Free Agents Not Named “Manning” Worth Watching

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Peyton Manning has done every football fan a favor by starting free agency nearly a week early. He will have company in a couple days when Tuesday rolls around, and the flood gates open across the league. There are a few names I will be keeping an eye on for the Seahawks:

DE Red Bryant
Bryant needs no explanation, but we will know very quickly whether he is on track to leave or to return. Don’t expect the Seahawks to break the bank for this guy. He is a great guy, a great fit, and a high quality player, but he can also be replaced. If he has not signed with a team by Friday, that bodes well for the Hawks.

LB Larry Grant
Grant is a restricted free agent that received a 7th round tender from the 49ers. He just turned 27, and was a star when replacing Patrick Willis in SF. Seahawks fans might remember the fumble he forced by Tarvaris Jackson that sealed the 49ers win in Seattle. He is a hard hitter, and plays with a mean streak. The pick will not deter teams from going after him, and the 49ers will not match a starter’s salary for him.

LB David Hawthorne
Hawthorne will get interest from a number of other teams. Reports are showing up on Twitter that Chicago and Detroit are interested. Both teams make sense. Seattle will not re-sign him for at least the first few weeks, and he should be gone by then. Hawthorne’s value will be higher to other teams that to Seattle, who wants to get faster at the position. The only way he comes back is if demand is far lower for his services than they should be.

DT Jason Jones
Jones is a disruptive tackle, that has played a little end as well. He could be a great addition to help collapse the pocket and generate some additional pass rush. He’s only 25. Those are the kind of free agent players Schneider goes after.

LB Joe Mays
Mays has caught my eye every time I’ve seen him play. He’s young (26), athletic, and a hard hitter. He has not turned that into many big plays yet, but he would be a nice addition for what should be a reasonable price.

RB Mike Tolbert
Seattle probably looks to the draft to replace Justin Forsett, but Tolbert is a great fit for what Seattle needs. He’s only 26, and is a solid runner and very good receiver. The guy scores touchdowns. He has played fullback, and would make a crazy tandem with Marshawn Lynch. Is it possible Seattle replaces Michael Robinson with Tolbert? Probably not, but maybe.

DE Mario Williams
I don’t think he’s coming here, and I don’t think the Seahawks will pursue him. Hopefully, he’ll sign his deal in the first 48 hours so we don’t have to listen to people talk about him in Seattle anymore.

QB Matt Flynn
Same as Williams.

DT Paul Soliai
If Bryant does sign elsewhere, expect the team to possibly slide Alan Branch to DE, and sign a new DT. Soliai was franchised last year by the Dolphins, and is a run-stuffing interior lineman. He is built for being a Nose Tackle in a 3-4, but could be disruptive enough in the 4-3 to free up Brandon Mebane and Chris Clemons to do more damage.

DT Brodrick Bunkley
Bunkley could fit as either a Bryant replacement or a DT if Branch swings outside.

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