Mike Morgan

Seahawks Work Out LB Mike Morgan

The Seahawks worked out veteran linebacker Mike Morgan on Wednesday before deciding to promote ‘fellow backer Paul Dawson from their practice squad, according to Field Yates of ESPN.com.Mike Morgan

Morgan, 29, was technically the Seahawks’ starting strongside linebacker in 2016, but he didn’t see a ton of snaps since the team spent so much time in the nickel formation. He was also held back by injury, spending eight weeks on injured reserve with a sports hernia. All in all, Morgan played only 138 defensive snaps and posted just ten tackles.

Morgan didn’t land a free agent contract immediately after the market opened, but after auditioning for the Jaguars and Saints, he ultimately landed back in Seattle, inking a deal in July. He didn’t make it past final roster cuts, however, and he hasn’t met with any other known clubs since being released in September.

The Seahawks are dealing with injuries to both Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright, so it was imperative that the club added a bit of depth before Sunday’s contest against the Rams. While Dawson was chosen this time around, Seattle could conceivably circle back to Morgan later this year.

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Seahawks Now At 53

The Seahawks made some moves to get down to 53, including the release of last year’s backup quarterback. Here’s the full rundown:

Waived:

Waived/Injured:

Released:

Boykin has lost the backup QB job to Austin Davis and that’s not a huge surprise after Davis’ performance in the preseason. Coach Pete Carroll indicated recently that he would have liked to keep three signal callers, but it just wasn’t realistic.

“It’s a good idea if you can do it,” Carroll said. “They’re so important. It just depends on the rest of the roster.”

Seahawks Sign LB Mike Morgan

The Seahawks are bringing back linebacker Mike Morgan, according to his reps at Reign Sports (on Twitter). It is expected that Morgan will join Seattle for practice on Monday. Mike Morgan

Morgan, 29, was technically the Seahawks’ starting strongside linebacker in 2016, but he didn’t see a ton of snaps since the team spent lots time in the nickel formation. He was also held back by injury, spending eight weeks on injured reserve with a sports hernia. All in all, Morgan played only 138 defensive snaps and posted just ten tackles.

The Seahawks project to start Cassius Marsh and K.J. Wright at the outside linebacker spots. Seattle also added a pair of free agent OLBs in David Bass and Terence Garvin. Morgan will compete for one of those backup spots, potentially unseating one of the two spring additions.

The Jaguars and Saints were the only teams known to have worked out Morgan this offseason.

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Saints Working Out LB Mike Morgan, DT Tony McDaniel

The Saints are are auditioning linebacker Mike Morgan and defensive tackle Tony McDaniel during their minicamp, according to Herbie Teope of NOLA.com and Joel Erickson of the Advocate (Twitter link).Mike Morgan

Morgan, 29, was nominally the Seahawks’ starting strongside linebacker in 2016, but because Seattle spent so much time in nickel, Morgan’s defensive snaps were limited. Morgan’s contributions were further restricted by injury last year, as he spent eight weeks on injured reserve while dealing with a sports hernia. All told, Morgan played only 138 defensive snaps and posted just 10 tackles. His only other known interest this offseason came from the Jaguars, for whom he auditioned last month.

New Orleans has already augmented its linebacking corps this offseason, as the club signed free agents Manti Te’o and A.J. Klein while using a third-round pick on Florida’s Alex Anzalone. Those three ‘backers will add to an already crowded unit that also includes Craig Robertson, Dannell Ellerbe, Stephone Anthony, and Nathan Stupar.

Like Morgan, McDaniel also spent the 2016 campaign with Seattle, and has in fact played for the Seahawks in three of the past four years. The 32-year-old McDaniel played on 45% of Seattle’s defensive snaps a season ago, racking up 43 tackles and grading as the league’s No. 52 interior defender in the process, per Pro Football Focus. McDaniel could have a path to playing time in New Orleans alongside Sheldon Rankins, especially if Nick Fairley‘s heart condition restricts his ability.

Other notable players working out for the Saints this week include offensive lineman Chris Watt, kicker Patrick Murray, and long snapper Thomas Gafford, per Teope.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jaguars To Work Out LB Mike Morgan

The Jaguars will audition free agent linebacker Mike Morgan on Thursday, and Morgan could sign with Jacksonville if the tryout goes well, according to Sheil Kapadia of ESPN.com.Mike Morgan

Morgan, 29, was nominally the Seahawks’ starting strongside linebacker in 2016, but because Seattle spent so much time in nickel, Morgan’s defensive snaps were limited. Morgan’s contributions were further restricted by injury last year, as he spent eight weeks on injured reserve while dealing with a sports hernia. All told, Morgan played only 138 defensive snaps and posted just 10 tackles.

