Ndamukong Suh is expected to hit the market.

Who should Seahawks target in free agency?

The Seattle Seahawks were clear in their decision to release Richard Sherman.

Moving on from Sherman indicates the team values the $11 million dollar cap savings over a potential compensatory pick in 2020.

Given the club also created salary cap space in the Michael Bennett trade, although not very much, and the release of cornerback Jeremy Lane, the Seahawks have created flexibility heading into free agency and considering the fact that they are currently scheduled to have over $90 million in cap space for 2019, which ranks in the top-10 of the league, it seems pretty likely John Schneider will use that Sherman cap savings in this year’s free-agent period, which officially begins Wednesday Mar 14 at 1pm PT.

Based on my calculations, the Seahawks have about $20-22 million they can spend in free agency on salary cap space for 2018. It might be closer to $20 million after re-upping safety Bradley McDougald on Monday morning. Remember, first-year cap hits are typically lower than the APY (average per year).

After the Sherman news came out, I skowered the free-agent list, and as I pointed out on Twitter on Sunday, I believe the Seahawks would be wise to spend their majority of cap space on offensive players — offensive line, tight end, and wide receiver all seem would all make sense, and focus their next two drafts on re-building the defense. They need to find young, hungry players at all three levels. However, there is one exception…

With that in mind, based on a combination of team need, expected cost, age, and positional value — here’s who the Seahawks should be targeting on the free agent market:

Josh Sitton, guard: If I was building the free-agent board for Seattle, Sitton would be my No. 1 offensive target,. Sitton has been graded very highly in pass protection over his career, which is badly needed in the post-Cable era, and can be a quality starter at both right guard and left guard, two need spots for Seattle. The former Chicago Bear was also coached by Mike Solari, Seattle’s new OL coach, in Green Bay during the 2015 season, and has plenty of familiarity with John Schneider, who drafted Sitton when he was in the Packers front office in 2008. Sitton is a bit older than your typical ideal free agent (will be 32 in June), but he will be much more affordable than Andrew Norwell.


Ndamukong Suh, defensive tackle: There is one exception to everything I said in the opener and that is Suh, who is expected to be released before Wednesday. Suh, not Sheldon Richardson, is the one defensive player on the market worth splurging free agent dollars on and would make the Sherman and Bennett moves that much more justifiable. The dominant defensive tackle not only wouldn’t impact the comp pick formula, since he is being released, but would fill a huge position of need on the defensive line and would add much needed pass-rushing prowell. Suh is a Hall of Fame calibre player that is flat-out unblockable when he is motivated and it’s very exciting to imagine how good he would be, playing behind the crowd at CenturyLink Field. Suh will almost surely command a large salary to acquire, but given the $13 million plus they saved from Bennett + Sherman, there is room to make a move like this work. Suh also has plenty of ties to the Pacfic Northwest area, growing up in Portland, Oregon, and was seen working out in Seattle in an Instagram post he made on Monday morning. We’ll see how good Pete Carroll can still recruit if Suh does in fact become available.


Austin Seferian-Jenkins, tight end: Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reported Sunday that the Seahawks are among a handful of teams that are interested in Seferian-Jenkins.
Given that the Seahawks are expected to lose Jimmy Graham in free agency, he would be a solid replacement at a fraction of the cos. Seferian-Jenkins is the prime age for a free-agent target (26), and showed drastic signs of improvement — both on and off the field — last season after a rocky start to his NFL career. The Washington product has plenty of familarity with the Seattle area and would give Russell Wilson a 6-foot-6 target that could be well utilized in the red zone. The off-field issues that hampered him earlier in his career could help keep his price tag at an affordable level, which could be a big plus. If ASJ gets too expensive, a flier on Tyler Eifert, a first-round talent with incredible red zone product, might be worth a flier as well. Eifert has had major back issues over the last few seasons, which will likely prevent him from getting a long-term deal.

