2020 free agency chatter

Logo -- Free agencyOne of the Seahawks’ key remaining needs was a veteran running back, and they addressed it by signing Carlos Hyde on Friday.

The Seahawks reportedly offered Devonta Freeman a deal worth up to $4 million, but he apparently wanted more and they moved on — apparently giving a similar deal to Hyde instead.

Hyde bolsters a backfield whose top two rushers are recovering from injuries. Chris Carson (hip) is expected to be ready for the season, but Rashaad Penny (ACL) is likely to miss the first six weeks on PUP. The Hawks also have Travis Homer and rookie DeeJay Dallas. Hyde should compete with Homer for the No. 2 spot behind Carson.

Hyde, the 49ers’ second-round pick in 2014, has bounced around the league in the past two years — going from Cleveland to Jacksonville to Houston, where he ran for 1,070 yards (at 4.4 per carry) in 2019. He can catch the ball, too; he caught 59 passes for the 49ers in 2017.

Hyde reportedly is signing a one-year deal that could be worth up to $4 million — and probably is worth a base $2 million or so.

The Hawks have around $4 million to $8 million for veterans right now (depending whether you want to deduct injury payouts to four “failed physical” terminations). They can add around $6 million more through a couple of minor cuts (Nick Bellore, Ethan Pocic) and RFA contract adjustments.

Hyde’s signing should quell the excitement over any Marshawn Lynch redux. He got everyone fired up when he told ESPN his agent “has been in talks with Seattle.”

“We’ll see what happens,” he said. “If it works out and I get back up there, it is what it is. If not … I’m looking good, so I ain’t really trippin’ too much.”

Russell Wilson apparently still is interested in Seattle signing troubled receiver Antonio Brown. No idea why the buttoned-down QB would have any interest in a mentally disturbed guy who has been accused of sexual assault and harassment, among other crimes. The Seahawks would be stupid to bring a cancer like that into their locker room (they should have learned from the Percy Harvin failure, among others).

The Hawks more likely would be interested in bringing back Josh Gordon, assuming he is reinstated and they are confident he has his personal demons under lockdown — and he’s ecstatic to play for the league minimum. He seems interested in returning and is petitioning to be let back into the league yet again.

Of course, it might just be better for him to focus on fixing his life once and for all and move on from the enabling culture of football.

The Seahawks looked to solve an issue at cornerback in March, trading a fifth-round pick to Washington for Quinton Dunbar. He was expected to beat out Tre Flowers for the spot opposite Shaquill Griffin — and possibly battle Griffin for a long-term contract next offseason.

But, on May 14 came news that he was suddenly wanted for armed robbery, allegedly committed the previous night alongside Giants 2019 first-round CB Deandre Baker.

The victims/witnesses recanted via affidavits within 48 hours, and now we watch to see where it goes. It seems to be leaning toward Dunbar’s innocence, which would mean the Hawks probably would keep him and hope the NFL did not try to suspend him. If the original charges stick though, the Hawks will have to go with Flowers or add another veteran.

After Dunbar was acquired, Flowers promised to improve, tweeting, “I can still do more. I’ll be better!”

The Hawks could bring in someone like Eli Apple, or perhaps bring back nickel corner Jamar Taylor, who played OK for them in 2019 before they dropped him.

Everson Griffen reportedly is interested in playing for Seattle, but the Hawks are thought to still be waiting on Jadeveon Clowney, with Griffen the backup option.

Griffen has received several offers, with Arizona and Dallas both interested, ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler told 710 ESPN on May 14. Fowler thinks Griffen was hoping for $10 million a year, but the offers are thought to be somewhere between $5 million and $8 million.

The Seahawks could easily structure a two-year deal for Griffen that counts $5 million in 2020.

Clowney appears no closer to finding a team, with Tennessee and Philadelphia both seemingly out on him.

The Eagles reportedly have not been in touch and would not be interested unless his price dropped to $10 million. And Tennessee, for the umpteenth time, said there was nothing brewing with Clowney.

The Browns nearly signed Clowney for “pretty good money,” but he nixed it because he thought it was not enough, Fowler said.

Clowney seems determined to wait until he can visit teams, and Seattle seems to have moved on, with John Schneider saying recently: “We gave it a run and now we’ve got to keep going.”

ESPN reported there is no offer on the table now, and Clowney considers Seattle a backup plan anyway.

On May 14, Pro Football Talk kept up the silly talk of Seattle wanting to trade Wilson — and then, on cue, the Hawks brought back Geno Smith. It was a long-awaited move to secure Wilson’s backup for 2020 — thankfully ending (we hope) speculation about Cam Newton possibly coming to Seattle.

Smith’s most famous moment last season came when his overtime coin toss was misheard by a big swath of fans after Seattle’s win over San Francisco in November.

