2022 offseason chatter

The Seahawks started the offseason with a bang, trading Russell Wilson and releasing Bobby Wagner — their longtime superstars.

Keep up with all the news and rumors here. You can check out our annual tracker as well.

Quarterbacks are in the news.

Geno Smith re-signed on a deal that reportedly could pay him $7 million if he starts. The base reportedly is $3.5 million, though the guarantees have not yet been revealed. It’s still a fair-priced signing for a No. 2 QB who may end up starting.

Meanwhile, Baker Mayfield thinks Seattle is his “most likely” destination whenever and however he leaves Cleveland. But the Seahawks are not interesting in paying him anywhere near his guaranteed option figure of $18.9 million.

The Seahawks are the team many expect Mayfield to end up with, although Carolina looms as a possibility.

At the owners’ meetings March 30, Pete Carroll said the Seahawks are “still in the quarterback business.”

“There are some veterans still out there to be had,” he said. “We’re still looking.”

Having added Deshaun Watson and Jacoby Brissett, the Browns want to get rid of Mayfield. But no one wants to trade for his $18.9 million guaranteed salary.

Browns GM Andrew Berry has postured as if he might just keep Mayfield until a desperate team turns up, and he apparently has said he would not give a team a draft pick to absorb most of that salary.

Cleveland was involved in this kind of deal in 2017, taking QB Brock Osweiler’s $16 million salary off Houston’s hands while also getting a sixth-rounder and second-rounder in exchange for a fourth. Essentially, the Browns bought the equivalent of the No. 37 pick in the draft by taking on Osweiler’s salary.

It appears the Hawks would be interested only if they could have Mayfield for pretty cheap — probably around what they are paying Smith.

Carroll seems to be comfortable with the idea of Drew Lock and Smith competing with a rookie.

“I know Seattle has done their homework on Mayfield,” ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler said. “They’ve watched film on him among coaches. They’ve talked about him at the front-office levels. But this is a team (that re-signed) Geno Smith. They like Drew Lock. And they’re heavy on … the quarterbacks in this draft class. So hardly a slam dunk that this happens at all.”

Metcalf mumblings

At the owners’ meetings, Carroll and John Schneider used their code word “intend” when talking about extending DK Metcalf. It’s the same language Carroll used when referring to Wilson, so fans should brace for the possibility of a big trade ahead of the draft.

“We intend for him to be with us,” Carroll said. “We’d love to figure that out. … We’re not to that topic yet, specifically because we’ve got so many other things going on. But we’d love to have him. There’s no way I could imagine playing without him.”

Pretty much the same stuff Carroll said about Wilson, as you may recall.

Schneider had the same iffy response about an extension for the fourth-year rising star: “Yeah, that’s our intent.”

Several teams are in the market for a veteran star receiver. We ran through those options in our first draft notebook.

In 2019, the Seahawks traded Frank Clark days before the draft. So, if Metcalf is moved, it likely will happen at a similar time.

Hawks still love paying their tight ends

The Seahawks picked up Noah Fant’s fifth-year option — the first time they have used that mechanism. That guarantees him about $6.85 million in 2023.

The Hawks now will be paying their top two tight ends $13 million next year.

They previously signed Will Dissly to a three-year deal worth $24 million. The $8 million average is a massive overpay, double Dissly’s projected market rate.

Schneider has a really bad habit of overpaying tight ends — whether it was Zach Miller, Jimmy Graham, Greg Olsen, Jacob Hollister or now Dissly.

At the owners meetings, he said another team that knows Dissly well was wooing him. He defended the overpay thusly: “Offensively right now, his leadership is huge. He’s a core dude on the offense.”

Some think the Hawks will be much better at using their tight ends with the short Wilson gone. We’ll see.

Wagner returns to L.A.

Wagner is returning to his hometown of Los Angeles as a member of the Super Bowl champion Rams. He reportedly got a good deal, too: $10 million a year on a five-year contract worth up to $65 million.

Wagner also reportedly had visited the Ravens, who seemed to be the favorites but apparently decided $10 million a year was too rich.

Not only does he get to go home, but Wagner will get two reunion games against the Seahawks each year. He was not happy with the poor communication about his release, which both Carroll and Schneider expressed regret over.

Wagner said he didn’t sign with the Rams specifially to get back at hte Seahawks, but, “Playing the Seahawks twice a year was a cherry on top.”

He had a lot more to say about his departure and signing with the Rams, via Seattle Sports 710.

