Braylon Edwards to Sign with the Seattle Seahawks: What Does He Have Left?
Braylon Edwards is going to sign a. 1 year deal with Seattle.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) July 31, 2012
The Seahawks have been busy this offseason, re-tooling an offense that finished a dismal 23rd in points scored last year. Matt Flynn was brought over from Green Bay and Russell Wilson was drafted out of Wisconsin to boost the quarterback position. A draft pick was sent to Tampa Bay for Kellen Winslow, who looks to re-define the "joker" tight end role that Mike Williams was supposed to fill. Robert Turbin was drafted to provide some much-needed stability behind Marshawn Lynch.
Now Edwards, who failed to contribute meaningfully for the San Francisco 49ers in 2011, is being signed to help give some semblance of receiving talent to whichever quarterback wins the three-way battle in camp.
The process started last week, when Edwards worked out for the Seahawks on July 26. However, that ship appeared to have sailed when the team signed Antonio Bryant later that day. Edwards then appeared to have moved on and was reported to have worked out for Miami, a team that is just as receiver-starved as the Seahawks.
With Edwards on board, the biggest question is whether or not he will even earn a roster spot, as it's difficult to argue that he is actually any better than the talent already on Seattle's roster.
The oft-injured Sidney Rice could be headed down a similar career path to Edwards, but is four years younger and should have plenty of good football ahead of him. Doug Baldwin has flashed massive amounts of talent in the past, making the USA Today "All-Joe Team" last year. Ben Obomanu, too, is expected to rebound from a disappointing 2011.
It's clearly going to be an uphill battle for Edwards, but Seahawks fans have plenty of reasons to be excited at his resume—former first round pick, unanimous All-American, Biletnikoff award winner, Pro Bowl and All Pro in 2007. He clearly had an enormous amount of talent at one time, but mental lapses, off-the-field incidents and poor talent around him have combined to leave Edwards closer to draft bust status than that of a super star.
So, what does Edwards have left?
Durability doesn't seem to be an issue. Although Edwards only played 236 snaps last year (according to Pro Football Focus, paid link), he played 1071 the year before. Yes, Edwards had knee surgery last year, but his release from the 49ers had as much to do with putting together a playoff roster as it did his long-term health.
It is also important to remember that Edwards signed with the 49ers last year after the NFL lockout, leaving him little time to learn Jim Harbaugh's offense and less time to gain chemistry with Alex Smith. This year, although Edwards is a year older, the quarterback talent isn't that much better and the odds are that much more stacked against him. He will at least have some offseason time to acclimate to his surroundings.
It's hard to expect much, if anything, out of Edwards in 2012. However, if he is fully recovered from knee surgery and if he gains some chemistry with Seattle's eventual starting quarterback, the Seahawks could find themselves with a diamond from the rough in Edwards. Yes, that is a lot of ifs, but as a signing this late in the summer, no one should be expecting him to be a sure thing.
Frankly, if Edwards makes the roster and makes any noticeable contribution to this Seattle squad, it will be well worth the time and money. This is the exact sort of low-risk/high-reward move that teams rebuilding their offenses need to make, and if he beats the odds, Edwards could pay dividends.
Michael Schottey is an NFL Associate Editor for Bleacher Report and an award-winning member of the Pro Football Writers of America. He has professionally covered both the Minnesota Vikings and the Detroit Lions, as well as NFL events like the scouting combine and the Senior Bowl.
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