2019 free agency chatter

Seeking to replace Frank Clark, the Seahawks signed pass rusher Ziggy Ansah.

The one-year deal is worth $9 million, with $3.75 million more available in incentives (reportedly active-game bonuses). About $6 million apparently is guaranteed.

The Seahawks weren’t going to pay Ansah a lot of guaranteed money, due to a shoulder injury that is expected to keep him out until mid-August. An incentive-heavy deal was expected.

Buffalo, Baltimore, Philadelphia and New Orleans all reportedly had expressed interest in him as well, with the Bills confirming they had talked contract up until he agreed to sign with Seattle.

Ansah, the fifth pick in the 2013 draft, is now the sixth player among the top 13 in that draft to have joined the Seahawks. Barky Mingo (6) and D.J. Fluker (11) are still on the team; Luke Joeckel (2), Dion Jordan (3) and Sheldon Richardson (13) also have played for them.

The Seahawks also added defensive tackle Al Woods to a one-year, $2.25 million deal.

On April 16 and 17, they reportedly had visits with Allen Bailey (Chiefs), Corey Liuget (Chargers) and Woods (Colts). They also previously brought in Caraun Reid (Cowboys) and Earl Mitchell (49ers).

John Clayton had reported the Hawks were “not hot” for Mitchell or former Husky Danny Shelton and might end up with Woods for around $1.5 million.

Bobby Wagner is preparing as if this might be his last season in Seattle, and the Seahawks seem to be bracing for it as well after drafting two middle linebackers.

Pete Carroll previously said the Seahawks plan to re-sign Wagner. “Bobby’s going to be a Seahawk,” he said, adding that re-signing K.J. Wright “might have been the best thing we did to negotiate with Bobby.”

Wagner is representing himself, which could pose complications.

“We have a great relationship with Bobby and tremendous respect for him and what he does for the organization, so I don’t think there will be any problems, but I do think it’s challenging,” Carroll said. “We’ll just work our way through it. But all the intentions are that we’re going to get something done and we’re going to have him, so that’s understood. He understands that as well, so we’ve just got to figure it out.”

Frank Clark was sent to Kansas City in a blockbuster deal.

Clark response, via Josina Anderson: “They had other plans. It got to a point where Seattle had used me for everything I had for them already. At the end of the day it’s a business. Look down the history …

“When you’re playing in Seattle, it’s not common that they plan to have players around for the long run. It’s obvious. It’s evident. … But I’m blessed & thankful to be part of their organization. John (Schneider) & Pete (Carroll) drafted me back in 2015. It just sucks that we weren’t able to get something done because they knew how I felt about being in Seattle and how I felt about my future, and I feel like at the end of the day it was all ignored. But it is part of the business, and you have to play your cards right in this game.”

“Hey, Seattle, we got a deal. … Go Hawks.”

That’s how Russell Wilson announced that he and the Seahawks had agreed to a new contract late Monday night. The deal reportedly is worth $140 million over four years — exactly what we said it should be way back in August.

Wilson got a $65 million signing bonus and $107 million in total guarantees. See more on the deal here.

Negotiations had proceeded through the entire weekend and his deadline day of April 15. And they apparently reached an accord late at night (he tweeted around 12:30 a.m.).

If no agreement had been reached, Wilson had told the Seahawks he wouldn’t do a long-term contract. “I wouldn’t offend the Seahawks by giving them a deadline that wasn’t real,” agent Mark Rodgers told The Seattle Times.

There was a lot of speculation that Wilson was just trying to leave Seattle, which flew in the face of what he had said several times.

After the deal was done, Rodgers said, “Russell loves this town, this team and these fans, and part of his compromise involved his affection for all things Seattle. The idea of playing anywhere else was not as appealing as playing right here, the place he and his family call home.”

Wilson reiterated his goal to play 20 years in Seattle, which would take him to around age 43. “My goal is to end it here, to leave a lasting impression on this city,” he said. “I want to be a Seahawk for life.”

It looks like Mychal Kendricks’ sentencing has again been postponed. It was set for April 4. That’s not good news for Seattle, which surely would like to know his availability ASAP.

As we wrote in January, odds are Kendricks will serve at least eight months. If Kendricks is incarcerated, it is possible the Hawks could toll his $4.5 million non-guaranteed contract to 2020 while keeping him on a reserve list. (Remember, he already has served an eight-game suspension, so league punishment is not an issue in 2019 or beyond.)

