The Seattle Seahawks have some decisions to make, but isn't that always the case? You draft guys, hope they pan out and then play the salary cap game year after year. Some players get big money while others become "casualties" of an NFL system that is not always friendly in terms of guaranteed money.
If you want long-term guaranteed money, try the NBA or MLB.
Golden Tate is a player who will be up for a contract in 2014, and the debate will begin about his long-term value. Will he continue to progress and be that elusive "go-to" guy? Or, will he plateau and be a nice complimentary receiver who always seems to fall just short of his ultimate potential?
Tate certainly has his fans. Danny O'Neil of ESPN recently wrote:
Tate has arrived. There is no doubt about that after last season. The question is whether he'll be staying after this season, which is the last on the four-year rookie contract he signed with the Seahawks.
Arrived. That is an interesting word, isn't it?
When you look at Tate's numbers over the last three seasons, there is certainly growth in productivity.
2010: 11 games, 21 receptions, 0 TDs, 10.8 yards per catch
2011: 16 games, 35 receptions, 3 TDs, 10.9 yards per catch
2012: 15 games, 45 receptions, 7 TDs, 15.3 yards per catch
In addition, there is the reality that Tate has proven that he is not afraid to go up and get the tough catch in traffic.
Again, you have to ask the question. Is 45 catches and seven TDs the ceiling, or will Tate become a consistent 60-80 catch guy with 10+ touchdowns per season? Granted, you could also ask whether Seattle really needs Tate to put up bigger numbers.
Complicating the issue of Tate's potential contract extension is the presence of Percy Harvin and Sidney Rice. Harvin will arguably be the most hyped receiver on the roster given that he pulled in 87 balls for 967 yards in 2011. In addition, Sidney Rice is still being paid "No. 1" money even though he has never matched the 83 catches and 1,312 yards that he put up as a member of the Minnesota Vikings in 2009.
Harvin will count $13.4 million against the 2014 salary cap, and Rice will add another $9.7 million (via spotrac.com). You have to wonder if the Seahawks will decide that they need to choose between Rice and Tate at that point. Can Seattle afford to have three expensive receivers, plus the $7 million figure for Zach Miller?
In 2014, there will be other priorities to start thinking about, such as Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas.
Obviously, it would be nice to keep everyone, but this isn't Major League Baseball. The NFL does not have a system where teams like the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers can spend wildly without limits.
Tate is only 24 years old, Harvin will turn 25 on May 28, and Rice is 26. Not exactly old guys.
Golden recently congratulated Kam Chancellor on his contract extension. Will Chancellor eventually be able to return the favor?
Someone may need to go. Unfortunately, that someone may be a good or very good player. Such is life in the NFL. The drafting of Chris Harper from Kansas State may signal that the ‘Hawks will look at other options.
Who should the Seahawks keep?