Seferian-Jenkins says no to Seahawks hometown discount
The Seahawks were rumored to be in good position to sign hometown hero Austin Seferian-Jenkins. And just like that, he is a member of the Jaguars.
There were a lot of stories and ten times as many rumors about how Austin Seferian-Jenkins was ready to sign with the Seahawks. I should know, I wrote one of them myself. As it turns out, he may not have been quite as ready as Seattle had hoped.
Reports state Seferian-Jenkins was willing to sign for a deal close to the Jets offer before he hit the free agent market: two years for $8 million total. Seferian-Jenkins spent a few days in Seattle this week. He not only met with team officials, he even worked out with KJ Wright and Bobby Wagner at a local gym. Seems he was getting ready to come home.
According to Greg Bell’s story for The News Tribune, ASJ wanted to come back to Washington for a bushel basket of reasons. His parents and grandparents are still in the area. He could finish his college degree at the University of Washington. Bell reports that ASJ even visited the campus this past weekend. Bell quoted Seferian-Jenkins as saying,
"“It’s so important–so, SO important–to me,” he said of going back and graduating. “Just being in a more responsible stage of my life. Just being an adult. That’s part of the motivation of life. It’s a whole new learning experience for me. And I can’t wait.”"
Perhaps most important of all, a couple of years with the Seahawks would connect him with a premier quarterback in Russell Wilson. Much like Paul Richardson, Seferian-Jenkins has one really good year on his resume. And like Richardson, ASJ wanted to cash in on it, as he should.
Did Seferian-Jenkins want too much?
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The contract he signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars isn’t exactly a huge one at two years and $10 million. Although to the Seahawks, anything above $4.5 million per year appears to be too rich, as that’s the biggest contract they’ve signed. That’s the deal they gave Bradley McDougald.
So it looks to me like the Seahawks expected ASJ to sign cheap, as he made it clear how much he wanted to come to Seattle. Well, relatively cheap. Greg Bell reported that ASJ can make $11 million including incentives with Jacksonville. Spotrac shows his contract at $10 million. Regardless, it’s clear he wasn’t going to get that deal from the Seahawks.
Is he worth that contract? Pro Football Focus had him ranked 44th in the league for 2017. Coincidentally, Luke Willson was ranked 43rd. ASJ’s rating was 47.7; for a point of reference, Gronk’s rating was 93.3 But in 2015 Seferian-Jenkins rating was 79.3. That rating would have placed him 7th in the league this season. So the Jaguars are paying him as much for that season as 2017.
I think the Seahawks offered too little
The Jaguars deal really wasn’t that much more than the Jets initial offer. Considering that Paul Richardson got five years and $40 million from Washington, ASJ’s deal is definitely on the low end of the scale. The Seahawks are definitely holding onto as much cap space as they can to sign Sheldon Richardson, but there’s every chance they’ll simply be outspent. If they don’t manage to get the big man back, they’ll have missed out on much more than ASJ.
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I think the Seahawks counted too much on Seferian-Jenkins desire to return to Seattle, and not enough on his desire to be compensated for his production. Why shouldn’t teams pay even more to hometown players? Isn’t their presence an extra draw, even if a small one? Granted, ASJ’s situation wouldn’t be quite the same as if Tim Tebow played for Jacksonville. Regardless, I think it’s a mistake for teams to count on players to sign for less just because they’re coming home. Clearly, it didn’t work this time.