No surprise: John Schneider didn’t want to gamble with the franchise tag.
Five teams use the keeper tool (and Chicago used the transition tag), but Seattle declined for the eighth straight year — choosing not to lock in Sheldon Richardson.
Schneider will try to re-sign the defensive tackle before free agency, but he obviously was leery of tendering Richardson for $13.9 million — and thus setting the negotiating floor there. And Schneider obviously wasn’t interested in the other potential benefits of tagging, which we outlined.
Seattle is very unlikely to be able to re-sign Richardson by Monday, when he and all free agents will have the ability to agree to deals with other teams. By not tagging him, Schneider is basically signaling his willingness to move on and find an interior pass rusher elsewhere.
Richardson is expected to get a very good deal on the open market, which should set Seattle up for a third-round comp pick next year. As we have mentioned, Seattle is expected to be among the winners in the comp pick race this year (for the 2019 draft).
Meanwhile, another NFL Network report on Michael Bennett indicated the obvious: Part of the reason Schneider and Pete Carroll are willing to deal the Pro Bowl end is they want their team to get a little “quieter.”
This is no surprise. Like Richard Sherman, Bennett has been a big distraction in the last couple of years. The fact that the team is willing to trade him before he even starts his extension is evidence that it is about more than age and health concerns.
We will know how eager the Seahawks were to divest of Bennett by the price they elicit for him. If it is a mere sixth- or seventh-rounder, it will be proof they really wanted to be rid of his attitude. They should end up with a mid-rounder and perhaps a late pick (one of them likely in 2019).
In other tidbits:
The Seahawks were the only team to interview Combine star Shaquem Griffin, brother of Seattle starting corner Shaquill Griffin. Shaquem is expected to be drafted in the third or fourth round.
Paul Richardson figures to have a robust market. Washington reportedly is one of the teams targeting him.
The complete NFL draft order was released today. Here are Seattle’s eight picks.