Smith agreed to a one-year deal, likely for the veteran benefit.

After drafting guard Damien Lewis, the Seahawks quickly moved to drop D.J. Fluker, their starting right guard the past two years. They also made the long-awaited release of Justin Britt, who had started for them since he was a rookie in 2014.

The moves returned over $12 million in salary cap space. The Hawks basically had no room to add anyone — their remaining space was devoted to rookie bonus proration, practice squad salaries and the injury slush fund. These two moves will give them cap space as they look for veterans at defensive tackle, running back and quarterback.

Schneider told KJR they were actually making room for any cap cuts from other teams: “There will be cap casualty guys out there throughout the offseason. What you don’t want to do is bring yourself right to the point (against the cap) where you’re not able to add players that are all of a sudden available on the market that you didn’t see coming.”

Mayowa said the Seahawks wanted to bring him back in 2018 and 2019, but he went to Arizona in 2018 and Oakland in 2019.

“It was just a better opportunity in Arizona, so I went to Arizona and balled there for a year and then kind of the same thing (happened) in Oakland,” Mayowa told 710 ESPN’s John Clayton. “In the league, you want to keep your career going someway somehow, so you check rosters to see how you’d fit in, and that’s what I did both times, and that’s the reason I didn’t come back. This time it’s just the best opportunity and the right place to continue my career.”

Seattle sweetened the offer by guaranteeing $3 million to Mayowa. Bruce Irvin probably got a similar deal. Word is Mayowa will play LEO and Irvin may play mostly SAM, rushing on passing downs.

Mayowa, 28, and Irvin both return to Seattle after stints with Oakland and others. Mayowa, who was signed as an undrafted rookie by Seattle in 2013, had seven sacks for the Raiders last season and has had 18 the past four years (six for Dallas in 2016).

Since leaving Seattle in 2016, Irvin has tallied 29.5 sacks — including a career-best 8.5 for Carolina last season.

Irvin, back on a deal paying him about $6 million, said he wanted to return to Seattle after playing the Hawks with Carolina last season. After the Seahawks beat the Eagles in the playoffs, he texted Bobby Wagner, “Damn, I wish I was on that plane (with the Hawks).”

Irvin said he is “a more polished player” now than when he left Seattle to sign with Oakland in 2016. He said he will play the same dual linebacker/pass rusher role again, helping Seattle’s young pass rushers.

Schneider said the Seahawks are “very comfortable with” and “confident in” Bruce Irvin and Benson Mayowa, the once and future Seahawks who are their only current veteran pass rushers.

“We’re excited about having those guys back,” Schneider said. “L.J. (Collier) will have a year under his belt, and hopefully we can keep him healthy.”

Regarding the pass rush overall, Schneider admitted the team’s recent failures: “Obviously, we need to do a better job in that regard — and that’s from an acquisition standpoint, from a developmental standpoint and from a schematic standpoint.”

After the GM said this, the Seahawks drafted Taylor and Robinson.

 

Dorsett loves Wilson

Phillip Dorsett, signed to compete for the third receiver spot, is excited to work with Wilson.

The former first-rounder has had a disappointing career, never catching more than 33 passes in a season. He caught 29 for New England last year. But the deep-ball speedster sounds very excited to be catching long balls from Wilson in 2020.

Dorsett told ESPN’s Josina Anderson: “Seattle felt like the best opportunity to be the player I know I can be as a WR. I spoke to Russell Wilson on Face Time while he was working out. Shows you his work ethic. That got me extra excited. I think overall it’s just right for me.”

Dorsett praised Wilson some more on KJR: “I personally believe he’s the best deep-ball thrower in the NFL. You can see it week in and week out with DK (Metcalf) and Tyler (Lockett).”

Dorsett said he has been watching the Seahawks on NFL Game Pass (offered for free during the pandemic lockdown), “and you can see it every possession. His deep-ball ability and then the way he plays. You can just see it. He’s a magician. I feel like honestly he doesn’t get as much credit as he deserves. He’s a great quarterback and the way he does what he does under the center back there is amazing. He’s a magician. He’s Houdini and he can make every throw. It’s a blessing that I get to play with him, and I can’t wait to get there and work him.”

Other signings

The Seahawks re-signed Mike Iupati on April 14, giving him $2.5 million for 2020.

Iupati returned to a packed lineman room, with the Hawks also having added B.J. Finney, Brandon Shell, Cedric Ogbuehi and Chance Warmack. They then drafted Damien Lewis.

Iupati seems the favorite to start at left guard, but he could be pushed by Phil Haynes or Jamarco Jones — though one or both of those guys could be in the mix at the recently vacated right guard spot.

Somewhat surprisingly, the Seahawks managed to keep Jarran Reed, paying him $23 million over two years.

