Seattle Seahawks' Trade Talk: Has Seattle Learned How to Deal?

Chris CluffCorrespondent IIMarch 27, 2010

INDIANAPOLIS - DECEMBER 13:  Brandon Marshall #15 of the Denver Broncos runs with the ball during the NFL game against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium on December 13, 2009 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  The Colts won 28-16.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The Seattle Seahawks’ new management has not appeared very savvy in making trades so far. But it looks like there is some hope yet as they take their time in the Brandon Marshall situation.

Coach Pete Carroll acknowledged this week that the Seahawks are still interested in the Denver receiver and have engaged in preliminary talks with both Denver and Marshall’s agent, Kennard McGuire.

“Knowing he has a chance to be available, just like any other aspect of building a football team, we're looking for the best guys we can possibly find,” Carroll told reporters at the owners meetings in Orlando. “See what we can do with him and see what his individual situation holds, and there’s a chance you can find a way to get him.”

We can only hope the Hawks are not going to give in and give up a first-round pick for Marshall, who simply brings far too many negatives to be valued that highly.

So far, the Seahawks have made three trades, and, if you are scoring at home, they are 0-2-1 in those deals. Carroll and general manager John Schneider apparently have never played poker, bought a car, or otherwise engaged in any activity that requires bluffing or negotiation.

Cleveland Browns president Mike Holmgren stole Seneca Wallace, as the Seahawks foolishly gave up the athletic backup QB for a seventh-round pick in 2011 that they might have been able to upgrade to a sixth. Not a good deal when you consider that Holmgren obviously wanted Wallace a lot more than Carroll and Schneider did.

You’re telling me the Hawks couldn’t finagle a fifth-round pick for him? Holmgren’s Browns have four selections in that round this year.

The Seahawks did OK on the Darryl Tapp deal, getting a fourth-round pick and a player for the former second-rounder who apparently didn’t fit Carroll’s defense—even though Carroll previously had said he did. The Tapp deal has to be considered a wash at this point, although that won’t be known for a year or two.

Then there’s the Charlie Whitehurst deal. While it’s not a horrible risk by the Seahawks, they definitely could have gotten San Diego’s No. 3 quarterback for less than the second- and third-round picks they gave for him.

The Seahawks reportedly accepted San Diego general manager A.J. Smith’s initial terms without making a counteroffer, then made a contract offer to Whitehurst. What Seattle should have done is this:

1) Negotiated a contract with Whitehurst’s agent first. Whitehurst was a free agent and could negotiate with any team, so the Hawks did not have to get permission from the Chargers just to talk to him.

2) Once it was known Whitehurst preferred the Seahawks, Seattle should then have begun talking trade with Smith. Once Arizona signed Derek Anderson, the Seahawks’ leverage went way up.

3) When Smith asked for the swap of second-rounders plus a 2011 third-rounder, Seattle should have pointed out that a simple swap of seconds is fair market for a third-round pick, as Whitehurst was in 2006.

4) When Smith inevitably pointed out that Whitehurst has had the benefit of four years of NFL tutelage, Seattle then could have said, “Fair point. But he’s still unproven, having never thrown a pass in the NFL. We’ll throw in a seventh in 2011 or a conditional pick in 2012.”

5) Smith then might have countered with a fourth, Seattle with a sixth, and they could have settled on a fifth.

6) In the unlikely event Smith wouldn’t budge off the third, the Hawks should have let the deal stew for a couple of weeks, meanwhile telling Whitehurst to sit tight.

7) If Smith was firm on a fourth-rounder, even after the sixth-round counter, the Hawks could have accepted that deal or bluffed Smith into thinking they no longer wanted to make the deal.

We now know Smith was shocked that he was able to finagle the third-rounder, so it’s quite obvious Carroll and Schneider didn’t do their best negotiating in that deal.

We can only hope they have learned their lesson and will not bend over so easily for the Broncos.

We already threw out a few trade scenarios for Marshall, with the main idea being this: The highest pick the Seahawks should be willing to give up is their second-rounder (and possibly a later pick), unless they pull a trade down in the first round that nets Marshall and a whole lot more.

As for the cash, the Hawks should not pay Marshall more than they are paying T.J. Houshmandzadeh, who got a five-year, $40 million deal last year. Just match that deal. There is no need to pay this dude more than $8 million a year.

What the Seahawks need to understand is that they have the power in this deal. Denver wants to dump Marshall, and Marshall wants to go somewhere else. Unless the Jets or some unknown team (the Redskins perhaps) get involved in this affair, the Seahawks are the lone bidders and should get a good deal on both counts.

Marshall’s poor behavior to this point is the reason no one else is interested in a guy who has caught over 100 passes in each of the last three years. Carroll and Schneider need to use that fact to their advantage.

This is almost as easy of a deal as a team can make, with nearly every element working in Seattle’s favor. All the Hawks have to do is wait it out and they will get Marshall at the right price.

If the Hawks end up surrendering a first-round pick straight up for Marshall and pay him $10 million a year on top of that, it will be proof positive that Schneider is in way over his head as a GM and that Carroll needs a stronger personnel guy who knows how to make better decisions.

We can only hope Carroll and Schneider have learned their lesson after getting schooled by Holmgren and Smith.


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