Last year saw Seattle take a slightly different approach, offering a variety of 1 year deals to various players on both sides of the ball. This has both benefits and downfalls. Benefits being if the player doesn’t perform as expected, you’re not tied in with any dead money the following year, the hindrance being the lack of cap flexibility with the contract, plus, if the player outperforms his contract, other teams will notice and drive his market price up, making a longer-term deal not only harder to accomplish, but more expensive at the same time.
Overall, though, I like the formula. Imagine if we had Eddie Lacy or Blair Walsh on the books for another 2/3/4 years? Sickening.
Given the lack of available cap space in 2018, the team will unquestionably make moves to free up space. I’ve touched on this subject many times (check previous articles) so I won’t go into detail here, but in summary. The team ‘can’ sign just about anyone that they please. They have some flexibility that means that even if a superstar player demanding $15M plus average per year is on their radar, they do have the means to get him, however unlikely that is.
For all intents and purposes of this article, though, I’m not going to focus on the big names (excluding one). I’m going to bring attention to the various free agents that could and should be on Seattle’s radar at the cheaper end of the scale. Many of the listed players scream 1-year deal. With that said, outside of a select few, I wouldn’t be upset with 2 or 3 year deals to level up the cap a bit more.
Let’s take a look at the offensive side of the ball first –
Carlos Hyde – RB
He’s only 27, has started in 29 out of 29 games in 2016 and 2017 and just come within inches of 1000 yard seasons the past two years rushing for 988 in 2016 and 938 in 2017. Averaging 4.6 and 3.9 yards per rush respectively. Those are numbers that would get Seattle’s run game right back to where they want it to be.
Chance of Carlos Hyde becoming a Seahawk - 70%
Contract prediction – 1-year - $4-5.5M or 2-year – 7.5M-10M
Shane Vareen – RB
He turns 29 in March so it’s fair to assume a 1-year deal would be most likely here. His numbers are anything but electric. The last two years combined, he’s rushed for 322 yards, however his attempts are also very low. He averaged 4.8 yards per run in 2016 and 3.6 in 2017. Could certainly be added as a training camp body at the very least.
Chance of Shane Vareen becoming a Seahawk – 50/60%
Contract prediction – 1-year vet minimum
Isaiah Crowell – RB
Isaiah, drafted by the Browns in 2014 has been very consistent as a running back, he has never missed a game for them (very impressive for a running back) and has got close to a 1000 yard season the last two years. In 2016 he put up 952 yards and 853 in 2017. Averging 4.1 in 2017 and 4.8 in 2016. He deserves a contract very similar to the contracvt the team gave Eddie Lacy in 2017. I do fear, however, that Seattle may not be an ideal landing spot for him and he’d go with another team, even for a lower value contract.
Chance of Isaiah Crowell becoming a Seahawk – 30%
Contract prediction – 1-year $4-5M
Allen Robinson – WR
He was drafted with the 61st pick (round 2) in the 2014 NFL draft. He could also be the big bodied target Seattle may well be lacking next season, he’s 6’3” with great length. Based purely on his 2015 season (1400 yards on 80 receptions!) I expect him to get a fairly large contract. There’s talks he may even get the franchise tag from Jacksonville so there’s every chance he may not even hit the open market, but if he did, I’d like to think Seattle would at least show some interest.
Chance of Allen Robinson becoming a Seahawk – 25%
Contract Prediction – 3 year $30-36M
Eric Decker – WR
He’s certainly at the tail end of his career, he’s 31 next month but is still putting up respectable numbers. He picked up 563 yards for the Titans in 2017 but only 1 touchdown. He wouldn’t be the most exciting signing on the planet, but certainly possible if the price is right.
Chance of Eric Decker becoming a Seahawk – 40%
Contract prediction – 2 year $8-10M
Tyler Eifert – TE
Given his injury history, I’d be nervous about anything other than a low value 1-year deal with Tyler. He played in a combined 10 games total for the 2016 and 2017 season and only caught 4 receptions for 46 yards last year. Provided the deal is right, though, he could provide spectacular value if everything falls into place.
