawks tried to trade him earlier and found no takers.
The Seahawks also wouldn’t trade Michael Bennett or any other D-lineman to help Houston’s sudden weak spot. Seattle just gave Bennett an extension late last season, and the Hawks need every lineman they can get now that Cliff Avril is out.
If any deal is going to go down, the best time would be during Seattle’s bye so Brown can get up to speed. But the teams officially have until Oct. 31.