Independent doctors apparently have cleared Malik McDowell to play, but NFL teams have not.

McDowell’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, confirmed the brain injury from the ATV accident and said he is still talking to Dallas about signing the Seattle draft bust.

The Seahawks didn’t think he should play and the Cowboys’ doctors apparently have not cleared him either, which seems to make it unlikely he will ever see an NFL field.

At the owners meetings, Carroll called the medical clearance by McDowell’s doctors “surprising” and confirmed the Seahawks could not clear him to play.

It also sounds like the Seahawks didn’t get much financial/cap relief, even though they were entitled to it. Seattle is thought to have paid McDowell about $4 million of his $6.95 million contract. He counts $1.59 million in 2019.

Signings

The Seahawks landed on a couple of D-line additions — bringing back Cassius Marsh and adding Nate Orchard.

Marsh played his first three seasons in Seattle before being traded to New England for a couple of draft picks in 2017. He hated playing for Bill Belichick, though, and got the Patriots to waive him. San Francisco picked him up and re-signed him in 2018. But they cut him last month after trading for Dee Ford. He was a great special-teams player in Seattle and offered help in the pass rush, so expect more of the same from the 26-year-old who just became a father.

Orchard was drafted 12 spots ahead of Frank Clark in 2015, but he didn’t do much in Cleveland. He’s a cheap flier on a possible rotation rusher, but don’t count on him making the club — unless Ken Norton and Clint Hurtt can get him to play like he did at Utah.

The Seahawks also had brought in Courtney Upshaw, Aaron Lynch and Nick Perry. Lynch re-signed with Chicago.

The Seahawks kept K.J. Wright and D.J. Fluker on pretty team-friendly tallies.

Both two-year deals are heavily incentivized, with Wright potentially making $15.5 million and Fluker $9 million. But their 2019 cap numbers look like they might be right where we figured Seattle would want them: $4.5 million for Wright and $2 million to $3 million for Fluker.

Wright’s number might be $5.5 million if his $1.5 million roster bonus is a one-time payout rather than the per-game bonuses they typically do. Fluker’s number could be $3 million if some of his $1.5 million in playtime bonuses are likely to be earned (and thus count under the cap now).

Wright said he thought he was done in Seattle, but, “Thankfully, the Seahawks trusted me and wanted me to be a part of their organization, part of their team, and they found something to make me happy and I’m glad that I’m staying.”

And Bobby Wagner is happy that his good friend and teammate Wright is back. We’ll see whether John Schneider is willing to pay Wagner later this year.

Wright’s re-signing came on the heels of a one-year, $4.5 million deal for Mychal Kendricks. None of the money is guaranteed.

If Wright is healthy and Kendricks avoids prison, the Hawks will have a great linebacker corps. The Seahawks obviously have confidence that Wright’s knee will be good and think Kendricks will avoid prison time.

Kendricks has to be happy the Seahawks have stayed loyal to him throughout the process, given that two teams let him go because of this white-collar felony.

Kendricks’ contract basically matches Barkevious Mingo’s $4.2 million, so it is easy to see Seattle dropping Mingo if Kendricks is available to play in 2019.

George Fant, backup tackle/monster tight end, was tendered at $3.1 million (second round) as the Seahawks try to keep together most of their 2018 line. Pete Carroll was excited about keeping Fant at the Combine.

It wouldn’t be a surprise if the Hawks later extended Fant or reduced his salary, something they have done a lot with tendered RFAs.

Jason Myers, who made the Pro Bowl for the Jets last season after the Seahawks picked the wrong kicker, is returning to Seattle for $15.5 million over four years — top-10 pay for a kicker and a huge mea culpa by the Seahawks.

The Seahawks tendered RFA Quinton Jefferson, a former fifth-rounder, at the original round level, for $2 million. Jefferson doesn’t merit $2 million, so it would be nice if another team were willing to pay the fifth to sign him away. Otherwise, expect the Seahawks to rescind the tender next month.

The Seahawks also brought back Neiko Thorpe the day he visited Buffalo. He re-signed for $1 million.

Farewell, Earl

Earl Thomas said he thought he was headed to Kansas City, apparently for a one-year, $12 million deal, but Baltimore then swooped in with an offer of $13.75 million a year over four seasons.

