The Seattle Seahawks have a star-studded team already, with no real pressing needs to fill in this offseason. GM John Schneider has put together a championship team that’s young and will be together for longer than a year. In fact, the 12th Man will probably see more cuts than marquee free agent signings, because this upcoming 2014 NFL Draft is full of talent that is sure to pervade even to the Seattle’s end of each round.
The Seahawks are already going to let Sidney Rice go – that should not surprise anyone given the performances of Doug Baldwin, Golden Tate, and Jermaine Kearse. The move will free up around $7 million in cap for the savvy Schneider for him to use elsewhere. And boy does he need it; he has to re-sign fellow receivers Doug Baldwin and Golden Tate, he has to address the contracts of offensive linemen Paul
McQuistan, Lemuel Jeanpierre, and Breno Giacomini, fullback Michael Robinson, defensive linemen Michael Bennett, Clint McDonald, and Tony McDaniel, linebacker O’Brien Schofield, corner Walter Thurmond, safety Chris Maragos, and kicker Steven Hauschka.
Now, most of these guys should not present a problem to Schneider money-wise. I say most because Michael Bennett has already implicitly admitted he will be a thorn in Schneider’s side, because the NFL “isn’t Costco.” I talked about Bennett exclusively in my last article here on the Seahawks page, so I won’t say much here other than he’s not worth compromising finances in order to retain him. Let him go, and tell him to not let the door hit him in the behind.
Baldwin’s a restricted free agent, and should be relatively easy to re-sign. Tate has already proclaimed he would take a discount to stay in Seattle, so I see him returning. Jeanpierre, Schofield, and Maragos will come back on a dime, and I imagine McDonald, McDaniel, and Thurmond will come cheaply, as well. However, this year’s crop of corners entering the draft is profound, so Thurmond isn’t a necessity.
McQuistan and Giacomini are interesting to me, because the rest of the NFL could easily offer them more money than Seattle will initially. Schneider could let them both go, allowing J.R. Sweezy and Alvin Bailey or Michael Bowie to take their spots, and then of course replenish offensive linemen depth through the draft. Bowie and Bailey got great auditioning time when Giacomini was down for over a month, and they could easily step up for a full season if some other NFL team offers Giacomini a more lucrative contract elsewhere. I’m not sure that’s actually going to happen, since once again this year’s draft is full of talent, but Schneider could be keeping that possibility in the back of his mind.
Then there’s Hauschka and Robinson, who contribute plenty to the team’s success. Robinson’s personality alone should get him a new contract; his “Real Rob Report” on YouTube is pure entertainment, and the lanes he helps create for Marshawn Lynch cannot be overstated. Hauschka’s leg was absolute money, and his consistency is sure to be coveted by other teams. Schneider should still not have a problem bringing him back, as kickers don’t warrant huge, lucrative contracts.
Schneider has a lot of contracts to look at, and he also has to think down the road as well, with contract extensions for guys like Earl Thomas, Richard Sherman, and Russell Wilson. Most of the players stated above should return because they won’t command a lot of money. Some, like Bennett, McQuistan, Giacomini, and Tate, could attract interest elsewhere, but the upcoming draft has plenty of talent, especially at wide receiver and offensive line, to deal with any potential vacancies.
So while the 12th Man may not see any big free agent signings this offseason, GM John Schneider will undoubtedly put yet another championship-caliber 53-man roster come next fall.