D-line focus: Suh or Richardson?

Logo -- Free agencyThe Seahawks are working hard to refortify their defensive line. And it looks like it might all hinge on what they think of Ndamukong Suh.

Seattle secured four linemen Wednesday, retaining Dion Jordan, Quinton Jefferson and Branden Jackson on tenders and adding Barkevious Mingo, who is expected to fill Bruce Irvin’s old role as a linebacker and pass rusher. The team also set up a visit with defensive tackle Quinton Dial.

But the Seahawks are after bigger fish, if they can get one. The D-tackle market has been relatively slow to move, and the Seahawks obviously hope to take advantage of that as they talk with Suh and Sheldon Richardson.

If the prices were equal, they might prefer Suh to Richardson — because they would net a comp pick (Suh was cut by Miami so does not count).

Richardson has had a quiet market in the lead-up to free agency, with Minnesota apparently the only other team to get in touch. The Seahawks still want to re-sign Richardson, but not at anything near a market-setting number. They reportedly have offered $11 million per year, while Richardson is aiming for more like $15 million (what we expected).

Richardson told ESPN’s Josina Anderson: “I just want the best opportunity to win and to solidify my future.” But he might end up having to settle for a one-year deal.

Same with Suh.

Speculation started Monday that the Hawks and Portland native might talk once he was released by Miami. Several Seattle players apparently have been recruiting him, and he reportedly has spoken to Pete Carroll.

But should Seattle be interested at all? He was cut by Miami because he was considered a selfish, overpaid player. Of course, Miami has long been known for having one of the worst locker room cultures in the NFL, so maybe he simply fell prey to that. But Suh obviously is no leader, even at age 31. Would the Seahawks want that kind of veteran as they move toward a younger roster?

Seattle has been one of the strongest locker rooms in the league since Carroll arrived. But, with some of its best leaders leaving, does it have enough captains left to motivate Suh to become a team player? Could Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright straighten him out? Could Ken Norton Jr. motivate him?

It’s the biggest question as the Seahawks entertain the thought.

Seattle is the only team with any reported interest out of the gate. Teams reportedly are wary of his asking price, with one report indicating he will simply go to the highest bidder. But how high will that bid go?

No one is going to offer the 31-year-old anything close to the $60 million he made in Miami the past three years, and the Hawks probably won’t even get to $10 million APY for him.

That might end discussions right there. But, if it doesn’t, Carroll and John Schneider will have to decide whether Suh can be a team player in Seattle or whether he is just a mercenary out for himself.

With Jordan and Mingo, the Seahawks continue their love affair with the top picks from the 2013 draft. Jordan was No. 3 overall and Mingo No. 6. A year ago, Seattle also signed the No. 2 pick from that draft (Luke Joeckel). Richardson was the 13th overall pick in that draft.

Dial, a fifth-round pick by the 49ers in 2013, is more of a run stopper (just 4.5 sacks in 59 games). He played with Green Bay last year.

Cliff Avril remains on the roster, making some wonder why. He was supposed to get a medical update on his surgically repaired neck last week, but he previously said he wouldn’t fully know his health status until April or May.

The Seahawks had around $18 million in cap space entering Day 2 of the league year, so they might be postponing any move with Avril until they need more spending power. But it’s hard to imagine them not at least asking him to take a pay cut, especially when they did so with Richard Sherman. Cutting Avril would give the team about $7 million more.


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