Free Agency 2014 (3/11)

Instead of putting up a barrage of separate posts, I'll be updating this one as Seahawks-related news rolls in throughout the evening (for a look at the Seahawks cap picture prior to the start of free agency, check out this article).  Aside from yesterday's signings of both DE Michael Bennett (4 years, $28.5 million with $16M guaranteed) and TE Anthony McCoy (1 year, amount undisclosed but likely close to $645k minimum), the only news today has been regarding Seahawks free agents going elsewhere.

So far, the team has lost backup linebacker/leo defensive end O'Brien Schofield to the Giants (2 yrs, $8M) and 3-tech nickel DT Clinton McDonald to the Buccaneers (4 yrs, $12M).  Both were rotational guys, with McDonald being the more valuable of the two (interior pass rushers are hard to find, situational or otherwise), but neither was worth as much to the Seahawks as their new teams were willing to pay them.  Not a bad payday for two guys who were both cut last year, McDonald by the Seahawks in the final cutdown before being brought back a week later due to injuries and Schofield by the Cardinals during training camp.  I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for McDonald because he was the guy the Hawks got in return for palming the bane of my existence, first round CB and flop artist extraordinaire Kelly Jennings, off on the Bengals — that was a good day.

Golden Tate is scheduled to visit the Lions, who are still desperate to find a decent #2 wideout to pair with Calvin Johnson.  As much as I'd like to see him back in Seattle next year, I have a feeling that someone else is going to back up a dumptruck full of money to Tate's front door within the next few days.

Walter Thurmond is scheduled to visit the Jaguars in the near future, which is a pairing that makes sense on multiple levels.  Jacksonville head coach Gus Bradley knows Thurmond from his years as Seattle's defensive coordinator, and they have plenty of money (~$51.77M in cap space at last count) to snap up talent for a secondary that's staffed by Will Blackmon and not much else.  If he goes, he goes — the Seahawks still have Jeremy Lane to man the nickel slot, plus 2013 draft pick Tharold Simon (assuming he ever stops having foot surgeries) and whoever win the Seahawks' annual Snag a 6'+ DB sweepstakes in this year's draft.

Finally, ex-Packers TE Jermichael Finley will reportedly be visiting Seattle on Wednesday and taking a physical.  Finley had two vertebrae fused together last November after taking a scary hit versus the Browns that left him temporarily paralyzed.  I'm not sure this is more than a kick-the-tires sort of visit, but there's no point in speculating much beyond that until we know his neck passes medical scrutiny.


UPDATE (5:40): Cowboys defensive lineman Jason Hatcher is scheduled to visit the Seahawks sometime this week.  Hatcher plays defensive end in Dallas' 3-4 defense, so he could potentially take over either the 5-tech DE position vacated by Red Bryant or McDaniel's run-stuffing DT job next to Mebane.

Hatcher had a career season in 2013 for the Cowboys with 11 sacks, but I wouldn't read too much into that.  He racked up just 16 sacks over his previous seven seasons (2.29 sacks/year).  Bottom line, he's a solid d-lineman but not a worldbeater.  If he's willing to take a modest deal Schneider might snap him up, but if he's just looking to turn his lone Pro Bowl season into a big money contract then expect the Hawks to let him walk without a deal.


UPDATE (11:10): Tony McDaniel and the Seahawks are currently trying to negotiate a new deal to bring him back to Seattle.  This is great news for the run defense in 2014, provided he can be brought back on a cap-friendly contract.

Breno Giacomini is reportedly visiting the Jets on Wednesday, and from the sound of things New York is making a strong push to sign him after losing their 2013 right tackle Austin Howard to the Raiders (Oakland, as is their custom, grossly overpaid for him, too).  Giacomini is an average lineman and Seattle should definitely not shell out big bucks to keep him, but it also seems telling that no one else on ther roster was able to supplant him in the starting lineup last season.  Here's hoping for some quality additions to the o-line in the next few weeks.

The Seahawks and the Bears are both reportedly trying to sweet talk ex-Vikings & Chiefs DE Jared Allen into signing up.  Allen is still a sack machine, but he also doesn't take over and dominate games like he used to in his prime.  He could be intriguing as part of Seattle's rotation up front, but only at the right price — and from the sound of things, there's a strong possibility that he'll be asking for far more money than he's worth at this stage in his career.

Regarding Jason Hatcher, I'm starting to warm up to the idea of him suiting up for Seattle.  His lack of production in Dallas for most of his career may very well have been due to him being a poor fit for a 3-4 defense.  I have a hard time believing it's just a coincidence that he racked up a career best 11 sacks last season right after the Cowboys made the switch over to a 4-3 front.  At 32 he isn't going to be an every down starter, but he could provide a lot more pass rush than I initially gave him credit for in my previous assessment.