Based on the early deals for defensive tackles, Reed knew he wasn’t going to break the bank. The top contract was Javon Hargrave’s three-year, $39 million deal with Philadelphia. Michael Brockers got $10 million a year to stay with the Rams after a deal with Baltimore fell through, and David Onyemata got $9 million APY to stay in New Orleans.

Reed had said $10 million would be “disrespectfully low,” but he got a bit more to stay and rehab his value over the next two years. The Seahawks clearly are hoping to see the 2018 version of Reed.

He will get $14.5 million in 2020 if he plays in every game. He got a $10 million signing bonus and salaries of $4.1 million in 2020 and $8.075 million in 2021. He also has $2.3 million in game bonuses and sack incentives, so the deal could be worth almost $25 million.

Former Pittsburgh reserve B.J. Finney signed a two-year deal worth $8 million (and up to $9.5 million). Finney can play every interior spot, but he seems set to replace Britt at center.

The Hawks also have replaced Germain Ifedi and George Fant with Shell and Ogbuehi. Shell, who started for the Jets the past three years, got $11 million over two years — presumably to play right tackle. He basically swaps teams with Fant, who was given $9 million a year by the Jets. Ifedi signed with Chicago.

Clowney, Shell’s former teammate at South Carolina, reportedly told the tackle he would enjoy playing for Carroll.

Ogbuehi is coming on a one-year, $2.3 million deal. The former Cincinnati first-rounder figures to be the swing backup tackle and possibly fill Fant’s sixth-man role.

Shell’s arrival means Jamarco Jones can stay at left guard, which means Finney can head to center (where the team lists him) and Britt can head out. The Hawks got Finney (counting $3.5 million) and Shell for less than the $8.5 million they can save off cutting Britt.

Chance Warmack, who didn’t play in 2019, was the fourth O-lineman signed by Seattle in a flurry in March. It’s just a flier on a once-talented player, and he won’t even affect the salary cap (vet-minimum players count just $750,000, which is the bottom of Seattle’s roster right now anyway).

Warmack, the 10th pick in the 2013 draft, is the seventh player among the top 13 in that bad draft that the Seahawks have had on their team. D.J. Fluker, picked at No. 11, is still on the team. Others who have come through Seattle and not offered much: No. 2 Luke Joeckel, No. 3 Dion Jordan, No. 5 Ziggy Ansah, No. 6 Barkevious Mingo and No. 13 Sheldon Richardson. The Hawks also had Geno Smith, the 39th overall pick, last year.

As expected, the Seahawks tendered Jacob Hollister at the second-round level ($3.26 million), and you can expect him to play an even bigger role than he did in 2019 — because Will Dissly is recovering from another major leg injury and Greg Olsen, 34, likely won’t be available for every game.

Seattle also tendered David Moore, Joey Hunt and Branden Jackson. For now, they all are tied to the team for $2.13 million each. But you probably can expect them to reduce their salaries at some point this spring, if they want to stay with Seattle. The Hawks often do that with backup RFAs.

Luke Willson indicated he will be returning as well, which is what Schneider had said at the Combine. Willson will add camp depth as Dissly recovers and Olsen takes it easy until the season starts. If Dissly comes back healthy, though, it is tough to see Willson sticking — especially after Seattle drafted Colby Parkinson in the fourth round.

The Seahawks signed Olsen to a one-year deal worth up to $7 million, including $5.5 million guaranteed.

Olsen, who turned 35 on March 11, has battled injuries in recent seasons, but he caught 52 passes last season for a Carolina team that played without Cam Newton most of the way.

“It was just too good of an opportunity to pass up,” Olsen told Seahawks.com. “Their track record of success, consistency of winning. I’ve played in this city many times, and just the fan base, the excitement, that stadium is one of the more unique venues in all of sports. And obviously Coach Carroll, playing with somebody like Russell, it just checks so many boxes I was looking for, and I’m confident I can just come in and do my part and help try to put (us) over the edge.”

Other departures

Fant got his wish: He will get to start after agreeing to a three-year, $30 million deal with the Jets. The Jets drafted Mekhi Becton in the first round, so it remains to be seen which side Fant starts on — but the Jets are not paying him $10 million a year to be a backup.

After Detroit paid former Philly backup tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai $10 million a year, it seemed clear Fant would get paid, too.

Ifedi figured to get similar money, but he ended up signing a disappointing one-year deal with Chicago.

Quinton Jefferson also said his goodbyes, as expected. He was destined to have a good market and reportedly had garnered interest from several teams. He signed a two-year, $13.5 million deal with Buffalo.

Al Woods signed with Jacksonville for $2.75 million. He was not expected back in Seattle.

Fluker’s classy goodbye

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