Seattle Seahawks: A Position-by-Position Primer to Free Agency
The Seattle Seahawks don't figure to be prominent players in free agency this year. They already have arguably the league's deepest roster, and they lack the salary-cap room to be too active in bringing in veteran talent.
Last year, the Seahawks were in a much different position. They were able to bring in big-name players like Percy Harvin, Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett to an already-solid team. This year, the goal will be to retain as much of this roster as possible while looking to the draft to patch up the few holes that can be found.
However, Seattle has 19 players who are set to become free agents. Not all of those players will be brought back to next year's team. Roster turnover is an unfortunate reality for all NFL teams, no matter how successful.
So even though the Seahawks aren't expected to be big players in free agency this offseason, they will still be active with smaller under-the-radar moves as they try to reload for another championship run.
Here is a position-by-position breakdown of Seattle's options for free agency, as well as some potential targets the Seahawks might look to acquire.
Seattle Free Agents: Tarvaris Jackson, B.J. Daniels (practice squad)
On the Radar: Seneca Wallace, Kellen Clemens
B.J. Daniels will almost certainly sign a futures contract immediately following the Super Bowl. That will bring him into training camp with a chance to try to earn a roster spot or land again on the practice squad.
Tarvaris Jackson is likely to look for a situation where he might earn a starting job, though it is unclear if he will find one. Jackson might also be able to land a Kyle Orton-type contract to be a veteran backup somewhere. If he doesn't find that either, then Seattle will certainly welcome him back to be Russell Wilson's backup once again.
If Jackson does leave, then look for the Seahawks to sign a veteran backup on a minimum salary to compete with Daniels. Mobile players who can extend the play with their legs would be the preferred choice in Seattle.
Seattle Free Agents: Michael Robinson
On the Radar: none
The Seahawks already have five backs under contract for the 2014 season, and that is without fullback Michael Robinson. Add in that the Seahawks have most of their success when running the football out of single-back sets, and acquiring additional players at the position just doesn't make any sense.
Robinson will likely be invited back on a minimum deal to compete for the starting fullback job, but it is possible that he will be able to get a larger offer from another team.
Seattle Free Agents: Kellen Davis, Anthony McCoy (injured reserve), Cooper Helfet (practice squad)
On the Radar: Jermichael Finley, Dennis Pitta, Fred Davis, Clay Harbor, Andrew Quarless
The key for Seattle will be what it decides to do with starter Zach Miller. If he is released for salary-cap purposes, then the team will likely look at one of the top free agents on the market. If it keeps Miller, then low-cost potential backups will be the only players who will get consideration.
Of course, it is also possible that the Seahawks could do nothing more than simply bringing back Anthony McCoy, who spent the entire year on injured reserve, and draft a player for training camp competition purposes.
Seattle Free Agents: Golden Tate, Doug Baldwin (restricted)
On the Radar: Kenny Britt, Robert Meachem, Mario Manningham
There is an assumption out there among fans that Sidney Rice is likely to be cut for salary-cap purposes. He missed most of the year with a knee injury and thus could see a depressed market for his services. If Rice agrees to a major reduction in his salary rather than being cut, then Seattle's plan at the position could be drastically different that what is currently expected.
Restricted free agents almost never change teams, so it is a reasonable assumption that Doug Baldwin will be back in a Seattle uniform next season. Golden Tate, on the other hand, could be allowed to walk if his price is driven up too high.
If Tate leaves, then the Seahawks will need a replacement, no matter what happens with Rice. If they both leave, then the Seahawks will be looking for multiple players at the position this offseason. While the draft would appear to be the most likely route to acquire talent at the position, there should be some low-cost free-agent options available as well.
Kenny Britt would be a very interesting acquisition if it happens. Britt is immensely talented, but his off-field issues have prevented him from living up to his potential. Britt offers the potential of a top receiver, but will likely come with a price tag that is considerably lower.
If Seattle decides that Britt is too much of a risk, then there are other players who could add to Seattle's depth at the position without breaking the bank. Players like Mario Manningham or Robert Meachem would be interesting at the right price.
