At this point, just about everyone thinks the Seahawks are leaning toward drafting Oklahoma offensive tackle Trent Williams with the sixth overall pick.
But that didn’t stop the Seahawks from going into full bluff mode Friday, sending offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates and quarterbacks coach Jedd Fisch to Notre Dame to watch quarterback Jimmy Clausen’s pro day.
To top that off, Bates and Fisch then reportedly conducted a private workout with the junior for three hours.
That’s quite a time investment, and the Hawks obviously are hoping other teams will take that to mean Seattle is seriously considering drafting the quarterback—despite trading for Charlie Whitehurst last month.
Coach Pete Carroll did his best on Friday to pump up Clausen’s value and try to bluff any interested team into thinking they are going to have to trade up to get him.
Via Twitter , Carroll said Bates and Fisch had a great meeting with Clausen, and Carroll talked to him by phone. “He’s awesome. It was a big day for Jimmy!”
The Seahawks aren’t going to draft Clausen, but they might be hoping to lay groundwork for a possible trade down from No. 6, especially if Kansas City drafts Williams at No. 5.
Mike Holmgren’s Cleveland Browns draft seventh. Even though Holmgren has said of Clausen, “I wish I liked him more,” Holmgren might well be blowing smoke. His team was at Clausen’s pro day, and the Browns are probably interested in the Irish quarterback.
Jacksonville drafts 10th and could well have an interest in replacing David Garrard.
The Seahawks are probably trying to get one of those teams to jump up and get Clausen.
A flip with the Browns would probably net a fourth-round pick, and leave the Seahawks in position to take the guy the Chiefs don’t at No. 5—Williams or Berry or Iowa tackle Bryan Bulaga.
A drop to ninth would net a third-rounder, and the Hawks still might be able to get Williams, Berry, or Bulaga—if Kansas City, Cleveland, and Oakland have not taken all three.
A move to 10th could bring both third- and fourth-round picks, but Williams, Berry, and Bulaga would all most likely be gone.
That would leave Seattle looking at Georgia Tech defensive end Derrick Morgan, Clemson running back C.J. Spiller, Texas safety Earl Thomas, and Florida cornerback Joe Haden.
That said, odds are probably highest that the Hawks still end up picking sixth, getting either Williams or Berry.
Even though the Hawks pick again at 14, it looks like they might settle for just one first-round player. Word is the Seahawks are shopping the 14th pick to teams that might be interested in giving up a second-round pick plus a 2011 first-rounder.
As for the idea of the Seahawks drafting Clausen themselves, it’s simply not going to happen.
The Clausen party on Friday was just a big charade parade.
Comp Town Races?
There might be an intriguing reason for the Seahawks not signing a free-agent lineman yet.
Guards Ben Hamilton and Chester Pitts are both still available, and Hamilton especially would seem to be a solid addition.
But perhaps the Hawks are waiting for another team to sign one of their unrestricted free agents—cornerback Ken Lucas, linebacker D.D. Lewis, fullback Justin Griffith, tackle Damion McIntosh, or safety Lawyer Milloy.
Why? To make sure they still get at least a fifth-round comp pick next year.
Compensatory picks are awarded for a net loss of qualifying free agents (maximum of four) or for a net loss of value.
The Seahawks have so far lost two qualifying UFAs, receiver Nate Burleson and defensive lineman Cory Redding. Only one of the four players the Hawks have signed was a qualifying UFA (special-teams ace Sean Morey), meaning they are minus-one.
Burleson, who signed with Detroit for $5 million per year, would likely bring a fifth-rounder (possibly a fourth) in next year’s draft.
If the Seahawks were to sign Hamilton or another unrestricted free agent without losing another one, their only hope of a comp pick would be based on net value lost, which would be a seventh-rounder (three net-value seventh-rounders were given out this year).
So far, Lucas is the only remaining Seattle UFA to have garnered much interest; he visited Tennessee on March 25.
Comp-pick guru AdamJT13 discusses more on whether comp picks should be considered when signing free agents.
Marshall Price about To Drop
The deadline for restricted free agents to sign offer sheets is April 15. The Broncos tendered Marshall at the first-round level, but if no team signs him to an offer sheet, it means no team wants to give up a first-rounder for him.
Then the Broncos will have to decide whether they’ll take less than the first-rounder. The answer, as everyone knows, is yes.
So far, the Seahawks have been the only team to show interest.
The only other teams that have been mentioned as possible destinations are the Jets and Redskins, but the Hawks probably will be able to get Marshall for their second-rounder and perhaps a fourth or fifth.
The Broncos will probably wait until the last minute, perhaps even the first day of the draft, to make the best deal they can.
The Seahawks might have given up a tad too much in trade for Whitehurst, but his 2010 salary is not as expensive as it first sounded.
The initial report was that he was being paid $5 million per season in the two-year deal he signed. Then it was adjusted to $4 million per year.
The truth is he will make $2 million in base salary in 2010 and $4 million in 2011. If the $4 million per year is correct, he probably got a $2 million signing bonus.
If there still were a salary cap, he would count $3 million this year. That’s only $1.1 million more than Seneca Wallace would have counted ($1.9 million) as the backup QB.
The Hawks obviously think Whitehurst is better than Wallace, so it’s not a bad financial deal at all.
In other contract items:
**As expected, safety Jordan Babineaux hit a $1 million escalator, and will make $2.45 million in 2010. Some think he will flourish under Pete Carroll.
**Defensive tackle Brandon Mebane’s salary doubled from $550,000 to $1.1 million.
**Cornerback Kelly Jennings hit play-time incentives that bumped his salary from $800,000 to $1.15 million.
**Julius Jones’ salary increased by $200,000 to $2.45 million. Of course, the odds of him being on the team after the draft are less than 50 percent.
**New tight end Chris Baker’s base salaries are $1.5 million in 2010 and 2011. The total value of his deal was reported at $4.75 million, so he likely received the remaining $1.75 million as a signing bonus.
**Morey’s deal was for three years at minimum salaries ($755,000, $765,000, and $875,000). He probably received a fair signing bonus, but that number has not been reported.
**Running back Quinton Ganther signed a one-year deal at minimum salary ($630,000).
**Linebacker Chris Clemons, acquired from Philadelphia in the Darryl Tapp deal, is set to make $1.2 million this year, $2.3 million in 2011, and $3 million in 2012. Of course, that assumes he is on the team for any of those seasons.
**The Seahawks saved $850,000 by cutting tight end John Owens this week.
**If the Seahawks don’t draft a safety in the first round, they are rumored to be interested in Georgia Tech safety Morgan Burnett in the second.
**A writer for a Minnesota paper is speculating that the Vikings might try to trade for Hasselbeck as insurance in case Brett Favre decides not to come back. Not gonna happen. Carroll already turned down Mike Holmgren’s third-round offer for Hasselbeck, and the Vikings are unlikely to offer a better pick. Favre is going to come back in August, and Hasselbeck will still be the Seahawks’ starting quarterback.
**Danny O’Neil of the Seattle Times hints that the Seahawks still might be hoping to trade receiver Deion Branch to “cough, cough, New England, cough, cough” for a fifth-round pick.