Jacksonville is already well-stocked with linebackers in the forms of Myles Jack, Paul Posluszny, Telvin Smith, and fifth-round pick Blair Brown, so Morgan would likely be limited to special teams duty. That’s a role Morgan has played before, as he saw action on more than 60% of the Seahawks’ special teams plays in 2015. The Jaguars ranked a lowly 25th in special teams DVOA last season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Top 2017 Free Agents By Position 3.0: Defense

The initial wave of NFL free agency is now complete, and while many of the league’s top available players are now off the board, there are still plenty of quality options still on the open market.

Listed below are our rankings for the top 15 free agents at each defensive position. These rankings aren’t necessarily determined by the value of the contracts – or the amount of guaranteed money – that each player is expected to land in free agency. These are simply the players we like the most at each position, with both short- and long-term value taken into account.

Restricted and exclusive-rights free agents, as well as players who received the franchise tag, aren’t listed here, since the roadblocks in place to hinder another team from actually acquiring most of those players prevent them from being true free agents.

We’ll almost certainly be higher or lower on some free agents than you are, so feel free to weigh in below in our comments section to let us know which players we’ve got wrong.

Here’s our breakdown of the current top 15 free agents by defensive position for 2017:

Edge defender:

  1. Dwight Freeney
  2. Elvis Dumervil
  3. Chris Long
  4. Mario Williams
  5. Connor Barwin
  6. Paul Kruger
  7. Trent Cole
  8. Erik Walden
  9. Jason Jones
  10. Darryl Tapp
  11. Devin Taylor
  12. Eugene Sims
  13. Howard Jones
  14. Wallace Gilberry
  15. Sam Acho

The pass rushing market has been completely depleted during the first week of free agency, as 14 of our original top 15 edge players have now been franchised, signed, or, in the case of DeMarcus Ware, retired. As such, a 37-year-old with 15 NFL seasons under his belt is now the best pass rusher on the market. Dwight Freeney played on roughly a third of the Falcons’ defensive snaps in 2016, and posted three sacks and 18 hurries. Capable of playing in either a 4-3 or 3-4 scheme, Freeney can still help out a club on the cheap.Dwight Freeney (Vertical)

Three players on this list — Elvis Dumervil, Connor Barwin, and Eugene Sims — were released by their respective clubs last week, meaning they won’t count against the compensatory formula if and when they’re signed. Dumervil, now 33, was hampered by injuries last season but still earned strong pass-rushing marks from Pro Football Focus. Barwin, meanwhile, wasn’t a good fit in Jim Schwartz‘s 4-3 defense, but he should flourish if he signs with a team running a 3-4 look. So far, he’s met with the Bengals (who use a 4-3) and Rams (3-4).

Chris Long has already indicated he won’t be returning to the Patriots, indicating he wants to join a roster where he’ll earn more playing time. Erik Walden, too, won’t re-sign with his 2016 club (the Colts), but he has taken a visit with the division rival Titans. Further down the list, Howard Jones has also met with at least one club, as he was hosted by the Jets on Tuesday. Jones, 27, is recovering from a torn ACL, but did post five sacks in five starts last season.

Interior defensive line:

  1. Johnathan Hankins
  2. Dontari Poe
  3. Jared Odrick
  4. Vance Walker
  5. Sen’Derrick Marks
  6. Ricky Jean-Francois
  7. Roy Miller
  8. Al Woods
  9. Tony McDaniel
  10. Cullen Jenkins
  11. Frostee Rucker
  12. Cam Thomas
  13. John Jenkins
  14. Tyson Jackson
  15. Tyson Alualu

Although top-flight players such as Calais Campbell and Brandon Williams have already been signed, the crop of interior defenders remains strong at the top. The buzz around Johnathan Hankins has been virtually non-existent, as the only club that’s been even tangentially linked to the 25-year-old is the Redskins. He’s one of the youngest free agents on the market, and therefore is probably looking for a massive payday. But the lack of interest around Hankins may be an indication that he’s simply asking for too much money.Johnathan Hankins (Vertical)

The same issue could be surrounding Dontari Poe, although he’s not wanting for meetings around the league. He’s visited with the Colts, Falcons, Jaguars, and Dolphins, while the 49ers and Raiders also reportedly have some level of interest. Clubs may have concerns about Poe’s lingering back issues, and he might have to accept a one-year deal in order to prove he’s healthy and willing to provide full effort.

The remaining defensive interior players are mostly over-30 veterans, with names such as Tony McDaniel, Cullen Jenkins, Frostee Rucker, and Tyson Jackson still looking for new deals. While most of these guys can still play, they may have to wait awhile — possibly into the summer — before signing on with their next club. Jared Odrick (Patriots) and Vance Walker (Bears) have both taken visits, but the most intriguing lineman here may be Sen’Derrick Marks, who offers a good amount of pass rush from the interior.

