TJ Houshmandzadeh's Seattle Slide: Taking a Look at Five Potential Possibilities
The Seattle Seahawks have managed to stay out of the media this offseason. Head coach Pete Carroll has an iron grip on this franchise, and when it comes to forward progress and motivation on and off the field, the Seahawks are perhaps in the best position they have ever been in, considering how worrying this team looked last season.
But unfortunately for Seattle, some news has snuck up on them lately that has surprised just about everyone in the NFL world.
No, I'm not talking about Seattle's all-out spending spree on a complete team buffet some three weeks ago. I'm talking about seemingly troubled wide receiver TJ Houshmandzadeh, who the Seahawks signed a year ago in what came as quite a surprising and expensive free-agent move.
When Houshmandzadeh first arrived, everything looked positive. The team needed a wide receiver, and fresh off a 904-yard receiving season in Cincinnati, Houshmandzadeh wasn't exactly a great wide receiver, but he was definitely capable of posting higher stats if all things fell in place.
Unfortunately, nothing really fell into place, and TJ Houshmandzadeh struggled just as much in 2009 as he had the previous year under Carson Palmer and the Cincinnati Bengals.
Of course, this wasn't the end of Houshmandzadeh's issues. The problems began to snowball, and now we find ourselves with a wide receiver who has just been demoted from the starting role, and is almost a certainty to be leaving Seattle and heading to a team that is willing to sign whatever talent is left in the TJ tank.
But who will this unknown team be? There are many candidates in the hunt, but as we know with these type of situations, just about anybody can pop up and snag a player, completely out of the shadows.
You'd think the Raiders would be tired of looking at players by now, but I guess when your a rebuilding team, you must consider every prospect heavily, and take what they have to offer seriously.
So far this offseason the Raiders have notably been in the hunt for a receiver. Talks of Terrell Owens were always in the cards prior to his move to Cincinnati, and once that possibility fell through, the Raiders seemed to continue on searching for a possible signing.
And is TJ Houshmandzadeh "the guy" for the Raiders to sign?
I don't see why not. Firstly, Houshmandzadeh is the right type of receiver that the Raiders need. He rarely creates a stir, and he is one of few players that just enjoys playing football, no matter how much he is being payed.
But with this in mind, the whole issue of pay is the sole reason for Houshmandzadeh's limitations when it comes to signing with a team. Given that Seattle couldn't afford to pay Houshmandzadeh his guaranteed $7 million contract, any other candidate that picks him up will have to be willing to sign away their John Hancock, along with a fistful of cash.
Does this sound like the Raiders? Probably not, as Al Davis doesn't normally go for these type of things.
Talent-wise though, Houshmandzadeh could benefit Oakland nicely. Jason Campbell still has a task ahead of him this season, and let's face it, the competition in the receiving game is far from high.
Oakland may go for this signing or they may not, but it won't be the first time they've hesitated though.
Like Oakland, once again the Redskins pop up in the potential signing talk, as Mike Shanahan is in the hunt for a wide receiver to compliment Donovan McNabb's ability at the quarterback position.
T.J Houshmandzadeh to the nation's capital is a very favorable move. The Redskins can most likely afford to pay him his high salary, and seeing as though Santana Moss could do with a buddy on the opposite side of the field, Houshmandzadeh may find himself at home in red and white.
The other side to this story comes from a coaching perspective. We all know that Mike Shanahan is a firm believer in discipline, and with Houshmandzadeh always proving to be a well-behaved player, he may go ahead and give the green light on the signing, as it could bring some experience and leadership to a questionably talented offense.
Washington are a team that isn't in total need of a wide receiver, as other issues do withstand. However, Washington have been playing the waiting game, and given that Houshmandzadeh is a trustworthy player, this is a signing that could pay dividends should the Redskins pursue it.
Donovan McNabb is notably a great passer when he has a talented wide receiver to pass to, and whether it was Terrell Owens or DeSean Jackson, we all know that his link-ups can be pretty if the right receiver is on the end of his pass.
Can Houshmandzadeh fit into that category? I don't see why not. He's done it with Carson Palmer, and Donovan McNabb is no different.
The Vikings are perhaps the dark horse to sign Houshmandzadeh, but there is no denying the need in Minnesota right now for a backup wide receiver.
