With free agency now officially underway since 4PM ET on Wednesday I thought I’d take a look and evaluate what the team has (or hasn’t would be more accurate) done so far.
Now firstly, Seattle is very, very rarely involved in day 1 free agency. When you look at the likes of the Malcolm Butler and Sammy Watkins (and even the Jonathan Stewart contract to an extent) it’s kind of easy to see why. Teams are making decisions that can easily hamper them further down the line, Seattle doesn’t need any part of that. What they are historically known for is playing the comp pick market correctly and waiting for the second, third and even fourth wave of free agency players.
This simply comes down to value. With the pre-mentioned Watkins and Butler contracts, there’s no hope in hell they are going to exceed their contracts, there’s a very slim chance they will even meet expectation in my opinion, let alone exceed them. I harp on about value a lot but it’s important to remember how crucial it is to sustained success. Do you think the Justin Coleman tender at $2.9M provides value? Do you think there’s a chance he exceeds expectations and plays ‘above’ his contract? I certainly do. Those are the types of deals this team needs, not paying wide receivers like Sammy Watkins $16M per.
It’s very possible this team is back to aggressively chasing comp picks which I don’t entirely agree with, but ultimately the moves they make will determine if it is a success. If they pass on a free agent they really like and go with a lesser signing, who was cut by his previous team, I think I’d rather the better player, but we won’t know the state of this until next season as we’d need to see said player on the field and how he performed on the year. Remember, comp picks sit at the very end of each respective round. A 3rd round comp pick is effectively a 4th and so on and so forth. Sure, it adds value, but I wouldn’t base improving the roster around it necessarily.
If Seattle are going to be aggressive with players that have been cut, it’s not as if there’s a shortfall on talent available. The likes of Ndamukong Suh and Jordy Nelson are both available and Seattle have been linked to both. I also heard rumours about the possibility of Tyrann Mathieu being cut if him and the Cardinals can’t come up with a restructured contract. I suspect they will come to an agreement, though and the Honey Badger stays in the desert. It’s worth noting that this article was written on Wednesday morning so by the time you’re reading this we will already know the outcome. He has $19M become guaranteed on his salary the minute free agency officially opens so that will be the cut off time for a restructure.
I’m sure you’ve also heard the links between Seattle and Austin Seferian-Jenkins. With Jimmy Graham now in Green Bay I’d expect the Saints to offer what Seattle won’t be prepared to and he will end up with Drew Brees, but I wouldn’t rule it out. He is from the PNW after all and has shown interest in playing for Seattle previously.
By the second/third/fourth wave I’d expect Seattle to have signed a TE, offensive lineman that is capable of starting (they have depth already) as well as any number of defensive positions. If a solid defensive end of linebacker is still in the market, I’d be surprised if the team doesn’t show solid interest and eventually get something done. The team are already expected to meet with former Cowboys DE Benson Mayowa, who, ironically, get his only sack of 2017 on Russell Wilson in week 16. They’re also due to meet with DeMarco Murray this week as well.
One things for sure, Seattle WILL be active in free agency and make some signings, just don’t expect them to be throwing money around all over the show.