Category Archives: Free agency

Saints’ interest in Unger creates another shot at TE-focused offense

Jimmy Graham scores against the SeahawksIt turns out the Seahawks were not just getting rid of Max Unger in the Jimmy Graham deal.

Saints coach Sean Payton specifically asked John Schneider about acquiring the former Pro Bowl center, and then the two sides began talking about compensation.

The first-round pick the Hawks included in the deal made it seem as if Seattle had approached New Orleans about Graham, but that’s not the way it happened, according to Schneider and other sources.

“They had strong interest in Max,” the Seattle GM told 710 ESPN. “They really want to fix their center positon (and) concentrate on their defense. For us, it was, ‘OK, who are the players involved?’ (Graham) came into the fray and we started talking about it.”

The Saints apparently were still at odds with Graham over the franchise tag battle last year, when the tagged him as a tight end and he filed a grievance seeking to be tagged as a wide receiver, which would have paid him about $5 million more. He ended up signing a four-year, $40 million contract.

Now the Hawks have him for the final three years of that deal — assuming they don’t change it or he somehow doesn’t work out.

This is the latest — and perhaps best — chance for the Seahawks to create the kind of tight-end-focused offense they have tried in the past.

Continue reading Saints’ interest in Unger creates another shot at TE-focused offense

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D-line market grows; will Hawks check out Starks and Johnson?

Randy StarksThe Seahawks have always loved veteran defensive linemen. Just look at their starting four last season: Three free agents and Brandon Mebane, who was drafted by the previous regime.

It has been suggested that the 30-year-old Mebane, coming off a torn hamstring and due $5.5 million this year, could be a cap casualty.

The Hawks’ defensive line accounts for the biggest percentage of the salary cap of any part of the team — the $33 million slated to be paid to that unit this year is 23 percent of the cap. Only the Rams’, Bills’ and Dolphins’ defensive lines account for more among NFL D-lines (per OverTheCap.com).

That, along with the uncertainty around free agent Kevin Williams, explains why the Hawks have been snooping around veteran defensive tackles.

The Hawks reportedly talked to defensive tackle Ricky Jean-Francois before he signed with Washington and were said to be interested in former Arizona defensive tackle Darnell Dockett before he signed with the 49ers.

Now you can add a few more names to that list after Miami cut Randy Starks, Tampa Bay cut Michael Johnson and word is the Hawks are among the interested parties in Denver UFA Terrance “Pot Roast” Knighton. Also out there is longtime Patriot Vince Wilfork.

Continue reading D-line market grows; will Hawks check out Starks and Johnson?

Hawks need cap space: How can they make some?

Salary cap logoUnless the Seahawks alter Jimmy Graham’s contract, they have about $15 million in cap space. But they will need to earmark about $5 million of that for rookie bonuses, practice squad players and injury replacements next season, and they probably will need about $8 million in additional cap space for the extensions for Russell Wilson and Bobby Wagner.

With free-agent needs on both lines and possibly at receiver and backup quarterback, basic math tells us the Hawks need to create some space at some point. How can they do that?

Continue reading Hawks need cap space: How can they make some?

Hawks have not lost much on the line; it’s time to upgrade anyway

Hawks lined upThe Seahawks’ offensive line has been a mess for years. The unit has not started the same five since 2007 and has averaged seven combinations per year under Pete Carroll.

It’s not for a lack of trying. Since 2009, the Hawks have drafted two linemen in the first round and two in the second.

But that group has just not stayed healthy or developed as a unit — so it’s no surprise at all that the Hawks let two so-called starters go Tuesday.

Center Max Unger missed 13 games over the past two seasons, and left guard James Carpenter never played a full season in four years as a Seahawk. The Hawks were no longer interested in paying Unger, preferring to bring in Pro Bowl tight end Jimmy Graham instead, and they were not going to keep Carpenter for $5 million a year either.

Some people are wringing their hands over the loss of two nominal starters, but the fact is they were more like part-time starters, the Hawks did well enough without them and it’s time to bring in some new blood.

Continue reading Hawks have not lost much on the line; it’s time to upgrade anyway

Good value: Hawks snagged a third-rounder in Graham deal, too

Byron Maxwell picks off a pass from Arizona QB Drew Stanton (Seahawks.com)One of the big questions coming out of the Seahawks’ trade Tuesday is whether they got the proper value in the deal.

We’d say it was a great deal for the Hawks — getting a first-round-caliber tight end and picks in the third and fourth rounds in exchange for a first-round pick and a second-round center whose value no longer matched that.

Yeah, we know: The deal between the Seahawks and Saints brought tight end Jimmy Graham and a fourth-round pick for center Max Unger and a first-rounder. Technically no third-rounder.