Terrelle Pryor: The Seahawks have starters already in house in Doug Baldwin and Tyler Lockett and potential fourth WR options with the acquisition of Marcus Johnson and last year’s draft picks, Amara Darboh and David Moore. So there is a clear hole in the three-WR set and that’s where a free-agent addition would fit the bill. Schneider mentioned the challenge of acclimating young receivers from college, because of the challenges in learning how to run pro routes, so he prefer a veteran in that slot. Pryor might be a good bet, however, because his cost will be a lot less than Paul Richardson or Marqise Lee, and Seattle was trying to convert him to receiver when he was trying out for the team at QB a few seasons ago. Pryor is worth a flier and has the upside worthy of a free agent risk. He would give Seattle a speed-size component they haven’t had since Sidney Rice, although he is clearly less polished as a wideout.


Avoid all veteran running backs: I keep seeing people suggest the Seahawks’ need to hedge at running back prior to the draft, and frankly I do not understand it. The only free agent running back I could talk myself into is Frank Gore and that is more as a veteran role model than someone you’d actually want to utilize on the field. Avoid DeMarco Murray. Avoid Doug Martin. Avoid them all. If the Seahawks are going to add more talent at running back, it should be in the draft, and somewhere in the middle rounds. Chris Carson or Mike Davis are just as capable as most of these hedges if the Seahawks improve the offensivde line. Having too many backs in the room last season, after the Eddie Lacy signing, cost the team Alex Collins and the Seahawks shouldn’t be looking to double down on that mistake.

  1. I like it, nothing crazy, out therem pipe dream and fill some needed holes. ASJ would make Brian very happy, maybe salve over McDougald getting re-upped. Suh, he’d drive a bunch of fans nuts (and is likely out of the Hawks typical price range), but that might be fun. We haven’t heard much on S. Richardson except for rumbles that the Jets would like to have him back (and they’ve got comparatively hefty cap dollars to play with). But, I’d like to indulge a bit of fantasizing of my own. To add to the fan angst, now that McDougald is solidly on board, let’s revisit the ETIII trade stuff. I could see a strong second round with some combination of mid round stuff this year and/or next (a third next year would cover the unlikely comp pick that we’d end up settling for if no extension). Freeing up Earl’s salary, after all the other free ups and modest expenditures (so far), could give us enough dough to lock in (for at least one, maybe two years) a defensive front with Clark, Richardson, Suh, and Jordan as starters with Reed, Jones, and a couple other guys as rotational relief. If that line were properly coached/motivated, the secondary would have an easier job. Round that out with some better LB help beyond KJ and Bobby, and Norton will have a crew to go to battle with. The Silver Bullet crowd that idolizes Earl will hate it, but it’s about TEAM combinations, not an outstanding singular talent.

    I’m a bit nervous about the kind of comments KJ made recently, the senior members of the team, particularly defense, may go into the season a bit demoralized (though they’d publicly deny it). With new coaches, and a bunch of new faces it could be a rough season……………..or, the new guys on all fronts might seize the challenge and work together for the common good. Pete’s got his work cut out for him……………..

    1. Agreed. Not quite sure the fascination with ET. No question he is a great player, but this is a team game, not individual like basketball when one player can make a BIG difference. We need to get younger, not older. To be honest, I do not want any more “personalities” on this team. We had enough and it was great for a period of time, but the culture needs to be changed unless PC can’t do it, which I incline to believe that he can’t. Keep saying it, he is a one-trick pony (not as a derogatory statement but based on history) He is a good coach, not a great one. Same pattern from NY to NE to USC to Seattle. I guess you really can’t teach old dog new tricks. However, if he can do it, then I will be the first one to bow down to his “transformation”.

      Regarding the FA, I like Josh Sitton. Very solid player. Don’t know what Brian S. will bring to the table, but this offensive philosophy and scheme need to be revamped to suit RW’s strengths. It is on his shoulder now. Hopefully, they realize (specifically PC) that the important right now is to protect your most valuable asset. If they don’t, then I truly believe RW will protect himself for the next contract. And the team will be 8-8 at best with all the upgrades from LA and SF.

