It’s perfectly natural for people to wonder whether quarterback Matt Hasselbeck will be able to return to his Pro Bowl ways after a bad back cost him most of the 2008 season.
But Hasselbeck and the Seahawks’ doctors have said he will be fully recovered in time for offseason training, which commences later this month. And if that weren’t enough, how about taking the word of T.J. Houshmandzadeh, who surely would not have signed with Seattle if he didn’t think Hasselbeck would be throwing him the ball in 2009 and beyond?
Asked during an NFL.com online chat whether he talked to Hasselbeck prior to signing with the Hawks, Houshmandzadeh said, “Yeah. I talked to him. I talked to him specifically about his back. He said that his back feels better than it ever has. He’s been working with a guy in Canada to strengthen his back and core section. It was reassuring.”
The first telling moment will come in early April, when the Seahawks have their first minicamp. The next will come in August, when the Hawks play their first exhibition game.
But if a big-money free-agent receiver is confident, there’s no reason fans shouldn’t be.
T.J.’s take: Guaranteed salaries in 2009 and 2010?
It looks like Houshmandzadeh’s salaries for 2009, and possibly 2010, have been guaranteed and that he has only $2 million in bonus money.
Based on the NFLPA salary database, Houshmandzadeh’s salaries are listed at $5.5 million for 2009, $7 million for 2010, $8 million for 2011, $8.5 million for 2012, and $9 million for 2013. That adds up to $38 million of the reported $40 million in the five-year deal the receiver signed with Seattle, leaving just $2 million as bonus money.
Of the $40 million, $15 million reportedly was guaranteed, which would mean Houshmandzadeh likely was guaranteed his 2009 salary of $5.5 million and his 2010 salary of $7 million.
Either way, his cap count this year will be at least $5.5 million, probably about $6 million. That’s a huge sign that the Hawks are just about finished in free agency, because they now have only about $5 million left in salary-cap space.
Weaver's running out of options
The market for Leonard Weaver is now set, and it's going to be about what he made last year.
That's surely not what his agent expected, but Mike Karney just signed a three-year, $3.6 million deal with St. Louis, so that's the ceiling for Weaver, who made $1.42 million as a restricted free agent in 2008.
With New Orleans signing Heath Evans and the Rams grabbing Karney, Weaver is running out of possible new teams. The Philadelphia Eagles might be the only suitors challenging Seattle for Weaver's services. But with several other fullbacks already signed, it's obvious no one is going to pay Weaver what his agent, Harold Lewis, has been asking, which is probably in excess of $2 million.
The Hawks visited with Justin Griffith, who was drafted by president Tim Ruskell and coach Jim Mora when they were in Atlanta in 2003. The Seahawks are not in dire need at the position because they have Owen Schmitt, who played quite a bit as a rookie in 2008.
For more from former newspaper sportswriters Chris Cluff and Elliott Smith, visit http://outsidethepressbox.com/.