But that is not the way Seattle GM John Schneider is looking at it. Guaranteed he sees it this way: By trading for a top offensive player and not signing an unrestricted free agent at $8 million a year, he still will get a third-round comp pick in 2016 for losing Byron Maxwell to the Eagles at $10 million a year.

And you know he will be careful to make sure the Hawks lose more UFAs than they sign so that third-rounder comes to him. The Hawks are about to go plus-three in comp picks for 2016, losing Maxwell, James Carpenter (Jets) and Malcolm Smith (Raiders). Cary Williams and Will Blackmon do not count because they were released by their teams.

Continue reading Good value: Hawks snagged a third-rounder in Graham deal, too

Another blockbuster to start the league year: Hawks get ace tight end

Jimmy Graham scores against the SeahawksThe Seahawks reportedly have traded Max Unger and the No. 31 pick in the draft to the New Orleans Saints for tight end Jimmy Graham and a fourth-round pick.

The Hawks and Saints reportedly have been talking about the trade since Sunday. Seattle had reportedly lost a bidding war for Denver tight end Julius Thomas.

Graham is just 28 and could be a great solution to one of the Seahawks’ chief problems. Last year, the 6-foot-7 target caught 85 passes for 889 yards and 10 touchdowns.

A third-round pick in 2010, Graham has 386 catches for 4,752 yards and 51 touchdowns in 78 games.

It’s the second time in three years the Seahawks have traded their first-round pick for a veteran playmaker on offense, and they have to hope this deal works out much better than their blockbuster for Percy Harvin in 2013.

Continue reading Another blockbuster to start the league year: Hawks get ace tight end

Hawks address CB depth, other roster spots

Blackmon and WilliamsA day before free agency, the Seahawks took care of several roster questions — adding two cornerbacks and keeping two of their own pending free agents — while also learning James Carpenter probably will join Byron Maxwell on the way out of town.

The additions of 30-year-old cornerbacks Will Blackmon and Cary Williams address the major depth problem the Hawks face at that position — Maxwell leaving, Jeremy Lane dealing with a broken wrist and torn ACL, Richard Sherman healing up a torn ligament in his elbow and Tharold Simon apparently recovering from shoulder surgery.

Continue reading Hawks address CB depth, other roster spots

Is Browner an option to replace Maxwell? Plus, other free-agency notes

Browner and refWith Byron Maxwell headed to Philadelphia, the Seahawks are looking around for cornerbacks.

They could end up basically swapping cornerbacks with the Eagles — already having visited with former Philly corner Cary Williams. They could sign a Green Bay cornerback. And they could bring back an old friend.

That latter is not a reference to Walter Thurmond, whom many want the Hawks to re-sign. It is a takeaway from a Boston Herald report that the Patriots might let Brandon Browner go. They are allowing him to “explore his value around the league” before a $2 million roster bonus is due Tuesday.

Would the Seahawks want the 30-year-old corner back? They would have to be comfortable with the idea that he is in the league’s drug program and is still among the most penalized players in the NFL.

We’d pass, but it’s worth mentioning.

Continue reading Is Browner an option to replace Maxwell? Plus, other free-agency notes

Overpaid Maxwell might not last long in Philly

Hawks vs Packers MaxwellByron Maxwell owes Pete Carroll and Kris Richard a big vacation. Without those guys, he never would have become a $10 million player.

His looming deal with the Eagles, reportedly $60 million over six years and guaranteeing $25 million, is not far off the deal Richard Sherman signed last year: five years, $57.4 million with $40 million guaranteed. That’s the kind of overpayment free agency breeds.

The Hawks apparently tried to retain him, surprisingly offering as much as $8 million a year, but what chance did they have at that rate?

Seahawks fans are ruing the loss, but why? The Pete Carroll Secondary School made Maxwell, and they will make another guy just like him. Carroll is the key to Seattle’s secondary. Maxwell was just a cog.

Continue reading Overpaid Maxwell might not last long in Philly

Here’s a plan that adds Julius, Tramon & Paea

Julius Thomas vs SeahawksNow that the
Seahawks have
Marshawn Lynch locked up, they can get to work on the rest of their spring home improvement projects.

They basically broke even with the salary cap on Friday, with Lynch’s cap number remaining the same and Jermaine Kearse taking up the same $2.4 million slot that Zach Miller vacated. So, the Hawks still have around $24 million to work with as free agency ramps up this weekend and begins Tuesday.

That’s plenty of money for the Hawks to sign tight end Julius Thomas at $8 million a year ($6 million cap hit in 2015), defensive tackle Stephen Paea at $6 million a year ($3.5 million in 2015) and cornerback Tramon Williams at $5 million a year ($3.7 million in 2015).

Continue reading Here’s a plan that adds Julius, Tramon & Paea