Welcome to a free agent signing unlike any other for the Seattle Seahawks.
Over the past decade, the Seahawks have often been a kind of afterthought team in free agency, spending most of their money re-signing their own players and waiting for the second or third phase to try to meet few needs while hunting for bargains.
But this time, the Seahawks not only have more cap space than all but one other team, but also a clear need for the most important position in the game – quarterback.
Unless you’re buying they really think Drew Lock may be the answer.
If they actually do, that will be determined over the next few days as we see what the Seahawks do — or don’t do — to replace Russell Wilson.
Will they play trade for Houston quarterback Deshaun Watson? Will they sign a free agent like Marcus Mariota?
That’s one of the biggest questions facing the Seahawks as the free agent signing period begins this week.
So, with the “frenzy” officially upon us, here’s a little Q&A to get you ready.
What is the schedule for free agency?
First, a quick refresher on how it works. Starting at 9 a.m. Monday, teams can officially begin negotiating with agents of players whose contracts expire on Wednesday and become unrestricted free agents. Although contracts cannot be signed until the start of the new league year at 1 p.m. Wednesday, many top players will quickly reach agreements once the negotiation period begins, the so-called first phase of the league. free agency.
Who are Seattle’s free agents?
The Seahawks have 15 players who can go UFA on Wednesday: free safety Quandre Diggs, left tackle Duane Brown, running backs Rashaad Penny and Alex Collins, tight ends Will Dissly and Gerald Everett, defensive end Rasheem Green, offensive tackles Jamarco Jones and Brandon Shell, cornerbacks DJ Reed and Sidney Jones, center Ethan Pocic, quarterback Geno Smith and defensive linemen Al Woods and Robert Nkemdiche.
It should be remembered that the Seahawks can continue to discuss with their own players until the negotiation period begins on Monday.
They also have two players who are unrestricted free agents and will become UFAs on Wednesday if they aren’t signed or made a qualifying offer — cornerback Bless Austin and offensive lineman Kyle Fuller.
The Seahawks kept a restricted free agent in the fold on Saturday when they placed an original bid on guard Phil Haynes, which means he will receive a salary of $2.54 million in 2022. he is on the team and can match any offer he may receive and receive compensation if he signs elsewhere in the form of a fourth-round pick, the Haynes round was won in 2019.
Are the Seahawks really making a run at Watson?
The Seahawks were prominently mentioned as a candidate to trade Watson on Friday after it was revealed he would not be charged with sexual assault and harassment charges.
But as the weekend wore on, the Seahawks seemed to be more on the periphery with other teams seen as more likely landing spots, including the Panthers (always seen as a favorite to get Watson, who played at nearby Clemson), the Saints and Buccaneers, with the Browns and Vikings also thought to be interested.
The NFL Network reported Sunday that the Saints and Panthers have each made offers for Watson, with the Texans wanting a package that would include three first-round picks in return.
A report from the Pro Football Network said the Texans should soon allow Watson to speak with interested teams “about his fit and their vision for him.”
Watson has a no-trade clause under a four-year, $156 million deal that a new team will inherit and can veto any decision.
Watson is slated for a $35 million salary in 2022, with Seattle already on the hook for a $26 million dead cap for Wilson. So adding Watson would mean the Seahawks would have $61 million of their $208.2 million total salary cap spent on the quarterback job in 2022. That would mean Seattle would surely be looking to rework Watson’s deal to push back. the ceiling reached in the years to come.
Do the Seahawks really consider Lock a candidate to start?
From the minute the trade was made, the Seahawks thought Lock had more untapped potential than his three years in Denver might have revealed. He was 8-13 as a starter with a 25-20 touchdown to interception ratio.
ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reported on Sunday that the Seahawks indeed did not consider Lock a “touch”, stating: “There is a belief among some in Seattle that Lock’s problems in Denver were a byproduct of a revolving door of offensive coordinators and a defender-minded head coach’ and that he is a ‘viable fallback option’.
The fact that the Seahawks have also been a team with something of a revolving door in offensive coordinators — three since 2017 — and a defensive-minded coach didn’t go unnoticed by many on social media Sunday.
The Seahawks enter free agency with only Lock and Jacob Eason, although they are also expected to re-sign Smith.
The seriousness with which the Seahawks view Lock as a candidate to start in 2022 will become clearer by how aggressively they pursue a veteran over the coming weeks.
What are the top priorities for Seahawks free agents?
The Seahawks have nearly $46 million in cap space, according to OvertheCap.com, ranked fourth in the NFL.
That, along with the five Wilson trade-acquired picks, gives them plenty of ammunition to make moves over the next week.
Wilson’s trade obviously makes it less certain which direction the team is heading, although few people think Pete Carroll – at 70 – is thinking of anything other than doing whatever it takes to win now.
How the Seahawks approach the free agency period could also provide an answer to the path the team thinks it will take for 2022.
Prior to the Wilson trade, the biggest priority seemed to be re-signing Brown, Diggs and Penny, with the departures of any big holes they will have to fill in some other way.
A report from ESPN on Sunday said the Seahawks were hoping to re-sign Diggs before Wednesday, which would answer a big question.
How the market might develop for Brown will be one of the biggest mysteries entering free agency as he turns 37 ahead of next season. But the Seahawks don’t have an obvious replacement for him on the roster.
Penny also played her way to a big payday at the end of the season, and it’s still unclear what they can expect from Chris Carson in 2022 after undergoing neck surgery last season.
It’s also worth wondering if the Seahawks are making a big move to replace Bobby Wagner, or really consider Cody Barton can fill that role (and also if they see the linebacker job differently now with the potential to use more than 3 -4 looks next year, which somewhat devalues the center linebacker position).
Everett probably looks screwed now that the Seahawks acquired Denver’s Noah Fant as part of the Wilson trade.
As a position, the edge rusher seems to be the main need. The Seahawks acquired Shelby Harris to add to Wilson’s trade-rush pass mix, but will no doubt do more.