Tarvaris Jackson will be released before July
Most analysts have now accepted that there is truly a three-way competition for the starting position in Seattle. Many scoffed at the notion, saying Pete Carroll was not serious about it. That talk has all but disappeared now that each player is splitting even reps and rotating with the #1 unit. Tennessee recently announced they would pick their started by the third pre-season game. Many folks are saying they expect the same with Seattle. They are wrong.
The key missing aspect of that analysis is Josh Portis. Anybody that thinks Carroll and John Schneider are okay with losing Portis without compensation are not listening carefully. Portis has reportedly made major strides during the off-season, and was a promising, albeit raw, prospect when last season ended. At 6’3″, he does not have Russell Wilson’s height questions, his arm strength is in Jackson’s realm, and his athleticism is elite. Can he read a defense and throw with accuracy? Probably not well enough to be a starter for another year or two. This three-way competition is stealing reps from Portis. Schneider is not naive enough to think he can hide Portis on the practice squad. Remember, it was once Schneider’s job to scour other team’s practice squads for prospects. He knows there are no secrets in this league.
If Jackson was tearing it up in the OTAs, or even in the upcoming mini-camp, this story might be different. There has not been a single report of Jackson performing at a level higher than last season so far. He is due over $4M this season, and will not win the starting job by simply matching his play from last year. That means he probably enters training camp as the #2 or #3 guy on the depth chart. Sure, they could re-negotiate his deal, but it makes more sense to cut ties as soon as it is clear he will not be the starter. Doing so will give Matt Flynn, Wilson and Portis reps, while also avoiding any cost or messiness of having Jackson on the roster. Many players have roster bonuses in June or July, which is why veterans end up released around this time every year. It also gives that veteran the maximum amount of time to find a new home.
Jackson’s time in Seattle has come to end. He knows it. The team knows it. Carroll and Schneider are not the types to prolong roster decisions they know need to be made. Keep an eye out on this one.
Bruce Irvin will be the first Seahawk to ever win NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year
There have been 46 NFL Defensive Rookies of the Year (DROY) since the league started handing out the award in 1967. Seattle has had a football team for 37 of those years. They have drafted hundreds of players in that time. None of them have even won the DROY honors. Bruce Irvin will snap that streak.
Irvin’s idol, Von Miller, won the award last season while posting 64 tackles, 11.5 sacks and two forced fumbles. Irvin is not likely to match those tackle numbers, but could very well eclipse the sack total, and be one of the flashiest rookie defensive additions in Seattle since Shawn Springs.
Breno Giocomini is a solid starting tackle in the NFL who held up well against good pass rushers last season. He already has found a seat on the grass as Irvin crossed him up with an inside move that had Giocomini tripping over himself. He comes into the league with one job, and one focus: sack the quarterback. Very few rookies drafted this year will have a focus that clear that matches their natural talents so well.
Morris Claiborne is a great player. Luke Keuchly and Mark Barron may be as well. Melvin Ingram was a favorite of mine. All of them will have far more than one thing to learn and be great at. Each of them will be left looking up at the podium when Irvin stars on a Top 5 NFL defense this season with 12+ sacks. Mark it down.
Chris Clemons will get a raise for this season
Osi Umenyiora just renegotiated his deal with the Giants. He did not get an extension, but appears satisfied and eager to play out this year. That had been a pretty acrimonious and public contract dispute, so why the sudden satisfaction? Umenyiora probably got a little bump in pay for this one season, and was given a guarantee that he won’t be franchised next season so he can hit the open market.
Seattle won’t be franchising Clemons, so there is little to gain from that. Giving Clemons a bump in pay for his final season would be just what the doctor ordered. Take the money saved from releasing Jackson, or at least part of it, and give it to Clemons. The team can afford it. It does no harm to future cap considerations, and would smooth over the biggest potential distraction for what should be the best defense Seattle has ever put on the field.
It makes too much sense for this smart front office not to do.