      1. I mentioned that the Suh/S-Rich combo was a fantasy. For real success in the post season you need to win your division usually, with only an occasional gift of a weak division winner elsewhere in the conference. We no longer have that luxury, the NFC has strong teams across the board, and our division has two very fast growing and aggressive teams in the Rams and Niners. A deadly D-line is key to disrupting those young quarter backs from their probable game plans (in addition to needing to form a Russ helping O). The Hawks likely won’t offer either Suh or S-Rich much more than $10-12m. The other teams looking at those guys can probably guess those same numbers and just outbid enough to get those guys. My less optimistic brain cells expect we’ll fill out the roster with the usual suspects from the second and third tier as well as a cadre of draft projects with the hope of coaching them up. I hope that’s wrong, but we have a pattern for a reason.

  2. With the free-agent frenzy going on right now, some of these proposed players are signed elsewhere (ASJ, Sitton, etc). I almost want the Hawks to repeat 2010 and pick up undrafted players left and right and let them all compete. The next two seasons might be full of anguish and heartache, but building back up over three years through lucky hits in young free agents and stockpiled picks seems to be the only option to endless 8-8 seasons until PC retires.
    I’d suggest trading ETIII if you can get higher picks not this year but 2019 (1st and 3rd) and 2020 (2nd). Do the same with other key players (that you can get future Round 2-4 picks for) that deserve playoff runs with a contending team that they can agree.
    Stockpile a bunch of 1-5 rounders in the future. Don’t rush the rebuild.

    1. Good thoughts, a lot to unpack there. Perhaps the most controversial would be the ETIII trade suggestion. Awhile back I suggested a combination of this draft and next, you went a little further. I chuckle at the typical meme out there among many fans and most of the media that talks about a “minimum” of a first round plus a 2 or 3……or nothing. Couple things wrong with that (at least). Keeping Earl only works if you can realistically use him as a foundation to build around………..which they don’t have enough investment capital available for the foreseeable future. The bigger mistake is believing the “seller” can set the value of the asset offered. The old “willing seller, willing buyer” scenario. Many seem to forget that there are only 31 potential buyers in the entire world for Earl’s skills. Some of them don’t have any interest, so the number is actually even smaller. He’s only worth whatever is seriously offered at any given time. Last year we missed the best opportunity to extract maximum value from Sherm by holding out for an unrealistic price. The result? We got bupkus in exchange for him. What a waste. If we hold to the meme today, we may well get the same for Earl………….not good stewardship of asset value.

      The Hawks aren’t making any splashes (yet), but then they almost never do. What we don’t know, and can’t as of yet, is how effective will our newish coaching staff be in getting maximum performance out of the guys we end up with. Their advantage will be low expectations. It will be interesting to see who emerges as the on field leaders, particularly on defense.

      There’s plenty more to address, but this is only commentary, not a comprehensive article(s).

      1. Pretty good ‘commentary”, lol. You’re dead on about our trading history during the PC’s era. We are not very good at it, period. Holding “damaged” goods for too long, it will become rotten. Nobody wants rotten “products”. Pete is a sentimental and loyalty (good value) guy, however, this is a business and sometimes you need to be “cold-blooded”. Btw, I wonder where is Brian? Missing his thoughts.

  3. Really sad to see Sherman leave, but it had to be done as he never got over the SB loss, blamed the coaches for not running from the 1. What i find interesting is his comments about PC, that he is a college coach, not an nfl coach, because only the young players will listen to him, after 4 years the players shut him out. I couldnt agree more, we’ve seen it with Lynch, Bennet, Sherman & now ET. Its looking like a major D rebuild, unfortunately JS/PC haven’t had great drafts, free agent signings or even trades the last 3 years, I am not very optimistic about the success of the Hawks these next couple of years

  4. Well, seems like the only hit on your suggestions, Brian, was the “Don’t take any veteran runningbacks” idea. At least they followed that advice so far.
    With Fluker on board, maybe they’ll get the tackle from Notre Dame to finalize the offensive line issues. I just think Ifedi isn’t the solution.

    1. Sorry, Jeff. I liked your thoughts in your article, but I’m happier with JS and PC’s actions so far. Here’s hoping that we keep as many comp picks as possible and build for the future.

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