Seattle Seahawks Offseason Happenings: With Weaver Gone, Schmitt Happens

Chris CluffCorrespondent IIMarch 20, 2009

KIRKLAND, WA - JULY 25:  Owen Schmitt #35 of the Seattle Seahawks gets ready for the tackling dummies during training camp at the Seahawks Training Facility on July 25, 2008 in Kirkland, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

Owen Schmitt, welcome to the starting lineup.

Leonard Weaver, the Seattle Seahawks' former starting fullback, signed a one-year contract with the Philadelphia Eagles on Friday after a drawn-out free-agency foray that lasted three weeks.

Weaver was seeking more than the $1.42 million he made with Seattle last year, and he apparently got it from the Eagles, who reportedly will pay him at least $1.75 million and as much as $2.5 million for one season.

Weaver had been talking with Tampa Bay, Minnesota, and Seattle as well, but ESPN’s John Clayton reported that he took less money to play for the Eagles. 

While Weaver was starting to become useful as a multi-talented back capable of running, receiving, and ramming, he still is only a fullback. Yes, he seemed a bit like a "John L. Williams-Lite," he wasn’t anywhere close to as good as the Seahawks’ former star.

Although they lost an ascending player they had cultivated for four years, the Seahawks won’t be heartbroken, because they still have Schmitt. A fifth-round pick in 2008, Owen is a hard-nosed blocker who is not too shabby himself at running and receiving, as he proved during his time at West Virginia.

Schmitt (6'2", 247 lbs.) was used in a limited role on offense last season, carrying the ball just five times for 21 yards and catching six passes for 29 yards. Those numbers will increase dramatically in 2009.

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Now, the Seahawks need a backup fullback. Odds are that it might be Justin Griffith, a six-year veteran who was drafted by Tim Ruskell and Jim Mora in Atlanta and already has visited Seattle this month.

Will J.P. Patch Up the Long Snapper Spot? 

The Seahawks are still looking for a long snapper, and they could go "back to the future" by bringing back J.P. Darche, who was recently cut by Kansas City.

Darche played for Seattle from 2000 to 2006. He was released after a hip injury cost him much of the '06 campaign, and then played with the Chiefs in 2007 and 2008. 

If healthy, the 34-year-old would be a younger option than the 39-year-old Jeff Robinson, who the Seahawks pulled out of retirement at the end of 2007 and used last year. 

The Seahawks drafted Tyler Schmitt in the seventh round last year, but he missed his rookie season with a back injury. He reportedly is healthy, training, and expecting to be able to play in 2009, but adding Darche might be good insurance.

The Seahawks also talked to two other snappers, Bryan Pittman and Mike Leach. The latter signed with Arizona, but Pittman is still out there.


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