(UPDATE: Justin Britt and D.J. Fluker were cut after this was posted.)
In the wake of the draft, and with most of us thinking Seattle still should sign a star pass rusher, there’s a lot of fan chatter about vets who might/should be cut.
Justin Britt makes sense, as we have said, because B.J. Finney looks like the new center. But some fans want Seattle to ditch K.J. Wright, Bradley McDougald, D.J. Fluker and Jacob Hollister.
Yeah, by all means, let’s cut some of the most dependable veterans and try to contend for a Super Bowl with rookies instead. Brilliant strategy!
Sure, Pete Carroll and John Schneider have said they drafted guys who they felt could push for playing time in a pandemic-affected offseason. But to think Jordyn Brooks, Marquise Blair, Damien Lewis and Colby Parkinson are going to replace the aforementioned vets this year, with very limited prep time, is ludicrous.
Yeah, those four vets could return over $17 million in cap space — enough to pay Jadeveon Clowney on that reported one-year, $15 million offer.
But Seattle has many other ways to create cap space that do not involve gutting the veteran core. Britt will return $8.5 million, and the Hawks can add almost $6 million more by releasing Nick Bellore and Ethan Pocic and cutting the three original-round RFA salaries down to minimums. There is no reason to pay $2.1 million to backups David Moore, Joey Hunt and Branden Jackson. The Hawks often cut RFA salaries after the draft, so expect it with these guys.
But don’t expect it with Hollister, who is the team’s only dependable tight end and would not have gotten a second-round tender ($3.26 million) if the Hawks didn’t think he was going to be a big part of the team again in 2020. Carroll raved about him as he carried the injury-plagued position in 2019.
After the draft, Carroll talked about his tight end group and brought up Hollister: “We had great play from Jake last year in a versatile role. As we went through the season, we learned more and more about Jake. He gives us a chance to do some things that are unique just to Jake that nobody else will do.”
Does that sound like a player who is going to be cut or asked to take a pay reduction?
People also keep talking about cutting Wright and McDougald, even though both continue to play excellent football. Brooks is not going to beat out Wright, not by a long shot. Blair should have played a lot more as a rookie, but he didn’t and that means he likely will remain far behind McDougald in this limited-prep year. Let the vets teach those young guys, who can then possibly replace them in 2021.
As for Fluker, a lot of fans seem to think Lewis is going to beat him out. Carroll said he would get that chance, which is what Always ComPete usually says. But there is no reason to let a good veteran go until he is actually beaten out. Cutting Fluker now would be as stupid as releasing any of the other good vets people are talking about. (UPDATE: The Hawks did indeed cut Fluker, a clear sign they think Lewis and their other guards can handle right guard more cheaply.)
The Seahawks are unlikely to bring back Clowney anyway, even if Carroll and John Schneider say the door is still open. And, after drafting two pass rushers, they probably are not going to sign Everson Griffen either — even if we all think they should.
So they probably need money only to sign a defensive tackle, running back (despite drafting one) and backup quarterback. And they won’t pay much for those guys. Britt’s $8.5 million should be more than enough.
Even if the Hawks do surprise us and sign Clowney or Griffen, they could easily make more space by doing a simple restructure of Russell Wilson’s $18 million salary.
So here’s some sage advice: Don’t listen to the fans who are overly giddy about the draft and think raw rookies are going to replace experienced starters and help Seattle get back to the Super Bowl.
Wright, McDougald and Hollister
(and probably Fluker) aren’t going anywhere.