Since star wideout Sidney Rice will possibly miss the first half of the regular season, tensions have been high for the Purple People Eaters, as a lot of the receiving game now relies on migraine-prone Percy Harvin, and of course, Bernard Berrian.
With Brett Favre still kicking, the argument could be made that the Vikings offense is in safe hands. However, a quarterback is only as good as his wide receivers, so perhaps it would be wise for Brad Childress to consider TJ Houshmandzadeh, especially if Percy Harvin misses a handful of games due to illness.
Some may say that Houshmandzadeh isn't quite talented enough for the Vikings explosive offense, but that is simple ignorance. TJ Houshmandzadeh may not post fantastic stats, but he does get the job done, and is rarely injured, something that the Vikings could do with if they are to make the Super Bowl this season.
I won't go out on a limb and say that Houshmandzadeh is the missing piece in the Vikings puzzle, because he probably is far from that. However, if Brad Childress was smart (which he is), he will play the safe card, and at least consider signing such a trustworthy receiver.
The Lions are one of the few teams on this list that already have a standout wide receiver in Calvin Johnson. But still, they are a team that could do with more talent, and it seems that head coach Jim Schwartz is now embracing a "more the merrier" style and attitude.
When looking at the Lions on paper, one issue does standout—youth. Detroit don't have many older guys on the roster, and this may come back to bite them a little when the stronger teams of the NFC pop up on their schedule.
While TJ Houshmandzadeh may not be the oldest guy to still be playing, he does know the ins and outs of the offensive playbook fairly well, and is also able to adjust to a new team quite quickly.
But away from the boring stuff, a duo between Calvin Johnson and TJ Houshmandzadeh would simply be a must watch. With a young quarterback like Matt Stafford passing to either of the two, and Jahvid Best lighting it up on the ground, the Lions quickly become quite an exciting and explosive offense.
Still, if we are realistic, Houshmandzadeh's salary may come into play here. The team has already spent quite a bit on Ndamukong Suh, not to mention others, and perhaps Houshmandzadeh is too much of a stretch for Detroit right now.
I'll let the Lions make that decision. If it's talent and even more explosiveness the Lions want, then sign Houshmandzadeh. If money is an issue though, I wouldn't suggest trying to stretch the budget.
Last but not least, the Carolina Panthers crack this list at a time that sees the franchise in desperate need of a spark on offense.
Like many teams this season, Carolina are amongst the ones trying to coax a new quarterback into the starting role, and right now it isn't 100 percent clear whether Matt Moore or Jimmy Clausen is totally right for that job.
So what better way to help these young guys than to bring in a receiver like Houshmandzadeh, who could talk to them, motivate them, and above all else, give them that extra target on game day to take some of the pressure away from Steve Smith?
That all makes perfect sense to me.
But there is still a thorn in the side of this issue. Carolina aren't known for their money, and although they do posses two great players in DeAngelo Williams and Steve Smith, signings haven't been the biggest priority for the Panthers, especially since the release of Julius Peppers.
Therefore, this may limit the Panthers a little. But still, if Carolina show interest, Houshmandzadeh may bite, and this story can have a happy ending.
Right now the Panthers haven't really been in the talk of signing the Seattle standout. Don't be surprised, though, to see their names pop up in the next few days, as they have a chance to sign Houshmandzadeh. Carolina, like all the others, need a receiver, and they need one now. Money is the only issue though.
That's a Wrap!
That's the end of the possibilities for now. Like I said earlier, any team could snag Houshmandzadeh between now and the start of Week 1.
For Houshmandzadeh himself, he needs to make sure he makes a decision as soon as possible, as the last thing he needs is for the season to start, and for him to have no home at all.
Luckily for all of us, he isn't panicking, and isn't mimicking Terrell Owens and stalking Jay Cutler in Chicago.
"It's just like anything, anybody wants to feel wanted," Houshmandzadeh said in an interview with The Seattle Times. "So if I'm not here, they don't want me here, whoever I'm going to wants me. So that's how you've got to look at it. I'm ready to play."
Confident words of a confident player. Let's hope he gets a home soon. He certainly deserves it.
Ryan Cook is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. He is also an NFL columnist for Real Sports Net and a Green Bay Packers writer for Fan Huddle and PackerChatters. Ryan is also a contributing writer for Detroit Lions Talk, Gack Sports and Generation Y Sports. Don't forget to follow him on Twitter.
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