Seahawks free agency: 2 trades, 2 cuts, and 5 new contracts that Seattle should do before Tuesday
A plan that could help the Seahawks get better--for the long run.
During the previous 11 times I’ve covered Pete Carroll’s offseason, he hasn’t changed. Sometimes the circumstances change and then he adapts, but for as much as the Russell Wilson trade probably signaled “MASSIVE CHANGES” to many, the reality sounds like that departure was a result of Pete’s resistance to change.
My expectation is that the rest of the Seahawks offseason will be painfully boring as compared to what happened last week. In a moment, you’ll read a couple of trade scenarios and re-signings that I believe fall well into the categories of “realistic” and “whelming.”
By the end, the Seahawks will have plenty of cap space remaining and a few holes left on the roster to fill. I’ll address those in my upcoming “free agents and trade targets” plan.
Gabe Jackson to Rams for 2023 sixth round pick
It was a great season. Who among us will ever forget Gabe Jackson? That time he played guard. And I’m sure he did other things as well. To Gabe Jackson.
Why an intra-division trade between two teams that supposedly hate each other? Not only does Jackson now have one year of experience under Shane Waldron, a former Sean McVay disciple, he also spent many years playing for former Raiders offensive coordinator Greg Olson; the Rams just hired Olson as an offensive assistant. Seattle must concede that the defending Super Bowl champions are a better team right now and that giving them Jackson won’t have a long-term significant impact on the NFC West.
L.A. would do it because right guard Austin Corbett is a free agent and sending their extra sixth rounder next year to the Seahawks is a chip they can actually afford to use in order to plug that offensive line hole on the cheap.
Why is Seattle doing it? Opening up space for Phil Haynes to test his mettle against starting NFL competition next season. The Seahawks should be just as happy to acquire 2023 draft capital as 2022 capital.
DE Carlos Dunlap, 2023 6th (from Steelers) to Steelers for OT Zach Banner, 2023 4th round pick
The Seahawks acquired that draft pick from Pittsburgh for Ahkello Witherspoon. Time to send it back with a thank you card.
This trade package may not excite Seahawks fans, but my projections are not meant to make you happy; they’re meant to make you feel like Seahawks fans. Hear me out, I don’t think this is that underwhelming.
First, Dunlap’s $6.5 million salary puts him in the “Wow! That’s cheap!” bin and a good enough bargain for Seattle to explore what they can get in trade. I know that Dunlap could provide value on the Seahawks’ defense next season but why not give him a chance to go to a better situation? He’s 33, he’s never won a playoff game, and he just watched his old team go to the Super Bowl.
Before Zac Taylor was hired in Cincinnati, Dunlap played one season under defensive coordinator Teryl Austin on the Bengals; Austin is now the defensive coordinator in Pittsburgh and you can never have too many good pass rushers.
Banner was a fourth round pick out of USC in 2017 and expected to need at least a couple of years of development to get into starting shape. That has now turned into five years of development and it’s unclear if the 6’8, 360 lb brick wall will ever become an NFL football player. The Steelers are his fourth team already and he was expected to be the team’s starting right tackle last season, but injuries set him back (he also tore his ACL in Week 1 of 2020) and Mike Tomlin made it clear that he has no position versatility whatsoever.
“He's a tackle and tackle only."
Guess what? The Seahawks need a right tackle. They could afford to pay his $5 million 2022 base salary and also eat Carlos Dunlap’s dead money at the same time.
Banner is from Tacoma, but I still think the Seahawks should give him a chance anyway.
WR Tyler Lockett
I’ve already written about how the Seahawks can actually afford to trade Tyler Lockett, even though it would cost them more money to do so. Now here’s why they shouldn’t.
Lockett’s $10.05 million salary is a bargain and doesn’t even place him in the top-20 for his position in 2022, even though I believe he’s still proven to be a top-20 player. Lockett turns 30 on September 28th and I’ve extensively covered how, why, and when the over-30 receivers list began shrinking; it’s nearly at zero. However, Seattle’s in a position to be patient with Lockett right now because they have nothing to fear if he shows signs of decline next season.
How much more could that hurt the offense than trading Russell Wilson? I think this takes a lot of pressure off of Lockett actually, and he’s signed for four more seasons.
Second, trading Lockett could end up doing more to damage DK Metcalf’s development than his absence would do to increase the third-year receiver’s opportunities. The Seahawks need more than a quarterback upgrade to help Metcalf do what he does best on the outside, and that includes a second star player for defenses to hold accountable next year.
Trying to “cash in” Tyler Lockett for a day two pick while he’s still guaranteed to have some value may feel like a step too far after parting with Wilson and Bobby Wagner. There are ways for Seattle to set “winning” aside without having to put a boring product on the field and keeping Lockett requires absolutely zero effort but gives fans someone else to root for on Sundays.
