Seattle Seahawks Receiver Corps Will Be Fine Without Terrell Owens

Chris CluffCorrespondent IIMay 21, 2010

SEATTLE - DECEMBER 06:  Wide receiver Deion Branch #83 of the Seattle Seahawks scores a touchdown against Mark Roman #26 of the San Francisco 49ers on December 6, 2009 at Qwest Field in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

If Golden Tate can do everything he says he can and Deion Branch is as good as Pete Carroll thinks he is, the Seahawks will be just fine at wide receiver.

Either way, they certainly don’t need Terrell Owens and they’re probably happy they didn’t acquire Brandon Marshall.

The Seahawks reportedly have been in intermittent contact with Owens’ agent this offseason, but there’s just no reason to sign a 36-year-old clubhouse cancer who drops as many as he catches. And the contact with Owens most likely occurred before the Seahawks drafted Tate in the second round this year, so we can only hope they have no interest at this point.

Also, now that Marshall has had another hip surgery and is out until training camp, the Seahawks are probably exhaling with relief that Miami trumped their offer by giving up two second-round picks to go with a $47 million contract for the malcontent wide receiver.

The Seahawks will be OK at receiver, with Tate and Branch (IF healthy) joining T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Deon Butler, plus the motley crew of roster hopefuls with some potential, led by Ben Obomanu and Mike Williams.

Tate had some spicy things to say in a recent radio interview.

Speaking to 960 WSBT radio (linked to by the South Bend Tribune ), Tate said his 5'10" height prevented him from going in the first round of the draft.

“If I was 6'3", I might have been a top-10 pick,” the former Golden Domer said. “We all know how that goes. I’m not a typical 6'2", 6'3" guy, so therefore I didn’t go as high as I wanted to.

“I still feel that no one in this year’s draft can do what I can do—and do it well. I think I can do the wildcat, play slot, play outside, do kick returns, do punt returns, do reverses. I think I can do all of those things well.

“I see it as 31 missed opportunities for these other organizations [that passed on him]...I’m excited to get out there and prove that they missed out, that no matter what size I am I can still play this game and play it pretty well.”

Carroll thinks Branch can still play it well, too, even though the 30-year-old receiver is recovering from a third knee surgery in two years and has missed 15 games over the past three years.

“He’s going to have a big role in the offense,” coach Pete Carroll told reporters after Seattle’s first minicamp in early April. “I think he recognizes that and really embraced that and really is excited about what’s going on.

"We have to go to him. He’s just too well equipped. He’s in great shape. He’s worked out hard. He performed beautifully in this camp and showed that all those thoughts we had about him coming in are legit.”

But Branch has yet to fulfill the promise he brought with him from New England when Tim Ruskell traded Seattle’s 2007 first-round pick and paid Branch $39 million.

His stats in Seattle over the past four years are worse than they were in his first four years in New England, yet he has been paid 10 times more.

When the deal was made in September 2006, this was our thought: The 2007 first-round draft choice, which figured to be a late pick, was not a bad price to pay for an experienced receiver supposedly entering his prime, but the contract was way too steep for a guy who had not even been a 1,000-yard receiver and whose only claim to fame was being named Super Bowl MVP.

Ruskell thought he could remake Seattle’s receiving corps, with Nate Burleson and Branch replacing Darrell Jackson and Bobby Engram.

Not a bad idea in theory. But Burleson and Branch were even more injury prone and inconsistent than Jackson and Engram, and Branch has been a complete bust.

Carroll obviously is willing to give him a fresh start, but Branch’s knee problems are unlikely to allow him to contribute much as he gets paid over $5 million in 2010 to go with the $27.5 million he already has been paid.

Even without Branch, the Seahawks still have Houshmandzadeh, Butler, and Tate—plus whichever receiver steps forward from the group that includes Obomanu, Mike Williams, Reggie Williams and Ruvell Martin.

A team does not need marquee receivers to reach, or even win, the Super Bowl. Just look at the Patriots, who won with Branch as their top guy. Or the Seahawks, who played most of their Super Bowl season without their top two receivers.

So, no, the Hawks don’t need Owens or Marshall or even Branch—especially if Tate does everything he says he can.


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