Status of other UFAs

Schneider said Carlos Dunlap, cut for cap purposes for a second straight year, could return.

“We’re keeping the door open to bring him back because he’s such a good pass rusher,” the GM said.

Both tackles are still unsigned and Carroll said the Seahawks want both Duane Brown and Brandon Shell back.

Denver chose Billy Turner over Shell, who had visited the Broncos. Shell did not have surgery on his injured shoulder, choosing to rehab it instead, Carroll said.

Brown’s market has been quiet other than reported interest from Carolina.

Rasheem Green also has had a quiet market. He was in Baltimore last week, but there has not been any other reported interest. He had the bad luck of becoming a free agent in a strong draft year for pass rushers.

Secondary situation

The Hawks have signed three corners to one-year deals: Sidney Jones, Artie Burns and Justin Coleman. That gives them decent options for starters and nickel, with the draft possibly bringing another.

Ugo Amadi could be the odd man out, especially because he got a CBA-mandated pay bump to $2.54 million for 2022.

For now, Carroll said Amadi and Marquise Blair will remain in the nickel competition. “That’s a very competitive position.”

Jones said he really wanted to return to Seattle, where he played at UW and is very comfortable with the Seahawks’ defense now.

“I had a rough start to my career” in Philly, he said, but last season in Seattle “everything just started to click and come together. And when I’m like that, I’m at my best, so I believe the future is very bright.”

Coleman signed a one-year deal. Coleman was good as Seattle’s nickel in 2017 and 2018, earning a big payday from Detroit. But he lasted just two years there before having a good 2021 season in Miami.

Coleman explained his return: “Pete Carroll, I feel like, is one of the greatest coaches. And I just missed this place. I missed the energy that this place brings, I missed the fans, missed the players, missed the coaches, everybody …”

Diggs said he talked to Pete Carroll about the franchise’s direction after Wilson and Wagner were let go. Diggs was told, “We’re not in a rebuild mode. We’re trying to get this back rolling.” And he was comfortable with that explanation.

He said he talked to about 15 teams before re-signing. His priority was feeling “comfortable and not having to move my family around the country, and just being somewhere where the coaches trust me, people in the building know me.”

More QB talk

Lock is ready to compete against whoever comes in. He told reporters he is happy to have a fresh start and return to a similar offense to the one he ran with success as a rookie in Denver.

“That system holds a dear place in my heart because I was playing really good football at that time,” said Lock, who went 4-1 with a 7-3 TD-INT ratio in those starts at the end of this rookie season. “It’s exciting to be able to get back to a system that’s like that.”

He made no excuses for his poor play in 2020 and 2021 (4-12 with an 18-17 TD-INT ledger), but he also pointed out that Denver fired his OC after his successful rookie stint and he had to learn a new offense in 2020 without any on-field work due to the pandemic.

“I’m just gonna have the mindset of competing the whole time I’m here,” Lock said. “I’m gonna come in, I’m gonna work hard. Work harder than anybody else in this building. I’m gonna show it to these guys to try to gain their trust. Show them that I’m here to work; and if you put a little faith in me, I have a very talented skill set that will help us win football games.”

Colin Kaepernick worked out with Seattle receivers Tyler Lockett in Houston and then Aaron Fuller in Seattle in March and early April.

Kaepernick, who is 34 and has not played since January 2017, said he is “still hoping that door is open and get a chance to walk through it.”

He confirmed that he talked to Carroll, but the coach — in several media appearances — was less than lukewarm about possibly adding Kaepernick.

Schneider was equally noncommittal. He pointed out that Kaepernick has not played in five years, which should tell everyone what they need to know: Seattle is not signing him.

Penny turned up again

Rashaad Penny came back for one year and $5.75 million, with incentives that could push it to $6.5 million. He apparently turned down more money elsewhere, but we doubt it was much more.

“Just kind of felt like it was a no-brainer for me to come back,” he said.

The top APY for a running back who changed teams has been Chase Edmonds’ $6 million from Miami. James Conner got $7 million per year to stay with Arizona. But most of the other backs so far have signed for $2.5 million or less.

As we have said, that is what we would have paid Penny — with incentives that could bump him as high as $6 million.

At least Seattle made it a prove-it deal. Anything more would have been folly.

D-line swaps

The Seahawks have vastly remade their front five on defense.

They cut Dunlap, Kerry Hyder and Benson Mayowa and replaced them with Shelby Harris, Uchenna Nwosu and Quinton Jefferson. The former three were not fits in Clint Hurtt’s new 3-4 scheme, while the additions all are.

