Seattle Seahawks: 5 Veteran Free Agents They Should Bring in for Training Camp
The rebuilding process for the Seattle Seahawks under head coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider has been quick, yet for the most part effective.
In just a few short years, the 'Hawks roster has been completely turned over with a focus toward youth, especially players with size and speed through a series of savvy moves.
This past offseason the team addressed several pressing issues through both the draft and free agency by acquiring players the front office hopes will serve the team well in both the short and long term; nevertheless, like every team in the league, the 'Hawks face a few potential problems.
So how do teams about to enter training camp help themselves exactly?
In short, they search this list from ESPN.com for players they believe can help by either squeezing one more year out of their careers or perhaps by getting a derailed career back on track.
At this point it would be hard to imagine Carroll and Schneider going out of their way for anyone past their expiration date, but here are five veteran free agents who aren't terribly old that the 'Hawks should consider bringing to training camp. Perhaps with a little bit of luck they could turn their careers around...or at the very least provide a little bit of depth.
Ernie Sims: Linebacker
So where exactly should the 'Hawks begin their search within the bargain bin?
Linebacker would be my first guess.
In many ways it seems counterintuitive to everything that the front office has done over the past two years, but this unit is a bit thin on talent and/or experience at the moment (h/t Yahoo! Sports).
Some day K.J. Wright, Bobby Wagner and Korey Toomer may make up a formidable unit, but for today they remain one of the Seahawks' biggest issues.
Leroy Hill and Barrett Ruud might help fill some gaps if any of the youngsters aren't up for the task, but neither looks to be a long-term solution. Beyond that, only veterans Heath Farwell and Matt McCoy have any more than a year or two's worth of experience.
So who should the 'Hawks target?
Unfortunately the talent pool is limited, at least in finding someone who isn't fossilized.
Ernie Sims, at the age of 27, was a first-round pick back in 2006, who after a decent start to his career in Detroit has since bounced around the league with stops in Philadelphia and Indianapolis before finding himself an unrestricted free agent this offseason.
It would seem that Sims is someone who each step of the way hasn't managed to live up to high expectations ever since his emergence as a top high school recruit.
Still, one would like to believe the talent is there and with the right kind of motivation and perhaps a lower set of expectations, Sims could help contribute.
Omar Gaither: Linebacker
Where should the 'Hawks continue their search?
Sorry to harp on a sore spot, but one other name worth considering at linebacker is a former Eagle and most recently a Panther, Omar Gaither.
Just a few years ago, Gaither came onto the scene in Philadelphia by replacing Matt McCoy in the Eagles starting lineup. Over the course his first three seasons, Gaither looked like a solid role player and occasional starter, but he has struggled since getting injured in 2009 while still with Philly.
At age 28, Gaither might have something left to prove and he could bring value to the 'Hawks given he has played both the middle and weak-side spots before.
Cadillac Williams: Running Back
Marshawn Lynch is the Beast and Robert Turbin looks like he could be Beast 2.0.
Beyond them, I have my doubts as Kregg Lumpkin and Leon Washington don't strike me as the best options when it comes to insurance at running back.
While it certainly is true that Cadillac Williams has never been known for his durability, there aren't too many other options available at this point.
Cedric Benson is tempting as an alternative, but I figure Williams will probably come at a better price and with few headaches.
Brandon Keith: Offensive Tackle
Much like Cadillac Williams, bringing in Brandon Keith is all about having insurance.
If the 'Hawks are going to bring in the likes of Frank Omiyale, then I see no issue in seeing whether Keith is capable of lending his support as a tackle along the O-line.
Jim Leonhard: Safety
Wait, did you just write about the 'Hawks secondary being potentially elite?
Yes, but this unit is a little thin on experience at safety once you get past Pro Bowl starters Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor (h/t Yahoo! Sports).
Meanwhile, why should the 'Hawks take on the undersized and injury-prone Leonhard?
What Leonhard brings to the table when healthy is something that stats and words can't fully describe. In short, the man is an overachiever, but most importantly...a player through and through.
On a Jets defense with more than a handful of talented players, Leonhard was arguably the heart and soul. For two straight years, his loss in the later stages of the season proved critical to the Jets success or lack thereof.
While it would seem likely that Leonhard would return to the Jets and their head coach Rex Ryan before signing with anyone else, it might be interesting to see if Pete Carroll could make a connection. Leonhard is the kind of player that championship teams aren't sure they want, but by the time the dust settles they realize he's just the man they need.
He might not be ready to play at the start of the season, but when the time comes, he might be the right man for the job.