2019 free agency chatter

It looked like Buffalo might poach two defensive backs from Seattle, but Neiko Thorpe ended up re-signing after a visit to the Bills, who added Maurice Alexander.

Doug Baldwin is still far from healthy, and it seems like no sure thing that he will play in 2019.

He told KJR he needs more surgeries this offseason. He reportedly is seeing a specialist about a sports hernia in Philadelphia in early April. He already had surgeries on a shoulder and knee. He also dealt with a hip problem late in the season.

It wouldn’t be a surprise if Baldwin called it quits this year. The 30-year-old reportedly has told people close to him that the injuries are taking a toll.

SeaDawgs would love to see Jermaine Kearse back with the Seahawks, but Kearse told KJR that he has not gotten any offers from Seattle. He said he would love to return, given the opportunity, and he is just waiting for his agent to find him a landing spot. “It’s out of my hands at this point,” he said.

Needing a veteran, the Seahawks brought in Jordy Nelson after Oakland cut him. They wanted to talk to him last year, but he canceled a visit after signing with the Raiders.

He’s a savvy veteran receiver who caught 63 balls last season, probably won’t cost a whole lot (he was due $3 million from Oakland this year) and also wouldn’t count in the comp equation if signed. The Seahawks reportedly were his first stop among at least five interested teams.

Seattle probably would be willing to pay the 33-year-old $3 million to $4 million for one season. The Seahawks likely would cut Jaron Brown if they signed Nelson; that would give them $2.75 million to help pay Nelson. They have $9 million in cap space for free agents.

The Seahawks also are looking at defensive linemen. Former 49ers draft pick Aaron Lynch visited Seattle in his tour of teams, which also includes Oakland and Indianapolis. He tallied 12.5 sacks in his first two seasons with the 49ers, but he has not done much as a pass rusher the past three years — he had three sacks with Chicago last season. The Colts could easily overpay him if they want him, so he’s probably not signing with Seattle.

Plenty of fans were high on the idea of bringing Bruce Irvin back, but he signed with Carolina on a one-year deal worth $4 million. Justin Houston signed a two-year, $24 million deal with Indianapolis.

The Seahawks should look into trading for Robert Quinn, as Dallas and New Orleans appear to be doing. But it doesn’t sound like they are. Too bad. He would be a good, aggressive move.

Terms are in on the one-year deals for Mike Iupati and Mychal Kendricks. As expected, the latter has no guaranteed money in his $4.5 million contract; it’s all based on him being available. Iupati’s base is $2.75 million, worth up to $3.25 million.

From the “waste of time” file: Dallas, desperate for defensive line help, also brought in Malik McDowell for a visit. The 2017 second-rounder didn’t play a down for the Seahawks, who finally got rid of him for good this month. If he were somehow able to play this year, it would be (1) a stunner and (2) absolutely hilarious (in the most ironic, ridiculous sense, obviously).

In Florida for his annual Yankees minor-league stint, Russell Wilson addressed the recent radio rumor that he might try to force his way to New York to play for the Giants: “I love Seattle. I won a Super Bowl there. … We’ve won a lot of games. And I love being there. … You can never be surprised by (trades). That’s part of the process. (But) I have a clear mindset on how much I love Seattle. Everybody knows that.

“I like New York. I love the Yankees. … But Seattle’s home for us. We’ve been there for a long time.”

On Jimmy Fallon’s show, Wilson basically said the same thing, quipping, “I don’t think the Seahawks are going to let me get away.”

Plenty of people think Nick Foles’ $22 million a year with Jacksonville somehow impacts Wilson, and we’re not sure why. Wilson’s target is $35 million APY, which would top Aaron Rodgers’ deal for the best APY in the NFL. We think a three-year, fully guaranteed $100 million deal would work for both Wilson and the Seahawks.

Asked about possibly being the highest-paid quarterback in the NFL, Wilson told Fallon, “There’s a great potential of that. We’ll see what happens.”

Frank Clark’s agent previously had said the pass rusher would be fine playing on the franchise tag, but apparently Clark has changed his mind: He reportedly won’t sign the $17.1 million tender and won’t show up to training camp unless he has a long-term deal in hand.

Clark is probably seeking $20 million a year, but Trey Flowers got $18 million and Ford $17.5 million after Kansas City traded him to San Francisco. So $18 million seems to be the top of the market for Clark. Can the sides agree?

If not, Seattle might consider any trade offers they might get for him (Ford netted the Chiefs just a second-rounder though).

Here we go with the Ndamukong Suh Watch again. He wants to stay on the West Coast, which limits his options to the Raiders, Chargers, 49ers and Seahawks. The Seahawks didn’t want to pay him $14.5 million last year. If he still wants that, Seattle will again not be an option. Seattle probably wouldn’t want to pay him more than $6 million or so — if the team had any interest at all.

Signings

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 when he is sentenced April 4 for insider trading (he already pleaded guilty).

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 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.)

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.

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.

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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