Seattle Free Agents: Paul McQuistan, Breno Giacomini, Lemuel Jeanpierre
On the Radar: Jon Asamoah, Shelley Smith
While the draft is the most likely path for the Seahawks to replace their three free agents on the offensive line, there are some free agents who will interest them at the right price.
Jon Asamoah will be the best guard available in free agency if the Kansas City Chiefs cannot get him re-signed before the deadline. If the Seahawks want make a splash in this offseason, he would likely generate the most improvement of anyone available. He'll also be expensive.
The St. Louis Rams' Shelley Smith is also someone who will interest the Seahawks. He's a mauler in the run game, though he occasionally struggles in pass protection. That seems to be the profile of the players the Seahawks like for their offensive line.
Seattle Free Agents: Michael Bennett, Tony McDaniel, Clinton McDonald
On the Radar: O'Brien Schofield, Jason Worilds, Michael Johnson, Brian Orakpo, Henry Melton, Vance Walker, Corey Peters
Re-signing Michael Bennett is Seattle's No. 1 offseason priority this year, but fitting him under the salary cap likely means losing fellow defensive end Chris Clemons.
If the Seahawks do cut Clemons, then they'll need another pass-rusher on the roster. Linebacker O'Brien Schofield filled in for Clemons at the start of this season, so he would be an obvious target to be brought back into that role for next year.
The bigger problem would be if the Seahawks cannot get Bennett to re-sign. Replacing his productivity as an inside pass-rusher will be extremely difficult. Luckily, this is the one position where the Seahawks will have the spending room to acquire a big-name player if that is what is required.
Two-thirds of Seattle's rotation at defensive tackle is also set to become free agents. The team has already replaced Clinton McDonald by drafting Jordan Hill a year ago, but replacing Tony McDaniel will require some creativity.
Fortunately, Seattle's scheme and surrounding talent make finding a productive 3-technique defensive tackle to be easier than most people might expect. The Seahawks have been able to drop in castoffs from other teams over the past three seasons and managed to get solid production out of the spot, especially against the run.
There is also the unlikely possibility that the Seahawks could combine their two big needs on the defensive line and sign one high-priced explosive defensive tackle.
Seattle Free Agents: Mike Morgan, O'Brien Schofield
On the Radar: none
The Seahawks will return all four of the linebackers who played significant minutes in 2013. What is missing at the position is depth beyond those four with the departures of Mike Morgan and O'Brien Schofield.
As with many other positions, the draft is the most likely route for the Seahawks to take for filling out the roster at this position. Since they don't need starters, there is no reason to pay for veteran players.
If the team is going to spend the money on a veteran, then bringing back one of the versatile players who already know the system would seem to be the most likely course of action.
Seattle Free Agents: Brandon Browner, Walter Thurmond
On the Radar: none
The Seahawks have incredible depth at cornerback, even without Brandon Browner, who is currently suspended. If Walter Thurmond leaves in free agency as well, the Seahawks have Tharold Simon already on the roster from the 2013 draft ready to step in.
The overall talent and depth at the position for Seattle means it has no need to invest more than a late-round draft pick at cornerback.
Seattle Free Agents: Jeron Johnson, Chris Maragos
On the Radar: Akwasi Owusu-Ansah
The Seahawks have their starters in place, but both of their backups are set to become free agents. However, they have DeShawn Shead on the roster as well, so the position clearly won't be a priority this season.
The most obvious route in free agency for Seattle would be for the team to re-sign one or both of its own free agents. Neither has shown to be more than a special teams performer, so it is unlikely that either will fetch much of a contract on the free-agent market.
If the team does sign another team's free agent, it will almost certainly be a low-cost backup with great special teams skills who hasn't had a chance to play regular minutes with the defense.
Seattle Free Agents: Steven Hauschka
On the Radar: Dan Carpenter
The Seahawks got a great performance out of kicker Steven Hauschka this season, which led to his selection as a Pro Bowl alternate. The team will certainly try to re-sign him if it can, provided that the cost stays down.
If Hauschka bolts to a bigger payday, a younger player would most likely replace him. The Buffalo Bills' Dan Carpenter might be available and should be able to replace the production that the Seahawks got out of Hauschka this season.