The Seahawks sure didn’t wait long to spend the money earned from rescinding Leroy Hill’s franchise tag designation. They were immediately off the hook for $8.3 million, and were able to reach agreements with veterans Ken Lucas and Justin Griffith.
The Seahawks made the official announcement earlier this week, but I wasn’t able to immediately track down the financial specifics. Ken Lucas signed a one-year deal worth $2.3 million, and Justin Griffith’s contract is a one-year deal as well, worth less than $700,000. Both bargain prices for proven veteran players who will be able to contribute immediately.
Conventional wisdom will tell you that Ken Lucas will find a starting spot opposite Marcus Trufant, and I can’t disagree. Lucas brings size (6-0, 205 pounds) to a position that has been lacking, and experience to a group of relatively young players. Last season with Carolina, the 30-year old cornerback had 60 tackles, 10 passes defensed, and 2 interceptions. Lucas is showing no signs of slowing down and is durable enough to play through an entire NFL season.
After watching bigger receivers dominate our undersized defenders last season, the 12th Man will collectively welcome Ken Lucas back to Seattle. I expect him to start and contribute immediately, but at the very least he’ll provide necessary depth and veteran leadership.
Justin Griffith is an experienced fullback who is familiar with the offense that Greg Knapp is bringing to Seattle. He has played in Knapp’s offense in both Oakland and Atlanta, and offers more skills than your traditional, smash mouth fullback. His skills may not be as vibrant as former starter Leonard Weaver, but his production is very similar. He is a capable veteran with excellent hands and good blocking skills. If Owen Schmitt isn’t ready (or able) to capture the starting fullback position, Griffith offers an excellent alternative. Leonard who?
A great set of additions by the Seattle Seahawks. As I have noted previously, removing Hill’s franchise tag was a brilliant decision, and we’re starting to reap the benefits from the added cap flexibility. I like the way that commenter Ed M. referred to the signings, which quickly sums up the importance of both:
"The signings of Ken Lucas and Justin Griffith might seem small now, but these can make a HUGE impact next season. A lot of people argue against Griffith’s skills, but take a look at his numbers against Leonard Weaver. Griffith’s “production” skills are on par with Weaver AND he is a skilled blocker in both running and passing situations.Lucas, well… we know what he can do. He was the stud corner when Trufant was still learning the ropes."