Picking 1 Free Agent to Fill Each of the Seahawks' Holes
Out with the old, in with the new for the Seattle Seahawks.
Percy Harvin and Cliff Avril, welcome aboard.
Michael Bennett, thanks for coming back. So sorry about how things worked out the last time you were here.
Leon Washington and Jason Jones, thanks for everything and good luck.
In case you missed it, the Seattle Seahawks are no longer rebuilding. In fact they are setting their sights on bigger and better things while reminding us there really isn't an offseason in football anymore.
On Monday 'Hawks general manager John Schneider got all of Seattle itching with Super Bowl fever by trading for Harvin, and on Wednesday it became an epidemic with the signing of Avril, followed by the addition of Bennett on Thursday.
The hard truth is it's only March, and while the additions of Harvin and Avril certainly spice things up, there is still a lot of work to do elsewhere before we can book the Seahawks a ticket to New York for next February.
So what are some of the needs that the Seahawks need to address?
Who will they add next?
Let's take a look and see who the team can add at this point at a few key spots.
Wide Reciever: Percy Harvin
First and foremost for the Seahawks, there seems to be a need at wide receiver, or perhaps not.
Earlier this week the 'Hawks surprised everyone and took care of this one by trading for Percy Harvin.
But is the problem solved?
While Harvin certainly adds several new and exciting facets to the offense, I still believe the 'Hawks need a big receiver to help in the red zone.
At any rate I was willing to sign off on the deal, that is until I saw the financials.
According to Danny O'Neil of The Seattle Times, Harvin's deal is $67 million over six years, with as much as $25.5 million guaranteed and he explains the situation as being a case where:
Seattle doubled down, giving out the biggest contract and giving up more in trade than any deal since Schneider became GM. The deal amounts to a test of Schneider's ability to determine the value of a player as well as coach Pete Carroll's ability to manage that player.
By now I'm sure you have heard all about Harvin's past and how with this new deal he will have a bright future in Seattle, but six years?
Granted football contracts aren't worth the paper they're printed on, but this deal sets a terrible precedent.
After showing flashes of brilliance mixed between injuries, Harvin teaches all of us that you can basically cry, kick and scream your way out of town and get traded to a contender who will "reward" you with a lucrative multi-year deal.
Honestly, what incentive is there for Harvin now that he's signed for six years with $25.5 million guaranteed?
I'm sure a good many of you feel Pete Carroll and Russell Wilson, along with everyone else, will bring Harvin along just as the 'Hawks did with Marshawn Lynch and Bruce Irvin, but how long will the honeymoon last in this case?
Perhaps I'm getting a little ahead of myself, but deep down, how do you think young stars drafted by the team like Wilson, Russell Okung, Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas, who are earning a fraction of what Harvin will take home, feel about him getting that kind of money and years having just walked in off the street?
Everyone will say all the right things and smile for the camera, but beware.
Come training camp, Harvin better be on his best behavior and bring his A-Game, otherwise this deal could be one to regret.
Defensive Line: Cliff Avril
On the other side of the coin, unlike the Percy Harvin deal, I really happen to like the signing of Cliff Avril.
With Chris Clemons recovering from his ACL injury, Jason Jones going to Detroit via free agency and Alan Branch still a question mark in free agency, this deal came as a pleasant surprise, especially for the price of $15 million over two years.
The defensive line is still a big question mark, but before this move Pro Football Weekly,in their offseason review of the 'Hawks, listed defensive end specifically as one of the team's key needs by pointing out the following:
DE — Clemons’ torn ACL in the postseason was a serious blow to a group whose greatest flaw, a meager pass rush, reared its ugly head in the team’s divisional-round postseason exit. Irvin showed major flashes as a part-time player in his rookie season. But with Clemons unlikely to be 100 percent by the start of 2013, Carroll’s group needs more juice off the edges.
In Avril you are essentially getting the best pass-rusher on the market, He's also in his prime and comes at a reasonable price as a hired gun that should stay hungry throughout his time with the team.
Much like the Harvin deal, Avril isn't cheap, but the key difference here is that he really can't afford to grow complacent. That makes his deal a better value for the money.
In the long term what's also nice is that by the time this deal is off the books, the money spent on Avril can be reallocated based on whoever needs it. Some big-time players drafted by the 'Hawks will be looking to get paid at that point.
Defensive Tackle: Michael Bennett
Go figure, I finally got one right!
What makes this deal even better is the fact that it should help address the 'Hawks' defensive line issues and is a financially responsible, ($5 million for one-year) according to Nick Eaton at seattlepi.com.