Help keep Seaside Joe alive by doing this:
K Jason Myers
Personally, Jason, I didn’t want to do it. Other than having the killeriest name possible, I’d be fine keeping you around. But honestly I get phone calls every single day from concerned fans who want to make a change because you missed a couple of kicks in some of the more painful losses last season.
Oh, I get, I get. I do. I know. Players at every position have bad seasons and we forgive and forget and move on if it’s a star wide receiver or a pass rusher or often a quarterback, but never a kicker. Most people don’t even really honestly know when an offensive lineman or a cornerback has had a down year, and if they did, would they even care? But a bad kicking season based on two or three missed kicks for a mediocre team… I’m afraid there’s nothing I can do for you.
Yes, of course I remember Stephen Hauschka. And yes, I remember Blair Walsh following him. Okay. Take care. Seriously, it’s $4 million in savings and there’s probably going to be someone interesting worth taking a flier on in training camp. So… yeah. Okay. Okay. Okay. Take care. Okay. Bye.
RB Chris Carson
I attempted to trade him. I couldn’t justify a team paying his $4.5 million base salary.
DE Benson Mayowa
DE Kerry Hyder
DE L.J. Collier
“What do they cost?!”
“When do we want them?”
None of these players are costing Seattle more than $2.5 million in salary next season, there’s no real benefit to the savings and they also don’t have trade value. It’s a low-risk, high-reward proposition to give every pass rusher on the team an opportunity to show out in training camp next season and to earn a new contract next year. One of them may even turn into a future compensatory pick if you let their deals play out.
Seahawks projected 2022 cap space after these moves: $52.3 million
Seahawks projected 2023 cap space after these moves: $152.7 million
Restricted Free Agents
Tender (sign to contract)
No Tender (can sign with other teams)
CB Blessuan Austin
C Kyle Fuller
WR John Ursua (ERFA)
DE Marcus Webb (ERFA)
DB Gavin Heslop (ERFA)
I could be wrong about keeping one of the exclusive rights like Gavin Heslop or something, but this part of the “rebuild” should not be given too much thought by us.
“What happened with John Ursua this year?”
“You’re gonna want to sit down for this.”
READ ALSO: TRADE TARGET QB RANKINGS
RB Rashaad Penny to two-year, $12.5 million contract ($6.5m guaranteed)
It would look something like this and it gives both player and team reasonable incentive for Penny to have a great year. Penny gets a $3 million signing bonus and his entire $3.5 million base salary in 2022 guaranteed. He then gets a $6 million salary in 2023 if he stays healthy this year and could reasonably expect an extension if that happens.
I used Kareem Hunt’s contract as a model to make Penny’s deal look like this:
2022 cap space: $51 million
You gotta admit this is pretty decent content, so if you dig it please:
You could e-mail it to someone, post to Facebook, or print it out and make stickers.
S Quandre Diggs to four-year, $66 million contract ($34 million guaranteed)
Update: Seahawks re-sign Diggs to three-year, $40 million contract
It kind of looks like this, I used Justin Simmons’ deal as a model:
The contract puts Diggs in the top tier of safety contracts and with the expectation that he’ll be ready to play again by Week 1, this deal locks down a very important player to Seattle’s LONG-TERM vision.
Though he is recently 29, look at perhaps the top safety duo in the NFL last season: Jordan Poyer and Micah Hyde in Buffalo. Two underrated signings and a part of the Bills’ rebuilding plan for basically the entire run. They’re both over 30. The Vikings extended Harrison Smith last year, at age 33. The Patriots are hanging onto 34-year-old Devin McCourty again. I don’t see why the Seahawks can’t be competitive again by 2023 and why Diggs can’t be a part of that. The team needs to spend somewhere and Diggs is already a good player in Seattle.
Plus if he’s willing to protest PFF grades, then I’m willing to support Diggs.
2022 cap space: $44.9 million
TE Gerald Everett to three-year, $17.635 million contract ($7.035m guaranteed, $2 million roster bonus in 2023)
We get EXACT here at Seaside Joe.
Everett would be getting about the same deal as what Panthers’ tight end Ian Thomas got recently, another player who parlayed some good reps into a surprisingly lucrative contract.
Going into this exercise, I expected to pick Will Dissly. It seemed clear to me though that the offense, and the run game, was at its best as Everett’s playing time continued to increase in December and January.
I think fans need to let go of the fantasy of Gerald Everett becoming a consistently reliable threat in the passing game, but Seattle needs players during this transition period who already know the Waldron offense; Everett’s played in some form of it for all five of his NFL seasons.
2022 cap space: $42 million
CB Sidney Jones to one-year, $3 million contract (fully-guaranteed)
Update: The Seahawks have re-signed Sidney Jones
If the Seahawks are going to prioritize a cornerback, I believe it should be the one who won’t have as competitive of a market this week.
