NFL Free Agents 2012: 5 Players Seattle Seahawks Must Target
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With the Super Bowl now in the rearview mirror the focus now shifts to the NFL Draft and free agency. The Seattle Seahawks, coming off an up and down 7-9 season in 2011, will be looking to add impact players this offseason that can put the Seahawks back in the playoffs in 2012.
Free agency, which begins on March 13, will give the Seahawks their first chance to revamp its roster. Here is a look at six free agents that could help the Seahawks in their quest to return to postseason play. This list won’t include free agents that played on the Seahawks last year such as Marshawn Lynch, Red Bryant and LeRoy Hill, but will instead focus on free agents that played for different teams in 2011.
Could Manning be the Seahawks next QB?
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It’s no secret that there are questions about whether Tarvaris Jackson is the quarterback that can lead the Seahawks to a Super Bowl title. For that reason Peyton Manning to Seattle has been gaining steam in recent weeks.
If healthy, and that's a big if, targeting Manning in free agency would make sense for Pete Carroll and company. Manning would provide a clear upgrade over Jackson and make the Seahawks a clear-cut contender in the NFC West. Other free agent quarterback options that the Seahawks could consider are Jason Campbell, Matt Flynn and Kyle Orton.
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Another area that the Seahawks need to upgrade this offseason is their pass rush. The run defense was stout last year, but the ability to get the quarterback left something to be desired.
Fortunately for the Seahawks, there are plenty of pass rushers that will be testing the free agent market. Mario Williams is the biggest name on the market right now but is probably going to command a salary that is too much for the Seahawks.
A second tier pass rushing option that the Seahawks could pursue is Cliff Avril. In the 2011 season, Avril recorded a career-high eleven sacks and would instantly become the Seahawks best pass rusher on the roster.
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Marshawn Lynch is currently a free agent although the Seahawks have given every indication that they hope to resign the punishing running back. If the Seahawks are able to resign Lynch they still need to upgrade the running back position by acquiring a quality backup that can spell Lynch.
Last year's backup Justin Forsett is also a free agent and may not be someone the Seahawks choose to resign. To fill this void, the Seahawks could target someone like Ryan Grant. Grant, who split the running back duties in Green Bay this past season, could improve an already dangerous Seahawks running attack.
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With both LeRoy Hill and David Hawthorne entering free agency, the Seahawks will be actively pursuing free agent linebackers.
After being buried on the depth chart his first three years as a Carolina Panther, Connor got his chance in 2011 due to the myriad of injuries on the Panther defense. The former Penn State star took full advantage of the opportunity and played his finest season as a professional.
If either Hill or Hawthorne sign with another team, Connor could step in to the vacant starting linebacker position.
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Despite signing Zach Miller last offseason, the Seahawks will more than likely be in the market for another tight end in 2012. The Seahawks will need to either resign free agent John Carlson or go in another direction through free agency or the draft.
If they choose not to resign Carlson, they could target a free agent tight end like Martellus Bennett to provide depth at the position. Bennett has had an underwhelming career up to this point, but with additional time to develop could become a potent red zone option due to his size.
Offensive line coach Tom Cable needs more depth
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Last year the Seahawks offensive line struggled with consistency as they battled through injuries along the line. To shore up the depth the Seahawks will certainly be in the market for a backup guard or tackle that can come off the bench if needed and not ruin the line's rhythm.
The free agent market is littered with options, like guard Jake Scott, and the Seahawks would benefit by signing at least one versatile offensive lineman for the 2012 roster.