Free agents were flying all over the NFL, but the Seahawks bided their time as key players went elsewhere. They had good reason to wait on their targets.
NFL fans were treated to some major moves once free agents were – well, free – to deal with other teams. Big names like Le’Veon Bell, Trey Flowers, and Nick Foles all found new homes around the league. While teams like the Jets, Lions, and Jaguars were busy, the Seahawks sat back. Perhaps the Seahawks were playing the long view here.
I like to think that’s exactly what they were doing. I did have Flowers, Dante Fowler Jr., and Preston Smith on my wish list of pass rushers, and they’ve all signed elsewhere. Co-expert Lee Vowell had safety Landon Collins on his list of top targets, and he’s gone too. I mentioned both Tyrell Williams and Devin Funchess as potential targets for Russell Wilson, and neither landed in Seattle. I think the 12s were getting a bit nervous after the first two days of the feeding frenzy; I know I was.
Yet the Seahawks have scored big in free agency, although in more of a stealth mode. Signing kicker Jason Myers may not be as splashy as signing Bell, but he fills a major need for the Hawks. As Lee wrote, adding a Pro Bowl kicker to a Pro Bowl punter gives Seattle one of the best special teams in the league, if not the best. I’ll note that Mr. Vowell presciently had Myers on his top four wish list.
Seahawks stay in-house to sign a couple of big needs
Another huge signing required no travel for the new recruit. That’s because the Seahawks gave the great K.J. Wright a new contract, keeping one of the 12s favorites at home. We’ve written quite a bit about the tough choice Pete Carroll and John Schneider faced with Wright. He’s coming off a tough injury, and will turn 30 before the season begins.
Happily, the quality of his play and his presence as a leader carried the day. You can’t minimize how much this means to the team, and especially to Bobby Wagner. All players know it’s a business, but when the team keeps your best friend, it feels more like your team.
While the Hawks lost one guard when J.R. Sweezy signed with the Cardinals, they kept the one I felt was more important. I hate that Sweezy left, but I’m even happier that D.J. Fluker stayed. Sweezy is good, but Fluker is good and he’s nasty. The impact of his attitude on the line play was a big factor in their resurgence last year. Like Wright, Fluker got a two-year contract. They’ll get paid, get to stay with a team they can call home, and have a chance at an even bigger payday in two years if they stay healthy.
The Seahawks signed a couple of names that aren’t quite as high-profile, too. We’ll see how new guard Mike Iupati works out for Seattle. As Lee wrote regarding his signing, he’s had a lot of injury trouble in the past two years. If he can stay healthy, he gives the Hawks another 330-pound plus road grader. I’m not too worried, as I think Jordan Simmons could very likely relegate Iupati to a rotation role anyway.
The Seahawks also re-signed linebacker Mychal Kendricks, in his case to a one-year deal. Yes, it’s a prove-it deal, but not bad for a guy who may be in prison when the season starts. Obviously, Seattle liked what he brought to the field in the four games he played last season. Of course, he’s insurance for another injury to Wright, and can step in for the eighty or so plays he might sit. The hope is that Kendricks could switch to the other side of Wagner and wreak havoc on the strong side. His sentencing is scheduled for April. If he gets a short enough term (and can make the switch), Seattle could be saying goodbye to Sam backer Barkevious Mingo.
The Seahawks didn’t make any splashy deals like the Lions or the Browns. Then again, the Seahawks were already a playoff team. The Lions will find a way to still be the Lions, but the Browns will be a lot of trouble. What matters to me is that every player Seattle signed fit a very specific need for the team, and made them better for 2019.