32 NFL free agents: 1 from every team who fits the Seahawks
The "Seahawk-y" free agents who fit Pete Carroll, plus Tom Brady
If “Mock Free Agency Plans” ever become as popular as mock drafts, I imagine that we will find that they’re even less accurate. Though the pool of talent is probably smaller and the players are more well known, there are so many variables at play between the current time of year and the free agency frenzy of March and April. Many pending free agents will be re-signed, especially the best ones. Teams will decide to fit their needs through the draft, trades, or internal options. And while we try to connect dots based on needs and scheme fits, players may instead decide to pick teams based on factors like weather, state taxes, family considerations, and most importantly…whoever makes the best offer.
Fans tend to get mad at general managers like John Schneider for players who the Seahawks didn’t sign, without ever considering if that free agent had actually ruled out Seattle years ago.
And then after all of the guessing and projecting, my feeling has long been that going hard in the free agent market is a fool’s errand. Many of the NFL’s highest-paid busts: Outside free agents. For example, Kenny Golladay, Robert Quinn, and J.C. Jackson, to name a few. In other cases, trade-and-signs like Russell Wilson could qualify as players who were basically “free agents” with draft compensation attached.
There are two key reasons for this, I think:
1 - You never know how a player will do when transitioning to a new team
2 - Teams don’t tend to let their best players leave in the prime of their careers
It’s not an exact science and there are plenty of exceptions. But I think the Seahawks have always gotten more out of under-valued free agents (choosing Geno Smith over a bevy of other more expensive options in 2022) than big names and that’s probably why John and Pete Carroll rarely chase big names.
Who are the top free agents from every team? For the Seahawks, the answer is simple: Geno Smith.
I’ll name one from each of the other 31 teams, sometimes a big name, sometimes a good value, but always trying to avoid naming players who are unlikely to hit free agency or who appear to make little sense for Seattle. What I found: This is a DEEP free agent class of defensive tackles, edges, inside linebackers, and interior offensive linemen. Perhaps Pete won’t look just to the draft to overhaul his trenches. First I’ll show you the BIGGEST name, but I promise you won’t find the other 30 to be so “headline-grabby”.
Buccaneers: QB Tom Brady
Seasiders, forgive me and allow me the opportunity to attract a few new readers to the newsletter by getting a big name in here. I swear, it is only this one time! And honestly—honestly, there’s no intention to clickbait—I think the Seahawks would have to be on Brady’s short list. Even if he isn’t on theirs.
I accurately predicted in 2020 that if Brady didn’t stay in New England that he would most likely go to the Bucs, and most people were not saying that at the time. Just in terms of FOOTBALL, my feeling is that Brady wants: A coach he respects, weapons, protection, power to run the offense and to call his own free agents, high probability of reaching the playoffs in a weak division.
I think the Seahawks can give him everything other than a great interior offensive line, but with their draft picks, cap space, and Brady’s influence to attract upgrades at center, guard, and tight end (Rob Gronkowski) that may not be an issue for long. Oh and he seems to be super petty, so getting the opportunity to de-throne the 49ers after they spurned his advances in 2020, that would probably appeal to him as well.
I can’t see Brady going to the Raiders to be the third-best quarterback in the AFC West. I don’t necessarily believe he wants to go back to an AFC East now dominated by Josh Allen, especially to a franchise he surely could not respect like the Jets. Perhaps the Dolphins could convince him that they have a top-five offense, and I think Brady would like to stay in Florida, but is he convinced they’re going to get better without a top-50 pick and a line that couldn’t save Tua?
It’s a scenario that I know a lot of Seahawks fans aren’t interested in hearing, but I think when Brady cuts down 32 teams to the short list of options based solely on football (he may have already decided long ago that he would never play in Seattle or for Carroll) that they’ve clearly got a long list of advantages—if they’re looking for a quarterback.
Here are 30 more names, none as big as Brady: