Key Additions: None
Key Re-Signings: Michael Bennett ($7.1M per year), Tony McDaniel ($2.9M), Steven Hauschka ($2.9M), Anthony McCoy ($1.4M), Jeron Johnson ($1.4M), Tarvaris Jackson ($1.3M)
Key Losses: Golden Tate (Lions), Brandon Browner (Patriots), Breno Giacomini (Jets), Walter Thurmond (Giants), Paul McQuistan (Browns), Chris Maragos (Eagles)
Major Cuts: Chris Clemons ($7.5M cap savings), Sidney Rice ($7.3M), Red Bryant ($5.5M)
Free Agency Thoughts:
The Seahawks really did not go outside the organization this year to bring in anyone of note and instead faced the tough decisions about who to retain from their Super Bowl roster. The biggest decision came quickly when the Seahawks re-signed DE Michael Bennett to what will likely play out as a two year, $16 million deal. Bennett was incredibly important to the championship and would have been the most difficult player to replace either through the draft or via free agency. He was the one free agent they needed to bring back.
There are many that seemed down on the loss of Golden Tate, but if Percy Harvin is healthy they would have been overpaying significantly for Tate. Tate signed a contract worth over $6 million a season with the Lions and with Harvin already being a premier paid talent the Seahawks could not afford to add a top salaried second target to the mix. It would have been a waste of resources. Keeping Doug Baldwin on a RFA tag was a much more cost efficient move.
I think the more questionable move was not retaining Breno Giacomini, though Giacomini did miss time last year with a knee injury. Giacomini was not a top line contract player that would significantly impact the bottom line, but they may feel that between the draft and Michael Bowie they can get lower cost value.
From there the team opted to main lower cost depth in Tony McDaniel, Anthony McCoy, and Steven Hauschka at positions of weakness/need rather than the players in the secondary. Both Walter Thurmond and Brandon Browner could be valuable pieces in the secondary, but with big money expected to be invested in starters either this year or next, they were expendable.
Overall Grade: C+
Much like their rivals, the 49ers, little was going to be expected of the Seahawks this offseason. Every move they make has to be with a forward eye on 2015 rather than a strict focus on 2014. While that can be alarming the fact is they have major contract extensions soon coming due for Richard Sherman, Russell Wilson, Earl Thomas, and Russell Okung. Those players need to be replaced with low cost draft picks in the future and the Seahawks will likely optimize their compensatory selections next season.
Most importantly the team did not touch the contracts of Harvin, Marshawn Lynch, or even Cliff Avril for cap relief. They made the tough decisions to release Red Bryant and Chris Clemons while getting better terms on Zach Miller and eventually Sidney Rice. By not overspending this year and pushing more money into next season Seattle should have one of the top 7 cap situations in 2015. That gives them the money, starting now, to lock up the important pieces for the future and potentially replenish their low cost production in the 2014 and 2015 drafts, which is what drives their grade.