Are the Seahawks Done Shopping?

Scout.com
Posted Mar 25, 2007


The free-agent picture has become clearer for the Seahawks heading into the draft. The team still might add a veteran offensive lineman, but the big spending in free agency appears largely finished. Seattle added safeties Deon Grant and Brian Russell after giving up too many big plays last season.

With Grant and Russell onboard, the Seahawks showed no interest in re-signing former starter Ken Hamlin, who took a one-year deal with Dallas.

Seeking to upgrade the pass rush, a longstanding concern for the Seahawks, team president Tim Ruskell added former Pro Bowler Patrick Kerney from the Falcons while releasing Grant Wistrom. The Seahawks added Marcus Pollard after determining that the 35-year-old tight end hadn't lost his quickness. Seattle's first choice was Daniel Graham, the best player at the position in free agency, but the Broncos were willing to pay more for his services.

Seattle was already heading in a new direction at tight end when Arizona police arrested former starter Jerramy Stevens on DUI and marijuana charges. Ruskell made Stevens' departure official when he confirmed that the 2002 first-round choice would not return.

Pollard is the favorite to start despite his age.

"That was my concern, too, but when you watch the tape from last year, the guy still has his quickness, he is still a tenacious blocker and he still has good hands and he has not been an injury guy during his career," Ruskell said.

Seattle then re-signed veteran receiver Bobby Engram, a move that was surely welcomed by quarterback Matt Hasselbeck and coach Mike Holmgren. Both have come to rely upon Engram for clutch catches, particularly on third down, although age and injuries have limited Engram more recently. Engram, 34, missed part of last season with a thyroid condition. He returned late in the season and contributed in the playoffs. His knowledge of the offense could be valuable if the Seahawks trade starter Darrell Jackson.

The offensive line still needs addressing. Seattle re-signed versatile veteran Floyd Womack, who has talent but lacks durability. Womack has played every position on the line except center. Bringing him back was important after the Seahawks failed to land Kris Dielman in the first days of free agency. But Ruskell said the team needs veteran help at the position even if the Seahawks were to add one or two more linemen in the draft. The team is talking with long-time starting guard Chris Gray, but he turns 37 in June and isn't a long-term answer.

NOTES, QUOTES

--Coach Mike Holmgren wishes the best for troubled TE Jerramy Stevens, who has played his final game for the Seahawks. The team was heading in another direction at the position even before Stevens was arrested on DUI and marijuana charges in Arizona. "I have come under the gun in years past about not taking a harder line with some of our players, but people don't really know what goes on behind the scenes," Holmgren said. "I like him personally. I think when he was healthy and played for us, you couldn't ask for a harder worker and he did a nice job for us as a player.

"I always think, though, if you get in too many jams, you have to deal with life issues more then the athletic issues, and I would say the same thing about him."

--NFL teams routinely sell naming rights for stadiums. The Seahawks recently sold rights to their new practice facility. The Virginia Mason Athletic Center is scheduled to open in June 2008. It's all part of the team's new headquarters, to be located about nine miles south of the current site. "The VMAC will allow our organization to consolidate into one facility, attract and retain free agents and bring training camp back home," CEO Tod Leiweke said. "(We) strive to be at the top of our profession and this partnership helps accomplish that goal."

--Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck is "ahead of schedule" in his rehabilitation from surgery to repair a torn labrum in his non-throwing shoulder. That was the word from Ruskell. The team expects Hasselbeck to do some throwing at May minicamps before making a full return in June, before training camp.

QUOTE TO NOTE:
"I would say it is probably time for a change of scenery and to move on from that situation." -- Team president Tim Ruskell on Jerramy Stevens.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

The Seahawks are moving slowing in the guard market. Cooper Carlisle remains a free agents, but he doesn't appear close to signing with Seattle or anyone. Carlisle visited the Seahawks. The team could still re-sign Chris Gray, but even then, depth at the position needs addressing.

MEDICAL WATCH: No updates.

FRANCHISE PLAYER
--PK Josh Brown: Tendered at $2.078M.

TRANSITION PLAYER: None.

UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS
--OG Chris Gray could return in a backup role and he has the potential to start if needed.
--LB D.D. Lewis has a hard time staying healthy and that will hurt him in free agency.
--DE Kemp Rasmussen spent last season on injured reserve. He's a good special-teamer when healthy.
--RB Josh Scobey is a top-flight special-teams coverage player who can return kicks, but he is not a factor as a runner.
--TE Jerramy Stevens ended his chance of being re-signed after March 13 arrest.
--DE Joe Tafoya can be a very good special-teams player, but injuries have taken a toll.
--CB Jimmy Williams is coming off ACL surgery, putting his future in doubt.

UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS (not tendered offers)
--S Oliver Celestin (not tendered as RFA) served as a backup all last season. He has some experience.

RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS
--DB Jordan Babineaux (tendered at $1.35M with 2nd-round pick as compensation) can play corner or safety, and he has a history of making plays. At some point he needs to focus on one position.
--WR D.J. Hackett (tendered at $1.35M with 2nd-round pick as compensation) has starting potential.
--LB Niko Koutouvides (tendered at $850,000 with 4th-round pick as compensation) is a core special-teams player but not a starting-caliber linebacker.
--OT Sean Locklear (tendered at $1.85M with 1st-round pick as compensation) got a higher tender even though he's coming off an injury-diminished season.
--DT Craig Terrill (tendered at $850,000 with 6th-round pick as compensation) is a good pass rusher with lots of energy and a great motor. He should be recovered from the knee injury that ended his 2006 season early.

PLAYERS RE-SIGNED
--WR Bobby Engram: UFA; terms unknown.
--TE Will Heller: UFA; $1.8M/2 yrs, $300,000 SB.
--DB Pete Hunter: Potential UFA; terms unknown.
--FB Josh Parry: Not tendered as RFA; $1.52M/ 2 yrs, $120,000 SB.
--LS Derek Rackley: Potential UFA; $720,000/1 yr, $40,000 SB.
--OG Floyd Womack: UFA; terms unknown.

PLAYERS ACQUIRED
--S Deon Grant: UFA Jaguars; 6 yrs, terms unknown.
--DE Patrick Kerney: UFA Falcons; $39.5M/6 yrs, $19.5M guaranteed.
--TE Marcus Pollard: FA Lions; terms unknown.
--S Brian Russell: UFA Browns; $13.5M/5 yrs, $3M SB.

PLAYERS LOST
--LS J.P. Darche: UFA Chiefs; 4 yrs, terms unknown.
--S Ken Hamlin: UFA Cowboys; $2.5M/1 yr, SB unknown.
--C Robbie Tobeck: UFA; retired.
--DE Grant Wistrom (released; post-June 1 designation).



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