What I’m not quite sure of is whether or not people are underestimating Jones’ market. He had 11 starts, played in over 60-percent of the snaps, and seemed to hold his own while finally staying healthy for the first time. Sidney Jones would have been a first round pick if not for injuries and he’s not turning 26 until May.
I’m giving him the same contract that Desmond King got with the Texans last year, a cornerback of similar age and experience at this time in 2021. My goal is to make every potential transaction as realistic as possible and I’ve seen Jones projected in the $3 million range. If it ends up being a lot more than that, I wouldn’t be overly surprised.
2022 cap space: $39 million
DE Rasheem Green to three-year, $24.5 million contract ($12.5 million guaranteed)
There was a time when Carl Nassib had back-to-back “OK” seasons for the Buccaneers, putting up similar numbers to what Green just had (15 QB hits, 6.5 sacks) for the Seahawks last year. Nassib turned that into a three-year, $25 million contract with the Raiders and even if he’s underwhelmed on his free agent deal, that no less feels like a fair going rate for Green.
Rather than go the Nassib path, Green might just be tapping into his inner-Emmanuel Ogbah. By the time he was 26, Ogbah showed promise but had yet to break out. Since turning 27 and joining the Dolphins two years ago, he has 18 sacks and 45 QB hits with 17 batted passes.
Green still hasn’t turn 25. The Seahawks should see this one through. It may turn into the release of one of the pass rushers I listed above, just FYI.
2022 cap space: $33 million
READ ALSO: FREE AGENT QB RANKINGS
Do Not Re-Sign
LT Duane Brown
Trading Russell Wilson and announcing the departure of Duane Brown may as well have been the same report. In my experience, a free agent like Brown could return a third round compensatory pick if the Seahawks don’t make an offsetting move. If they do then this is moot, but if they don’t and Brown signs elsewhere, that’s another third round pick in Seattle’s pocket.
Would you trade Duane Brown for a third round pick?
RT Brandon Shell
I believe one of the the Seahawks’ first three picks in the draft could be used on a player who will compete to start at right tackle. Maybe even their first pick.
C Ethan Pocic
Seattle would also love to find a starting center in the draft and that’s a position where finding one on day two isn’t improbable. I do think there’s a better free agent alternative.
CB D.J. Reed
I guess what would be the point if I didn’t do something that everyone would hate?
This is a compliment to Reed. He priced himself out of what the Seahawks should be paying to keep him, and a third or fourth round compensatory pick may be more useful at this time. In this scenario, I’ve kept Sidney Jones, and Seattle retains Ugo Amadi, Tre Brown, John Reid.
Dislike this? Tell me about it:
DT Al Woods
Wow, Al Woods.
Update: Wow, new Seahawks contract for Al Woods!
TE Will Dissly
Probably also controversial, I’m going with what I believe Pete Carroll would favor based on how the Seahawks were running to end the year. Dissly falls into the “Nick Boyle” range for me and a team might be willing to pay him $5 million per season.
RB Alex Collins
I feel like I’m 15 keystrokes away from writing that Thomas Rawls won’t be retained this year either.
DT Robert Nkemdiche
OL Jamarco Jones
QB Geno Smith
2022 cap space: $33 million
2024 compensatory picks: 3rd (Brown)?, 4th (Reed)?, 6th (Dissly)?
At this point, I’ve given Seattle a pretty chill roster and money to play with in free agency, if they want to. I think it was a big deal to retain those five players—Penny, Green, Jones, Everett, Diggs—and to keep stability at up to five starting positions for next season.
More importantly, four of five players are signed for at least two more seasons and if Sidney Jones is healthy and plays well, the Seahawks will be in easy position to extend him.
In this scenario, Seattle also increases their 2023 draft capital and opens up space on the roster by trading Dunlap and Jackson, but the Seahawks keep Tyler Lockett. Pete Carroll also adds Zach Banner to compete at right tackle with Jake Curhan, Stone Forsythe, and probably a rookie draft pick.
There’s $33 million left in cap space (a little less because Seattle must set aside several million for necessities and they have to replace the players they’ve lost, including the quarterback) and this is potentially all before free agency begins on Tuesday.
I’ll update with what the Seahawks should do in free agency and on the trade market in the next post.
Seaside Joe is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
My doctor said I need at least 25 comments on this post in order to see the sun rise again. Please help me see it shine by telling me what you think of today’s pre-free agency plan:
Very detailed, very thoughtful, and quite bold. It’s a deep dive and I am usually in the shallow end of the pool. I’m glad you want to keep Tyler. I love that guy. Surprised about Everett over Dissly but I get it. So many challenges and tough choices. Doc, you gotta give your boy Kenneth a free pass here. He earned it!
I like the trades.
I'm on the fence with Lockett. I get your argument though and I think I'm on-board with keeping him. The team must have a QB in mind and I think the Lockett thing will make sense once we know who the QB will be.