“I thought I was going to go to Kansas City,” he said. “Then my agents … said, ‘Baltimore has a mega-deal for you.’ And I said, ‘Hell yeah, that’s where I’m going.'”

Thomas also revealed the target of his one-fingered salute as he was being carted off the field with a broken leg in Arizona last season: Pete Carroll. We had assumed he had spotted John Schneider on the sideline, but it was actually the coach.

“A lot of frustration that day,” Thomas told Peter King. “I was in a battle with the team, and I chose to play, and I was betting on myself. So when it happened, it just added to my frustration. I did what I did, and I saw Pete Carroll, and I just was like, ‘You won. You won.’ Just a very disappointing day.”

The $13.75 million a year is a tad under what he reportedly targeted entering free agency and a bit under the $14 million that Landon Collins and Tyrann Mathieu got (as the deals were reported anyway). The three-year average, though, is $14.33 million, just behind Collins.

Dallas, Thomas’ favorite team, reportedly was willing to pay $10 million or $11 million. But that clearly was not even close.

There also was some brief scuttlebutt that Thomas could return to Seattle — and he will, as the Ravens will visit the Seahawks next season. That game should be full of the same pomp and circumstance that accompanied Seattle’s home game against Richard Sherman and the 49ers last year.

Bob Condotta and the Times put together a great homage to Thomas. And Thomas thanked Seattle for the memories.

Other departures

Detroit reportedly signed Justin Coleman to a deal worth $36 million over four years. The deal trumps the one Baltimore gave Tavon Young ($25.8 million over three years), making Coleman the league’s top-paid nickel corner.

Coleman played for Detroit coach Matt Patricia in New England before returning to Seattle and playing well the past couple of seasons.

The Seahawks braced for Coleman’s departure by keeping restricted free agent Akeem King on a $1.4 million deal that could be worth up to $2 million. King is an ascending player for Seattle who could step into the nickel corner spot.

Mike Davis became the second Seahawk to leave, signing with Chicago. He tweeted: “The hard work has finally paid off. Thank you, God.” Davis signed for $6 million over two years and could replace Jordan Howard, who is on the trade block in Chicago.

Shamar Stephen surprisingly got a three-year deal to return to Minnesota. Even more surprising, it averages $4.15 million.

The Seahawks certainly had no interest in re-signing him after their struggles against the run in 2018 (4.9 yards per carry ranked 30th). So both D-tackles the Hawks signed from Minnesota last year ended up returning to the Vikings. (And no, Sheldon Richardson is not coming back to Seattle. He ended up in Cleveland for $12 million a year.)

The Seahawks lost a fourth player when J.R. Sweezy agreed to a two-year deal with Arizona. It’s worth $8 million to $9 million.

Buffalo signed Maurice Alexander.

Former Seahawks

In former Seahawk news, Michael Bennett moved again. A year ago, New England belatedly offered Seattle a third-round pick for the veteran pass rusher — Schneider already had agreed on a lesser deal with the Eagles (Bennett and a seventh for a fifth and Marcus Johnson). This time, the Patriots got Bennett — for basically the same price the Eagles paid. Bennett replaces Trey Flowers in New England.

Bennett’s great reaction: “I feel nomadic. I feel like the Berber tribe in Morocco: I’m pitching tent anywhere.”

Golden Tate got paid again, signing a $37.5 million deal with the wayward Giants, who needed to replace Odell Beckham Jr. Tate then posted a hilarious spoof on the famous “Show me the money!” scene from “Jerry Maguire.”

James Carpenter also keeps getting paid. This time, Dan Quinn and the Falcons gave him a four-year deal worth $21 million. The Seahawks will see Carpenter and the Falcons in Atlanta next season.

Brandon Mebane, 34, is back with the Chargers on a two-year deal that guarantees $5.25 million. It’s a nice move by the Chargers after Mebane lost his baby in January. Mebane left the Seahawks in 2016 after nine seasons; he’s one of the top two or three D-tackles in Seattle history, behind Cortez Kennedy and alongside Joe Nash.

Surprisingly, Max Unger has retired at age 32. Seattle drafted him in the second round in 2009 and traded him to New Orleans for Jimmy Graham in 2015. He just made the Pro Bowl for the Saints last season, his third Pro Bowl. But he said he didn’t think his body would make it through another season.

Another former Seahawk, Brock Coyle, had to retire due to a back injury. Coyle, 28, had played with the 49ers for the past two years.

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