In the early days of free agency, other NFL teams are already pilfering free agents who played for the Seattle Seahawks this past season.
The Seahawks have managed to retain defensive lineman Michael Bennett, but Clint McDonald, Chris Maragos, O’Brien Schofield, Breno Giacomini, and Golden Tate are now signed to other teams. Adding to the loss is the release of defensive end Chris Clemons, a move that frees up around $7.5 million in cap.
But are these losses true losses? In other words, are these losses and releases detrimental to Seattle success next season? In a word, no.
Clemons, 33, was hampered by injuries and didn’t have the production of 2010-12, in which he amassed over 20 sacks. Now with Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett solidified at the ends, there isn’t room for Clemons.
Chris Maragos was an asset on special teams, but Seattle’s special teams unit will still be strong. Maragos may see more playing time for himself with the Eagles, as Seattle’s safeties are pretty sewn up (Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor).
Clint McDonald doesn’t sound like a big loss, but that’s because of how underrated he was. This past season he amassed 35 tackles and four and a half sacks in the middle of the line. I liked him alongside Brandon Mebane. He had great push and instincts, and his $12 million contract with Tampa Bay says he has value around the league. McDonald is going to be a real lift for the Bucs, and it’s sad that Seattle couldn’t keep him. All isn’t lost in the middle of the line, though, because Tony McDaniel is still available. Perhaps that will be a move in the next few days for Seattle.
Schofield is getting two years and $8 million from the Giants, which seems pretty steep for a special teams guy who played some downs at end or outside linebacker. Schofield has a nice burst, but he’s not worth $4 million a year. Like Maragos, he might be looking for more time on the field. Whatever the case may be, Seattle will survive without him.
Giacomini is headed to the Jets, but Seattle has some young guys who already proved themselves when Giacomini was out with injury for over a month. He was a solid tackle and will be missed, but guys like Michael Bowie and Alvin Bailey will be able to take over.
Golden Tate has signed with the Lions for five years and $31 million. This is quite a shocker for me, because Tate said he was willing to take a discount to stay in Seattle. His departure now makes wide receiver a huge priority for the Seahawks, and it will be interesting to see if Seattle makes a splash in free agency for a wideout or just sticks with the draft.
I still don’t really understand Tate going to Detroit. He loved Seattle and the fans, but it feels like he left rather quickly. Now he’ll play for a Lions team that hasn’t won a playoff game since 1991. Detroit does throws the ball a lot, but Calvin Johnson gets the majority of looks. Tate will be a number two guy at best, and he may get less opportunities than he did in Seattle.
Hopefully GM John Schneider is able to keep the rest of the Seattle free agents together, because this scavenging by other teams is disconcerting to say the least.