Chance of Tyler Eifert becoming a Seahawk – 30-40%
Contract prediction – 1-year vet minimum or very close to vet minimum
Austin Seferian-Jenkins – TE
Austin is a very interesting one and a player I can absolutely see in Seattle next season. He has ties to the area (former University of Washington star) as well. He has finally starting to show signs of becoming a complete tight end as well, he seems to have grasped the concept and importance of blocking and looked really, really good for the Jets at the tail-end of last season. I’d also expect him to be pretty cheap given his injury history and questionable decision making in the past with regards to substance abuse. I think Seattle would be a fantastic landing spot for both parties and something I’m pretty confident will happen.
Chance of Austin Seferian-Jenkins becoming a Seahawk – 80%
Contract predication – 1-year $1.2-1.5M or 2-year $2.2M
Virgil Green – TE
If Brian Schottenheimer insists on a tight end with strong blocking skills, Virgil Green if your man. He’s an underrated pass catcher as well and would provide very good blocking to help the run game. He turns 30 during the 2018 preseason so don’t expect a long contract, but could prove to be a great signing.
Chance of Virgil Green becoming a Seahawk – 50%
Contract prediction – 1-year $3-3.25M
D.J. Fluker – OG
Fluker played for Seattle’s new OL coach Mike Solari in 2017 with the Giants so if Fluker ends up in Seattle it’ll be telling of his abilities. Solari knows him well. Fluker can open up running lanes and would be adequate in the passing game. He’s also currently only 26 years old.
Chance of D.J. Fluker becoming a Seahawk – 40-60%
Contract prediction – 2-year $7-10M
That rounds up my predictions and possibilities for the offensive side of the ball. I think Seattle focuses their free agency pickups on the offensive side however that’s not to say they won’t look at defensive players as well. Here’s some options…
Clinton McDonald – DT
A Seahawk reunion may be on the cards with McDonald becoming an URFA next month. He will be entering his 9th season and could well provide some veteran leadership to a (potentially) very young group of defensive tackles. He would certainly work in a rotation, that’s for sure.
Chance of Clinton McDonald becoming a Seahawk – 50%
Contract prediction – 1-year vet minimum or very close to vet minimum
Alex Okafor – DE
Okafor tore his Achilles towards the end of last season for the Saints however in 10 games he had 4.5 sacks so could be another rotational player to add to the roster. He has just turned 27 as well so he should have plenty left in the tank.
Chance of Alex Okafor becoming a Seahawk – 60%
Contract prediction – 1-year $2.5-3M
Eric Read – SS
Due to his protests, he may well have a limited market in teams that are prepared to bring him in, however I believe Seattle is one of those teams that would. With the Kam Chancellor situation, it leaves a big void at SS. Seattle drafted Delano Hill in the 3rd round last year so he may well get a look in however if the team feels Hill isn’t ready, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the former 49er on the pacific north west next season.
Chance of Eric Read becoming a Seahawk – 50%
Contract predication – 2-year $10-14M
Kony Ealy – DE
Ealy is young (26 years old) and has proved he can stay healthy, he has missed 2 games in 4 years and would provide in the defensive end rotation for sure. It’s doubtful he will set the league alright but with the salaries of defensive ends, getting someone on the lower end can still very much provide strong value to the team.
Chance of Kony Ealy becoming a Seahawk – 30-40%
Contract prediction – 1-year $1.5-2.5M
Note, I haven’t focussed on special teams despite Seattle having an immediate need at place kicker. The free agent options aren’t particularly exciting so I see Seattle addressing the need with either one of their 7th round picks or from an undrafted free agent.
In summary, there are lots of cheaper options available this March and I fully expect Seattle to be very active, even if they are only handing out low value deals.
I hope you enjoyed the article and as always, Go Hawks!