But wait, isn't Bennett a defensive end?
Eaton, with the help of ESPN's John Clayton, answers that question:
“While it may seem strange for the Seahawks to get DE Michael Bennett after signing Cliff Avril, the Seahawks can use Bennett as a DT,” ESPN’s John Clayton wrote on Twitter. “Bennett has played DE and DT during his career. His signing is similar to the Jason Jones signing of last year,” Clayton added.
Works for me.
Understand, I liked Jones and wish him well, but Bennett seems to have a little more to offer and signing a one-year deal tells me that, similar to Avril, he's going to work hard with the hopes of getting paid again some day.
Clearly the 'Hawks have sold themselves as a team on the rise, a title that, if they perform well, can help them cash in.
With the moves for Harvin, Avril and now Bennett on the books, can the Seahawks afford to make any other serious moves right now?
Honestly I'm not quite sure where John Schneider keeps finding money, but it certainly has been fun to watch.
At the same time the team still has some issues to address, but at this point trying to speculate who the 'Hawks should cut, trade or hold on to is fool's game.
Is there a market for Matt Flynn or Doug Baldwin?
Do you cut some big salaries of players like Sidney Rice, Zach Miller and/or Chris Clemons?
What do you do about kicker Steven Hauschka given he wasn't franchised?
Alan Branch seems like a goner now that the 'Hawks have essentially exchanged Jason Jones for Michael Bennett while also adding Cliff Avril, right?
These are some awfully tough questions that I'm not sure how to approach given how the 'Hawks have started things off.
Just when you think you have some clue as to what GM John Schneider is going to do next, he shoots off in another direction, which I suppose is a good thing.
Besides, at the rate players are being signed every day, whatever I write today will likely look laughable by next week.
Joking aside, I think the 'Hawks will try to do a few things here.
First, they will probably hold on to Matt Flynn as insurance unless someone comes forward with an offer Schneider cannot refuse.
When you consider the transactions of the past week, it's clear the 'Hawks are going for it; therefore you probably want to make sure you have a backup plan in case anything happens to Russell Wilson.
Say what you want about Flynn never showing much on the field or being too expensive, for a team setting its sights on the Super Bowl, I'd be happier having him as the backup over a retread veteran or a rookie.
Tight End: Zach Miller
Speaking of past free-agent signings with big contracts, should the 'Hawks consider cutting Zach Miller or would he perhaps be game to restructuring his deal?
Once again the push for the Super Bowl has me feeling the Seahawks keep Miller as he came on strong toward the end of last season, especially in the postseason, as one of Russell Wilson's favorite targets.
So do the 'Hawks really need to invest here?
Maybe Miller becomes the red zone target I believe the 'Hawks need while the team uses a draft pick to find someone capable of pairing with him. Eventually they may replace him once his contract is up.
Unless you prefer to give Kellen Winslow, Jr. another try.
I know that everyone is getting very excited by all of the moves we've seen over the past week, as it appears the team has decided to go Super Bowl or bust.
I suggest we all enjoy the moment, but at the same time realize this is a marathon, not a sprint.
Over the next few days and weeks the 'Hawks may need to make a few tough decisions to balance out the books, yet it appears John Schneider has a plan and has been given the green light to take action.
Meanwhile, the team's draft strategy has shifted considerably as the Seahawks can now focus on second-tier priorities like finding another linebacker, a complementary tight end, and some more help on the offensive line after having addressed the more pressing needs at wide receiver and the pass rush.
Sure I'd still like a big-bodied receiver to add to the mix, but right now I think we should all be satisfied with what has transpired recently as the 'Hawks gear up for next season.
Perhaps what has me most excited for the moment is how the 'Hawks are being perceived, especially when you consider the Avril and Bennett deals.
Are players around the league warming up to the idea that Seattle is a desirable destination in their careers to make their mark?
Maybe a veteran like Charles Woodson would be willing to take a cap-friendly deal for one more shot at a ring?
No matter who comes to town, it looks like Seattle is a fine place to work and play with a franchise on the rise, a savvy GM and a wily old coach.
It's kind of funny, while teams like the New York Jets and Philadelphia Eagles are imploding on the other side of the country, the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers are loading up for a showdown in what is fast becoming one of the more exciting rivalries in the game.
It's hard to say what the future holds, but you can't deny the fact that the Seattle Seahawks are a team looking to go the distance in 2013.
Fingers crossed that this solid start ends with an incredible finish.