Dunlap was designated a June 1 cut, which will return $4.925 million on the salary cap. He will count $4.2 million in dead money in 2023. Hyder departs after just one year. He returns about $2 million.

The Seahawks’ first outside addition was former Chargers linebacker Nwosu, who reportedly gets a two-year, $20 million deal, including $10.5 million guaranteed.

Nwosu (6-2, 251) had 15 sacks in four seasons with the Chargers, who drafted him in the second round in 2018.

At $10 million per year, the most Seattle has ever paid for an outside free agent, he figures to be heavily involved in the pass rush.

Schneider called Nwosu “a dang good outside pass rusher.”

Harris is a 3-technique pass rusher, and Schneider said the Seahawks wish they had signed him a few years ago when he visited as a free agent.

The Seahawks also gave DT Al Woods a nice raise, re-signing him to a two-year deal worth $9 million. Woods, 34, had a great season in 2021 — coming off an opt-out rest year during the pandemic.

Meanwhile, Chandler Jones reportedly signed with the Raiders for around $17 million a year. The Seahawks were reported to have some interest, but not at that price. They weren’t among the teams Jones reportedly considered.

More on secondary moves

The Seahawks did well to keep Diggs before free agency began.

Diggs’ deal is for $13.3 million per year, which is just under the $14 million mark we thought he would want (and should get).

He has been their top playmaker on defense over the past two years, so they really needed to keep the 29-year-old Pro Bowl player. He is recovering from a leg injury and expected to be in good health for training camp.

As expected, the Seahawks were unable to re-sign D.J. Reed, who reportedly got a three-year, $33 million deal from the Jets.

It was an expected blow to the secondary, but Seattle retained Jones (one year, $3.6 million).

The Hawks quickly backfilled at corner with Burns, a former first-round pick by Pittsburgh who played for Sean Desai, Seattle’s new associate head coach of defense, in Chicago in 2021. Burns’ deal is for just one year, at $2 million.

Even with Coleman also added, the Hawks still need to find another starting-caliber corner, likely in the draft.

Center switch

The Seahawks added center Austin Blythe, who started for the Rams in 2018-20. He reunites with Shane Waldron and Andy Dickerson and figures to replace Ethan Pocic for 2022.

His deal is reportedly for one year and $4 million — a big boost over his 2021 salary of $990,000 with Kansas City, where he played in just four games after sports hernia surgery.

The Hawks have to hope he is not another B.J. Finney (also signed for $4 million). They should be looking for a center in the draft either way.

Waldron and Dickerson certainly hope to see the 2020 version of Blythe. He was rated the 13th-best center in the league by PFF that year.

Meanwhile, versatile lineman Jamarco Jones left for a two-year, $5.75 million deal with Tennessee.

The Seahawks essentially picked Phil Haynes over Jones, tendering Haynes for $2.54 million.

COMPutations

The Seahawks have not had any comp picks since 2020, when they got Darrell Taylor, DeeJay Dallas and Freddie Swain. In fact, that is the only year in the past five that they have gotten any comps. They didn’t get any this year either, but let’s follow along for the 2023 possibilities …

The Seahawks are even in the COMPetition, losing Reed, Everett and Jones but signing Nwosu, Jefferson and Blythe.

Rasheem Green should qualify as he signs elsewhere. We’ll see whether Duane Brown and Brandon Shell return; if not, they will figure in the formula, too.

Speaking of comp picks, the bad Hyder and Ahkello Witherspoon signings last year ended up costing the Seahawks a 2022 fourth-round pick for losing Shaquill Griffin and a seventh for David Moore.

Cap space

The Seahawks have about $9 million to add free agents, but they could add up to $13.5 million more by trading Metcalf and releasing Amadi, Carson and Jason Myers.

Projected UFA values

(Based on OTC valuations, Spotrac market value or PFF projections)

FS Quandre Diggs $12M — re-signed for $13.3M
LT Duane Brown $10M
CB D.J. Reed $8M — signed with Jets for $11M
TE Gerald Everett $7.5M — signed with Chargers for $6M
RT Brandon Shell $6.25M
DL Rasheem Green $5.8M
TE Will Dissly $4M — re-signed for $8M
RB Rashaad Penny $3M — re-signed for $5.75M
CB Sidney Jones $3M — re-signed for $3.6M

What they said

Coming or going, here are some of the hellos and goodbyes from new and old Seahawks (and a few complaints and mea culpas):

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