Two weeks later, Seattle Seahawks still have major needs to fill

Chris CluffCorrespondent IIMarch 23, 2010

SEATTLE - OCTOBER 11: Cory Redding #94 of the Seattle Seahawks celebrates on the field during the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars on October 11, 2009 at Qwest Field in Seattle, Washington. The Seahawks defeated the Jaguars 41-0. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

Two weeks into the new NFL year, the Seattle Seahawks have kept plenty busy. They’ve made three trades, including the controversial Charlie Whitehurst deal, and added half a dozen players.

But, beyond Whitehurst, it really has been more about subtraction, and the team still hasn’t addressed any of its major needs.

Basically, the Seahawks have upgraded at quarterback, added a quality No. 2 tight end, acquired some cheap depth at receiver and linebacker, and padded their special teams.

But they still have not addressed their issues on the offensive line; trading Darryl Tapp weakened them at defensive end; and cutting Deon Grant left a gaping hole at the already weak safety position.

With defensive lineman Cory Redding (pictured) signing with Baltimore on Monday, the Seahawks’ offseason scorecard reads like this:

Six additions: Whitehurst, TE Chris Baker, DE Chris Clemons, WR Ruvell Martin, RB Quinton Ganther and LB Matt McCoy.

Six losses: WR Nate Burleson, QB Seneca Wallace, Grant, Tapp, Redding, LB Lance Laury.

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But there are still some guard options in free agency.

Ben Hamilton, formerly of Denver, has visited, and it’s curious they have not signed him yet, given his familiarity with the offense Seattle will run.

The Hawks also have expressed interest in guard Chester Pitts, who played for line guru Alex Gibbs in Houston. Pitts is recovering from microfracture surgery, which will keep him out of spring camps, but several teams are pursuing him.

Another banged-up guard who might be worth a look is Miami’s Justin Smiley. He’s a solid guard when he plays—he hasn’t been called for a hold in two years in Miami.

But he has missed 16 games over the past three seasons with injuries. He missed the final four in 2008 with a broken right leg and four last season due to the leg and a bum shoulder.

So, just two years after signing him to a five-year, $25 million deal, the Dolphins are ready to trade him. He might be worth a conditional fourth-round pick, if he passed a physical.

Aside from the O-line, the Hawks need help at defensive end, safety, running back, and cornerback.

At end, their motley crew includes the aging Patrick Kerney, former first-rounder Lawrence Jackson, undersized speedster Nick Reed, recently signed CFL sacker Ricky Foley, and Clemons (acquired in the Tapp trade).

Vonnie Holliday, a 34-year-old veteran who had five sacks for Denver last season, has visited. Adewale Ogunleye and Charles Grant also are out there.

With a gaping hole at safety now that Deon Grant is gone, the Hawks should be checking into signing restricted free agent O.J. Atogwe, the stud safety for St. Louis whose tender includes no draft-choice compensation. They have until April 15 to pursue an offer sheet, if they decide it’s worth doing.

Barring any more veteran moves, the Seahawks will be looking to the draft for the much-needed help at left tackle, left guard, defensive end, safety, running back, and cornerback.


As projected by AdamJT13, the Seahawks pulled one seventh-rounder in the comp picks announced Monday for 2009 free agency losses.

Last year the Seahawks signed three players (T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Colin Cole, and John Owens) and lost five (Rocky Bernard, Maurice Morris, Leonard Weaver, Bobby Engram, and Floyd Womack). But Engram apparently did not count because Kansas City ended up cutting him during the season. So it was a net loss of one low-end free agent.

Taking stock of the Hawks’ draft picks, they now have the following: No. 6 and No. 14 in the first round, No. 60 overall in the second, Nos. 105 and 122 in the fourth, No. 141 in the fifth, No. 179 in the sixth, and Nos. 217 and 245 in the seventh.

They still might add to that, particularly if they get a mid-round pick for Sims. He was tendered at a fourth-rounder, but the Seahawks seem so eager to get rid of him they might take a lot less. (What else is new?)

They also still could trade Deion Branch for a late-round pick, particularly if the Patriots come calling.

Meanwhile, the Hawks are looking good for two compensatory picks in 2011, including a potential fourth- or fifth-rounder.

They lost Nate Burleson on the first day of free agency as the receiver signed with Detroit for $5 million a year, which would net a mid-round pick.

Unless Redding’s two-year deal with Baltimore is for more than $3 million per year, he probably would be worth only a seventh-rounder.

How do the Hawks qualify for two picks right now when they have added six players and lost six? Because none of the players they have added has been a qualifying unrestricted free agent.

Whitehurst and Clemons came in trades; Martin, Ganther, and McCoy were all untendered restricted free agents; and Baker was a street free agent (released by the Patriots).

Of the six losses, Wallace and Tapp were traded, Grant was released and Laury was an untendered RFA. But Burleson and Redding were pure UFAs who would qualify for the formula.

With few quality UFAs remaining, it’s a decent bet the Hawks will pull at least the mid-round pick for Burleson in 2011 (assuming the owners don’t lock down the sport before the draft).


With Redding officially gone, you can close the book on the Julian Peterson trade from last year.

So what did the Hawks get by sending the Pro Bowl linebacker to Detroit? One sub-par year from Redding and a fifth-rounder that was used to trade up in the 2009 draft for promising young receiver Deon Butler.

Expectations should be high for Butler this season, since he will in effect be Seattle’s third-round pick this year (plus last year’s fifth and seventh).

To read our take on Jim Mora's "therapy session" on KIRO-AM, go Outside The Press Box.