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Top 2017 Free Agents By Position 2.0: Defense

NFL free agency gets underway on Thursday and while the list of free agents will change between now and then, we do have some idea of who will be available when free agency kicks off. Here is our updated outlook for each defensive and special teams position.

Listed below are our rankings for the top 15 free agents at each defensive position. These rankings aren’t necessarily determined by the value of the contracts – or the amount of guaranteed money – that each player is expected to land in free agency. These are simply the players we like the most at each position, with both short- and long-term value taken into account.

Restricted and exclusive-rights free agents, as well as franchised players aren’t listed here, since the roadblocks in place to hinder another team from actually acquiring most of those players prevent them from being true free agents.

We’ll almost certainly be higher or lower on some free agents than you are, so feel free to weigh in below in our comments section to let us know which players we’ve got wrong.

Here’s our breakdown of the current top 15 free agents by defensive position for this offseason:

Edge defender:

  1. Nick Perry
  2. Jabaal Sheard
  3. John Simon
  4. DeMarcus Ware
  5. Lorenzo Alexander
  6. Andre Branch
  7. Julius Peppers
  8. Charles Johnson
  9. Datone Jones
  10. Dwight Freeney
  11. Chris Long
  12. Mario Williams
  13. Paul Kruger
  14. Courtney Upshaw
  15. Jarvis Jones

Now that Chandler Jones, Melvin Ingram, and Jason Pierre-Paul have all been assigned the franchise tag, Nick Perry stands as the top edge defender on the free agent market, and is now in a position to cash in. The Packers opted against the franchise tender for the 26-year-old Perry, so he’ll hit the open market following a career year which saw him post 11 sacks."<strong

The rest of this year’s crop of free agent pass rushers is a blend of young defenders searching for their first payday and veterans on the hunt for one last contract. Among players with youth still on their side, Datone Jones figures to interest clubs thanks to his versatility, as he can vacillate between end and linebacker, while fellow former first-round pick Jarvis Jones is solid against the run. John Simon has been overlooked while playing alongside the likes of J.J. Watt, Jadeveon Clowney, and Whitney Mercilus but could represent a hidden gem, while the Dolphins are reportedly prioritizing Andre Branch.

After managing nine sacks over the first nine years of his NFL tenure, Lorenzo Alexander busted out with 12.5 quarterback takedowns in 2016, and now could be looking for a double-digit annual salary. Charles Johnson, meanwhile, looks like a good bet to return to the Panthers, but DeMarcus Ware could be something of a wild card — after missing 11 games in the past two seasons, does the 34-year-old have enough left in the tank? The same could be asked of Dwight Freeney, who at age-37 posted three sacks in a rotational role for the Falcons.

Interior defensive line:

  1. Calais Campbell
  2. Johnathan Hankins
  3. Brandon Williams
  4. Dontari Poe
  5. Chris Baker
  6. Bennie Logan
  7. Nick Fairley
  8. Alan Branch
  9. Jared Odrick
  10. Karl Klug
  11. Terrell McClain
  12. Lawrence Guy
  13. Stacy McGee
  14. Stephen Paea
  15. Sylvester Williams
    Honorable mention: Paul Soliai

Calais Campbell is the best overall player among interior defenders, and though he’s entering his age-31 season and may not cost as much as Johnathan Hankins, Brandon Williams, and Dontari Poe, Campbell will still be highly-sought after as he searches for his last substantial payday Campbell’s agent met with the Cardinals last week, but other speculative fits for the veteran defender include the Broncos, Raiders, Ravens, Colts, and Titans."<strong

Hankins is only 24 years old, and though the Giants are trying to retain him along with the rest of their defensive core, the 6’3″, 320-pound mauler should represent an attractive option to a number of clubs this offseason. Williams, too, offers a massive presence on the inside, while Poe could intrigue clubs based on his first-round pedigree and athleticism (though his play hasn’t always matched his potential). The Redskins’ Chris Baker is a solid, well-rounded defensive tackle, and could constitute a consolation prize for teams that miss out on their top targets.

The rest of the class offers an interesting mix of nose tackles (Bennie Logan), interior pass rushers (Nick Fairley, Karl Klug), and run stoppers (Alan Branch), so clubs hoping to bolster their defensive line should find no shortage of options. Jared Odrick recently hit free agency after being released by the Jaguars, while Terrell McClain, Lawrence Guy, and Stacy McGee could be underrated finds for the right team. McClain, for what it’s worth, has already been linked to the Falcons.

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Top 2017 Free Agents By Position: Defense

NFL free agency will get underway on Thursday, March 9th, and while the list of free agents will change between now and then, we do have some idea of who will be available when free agency kicks off. The frenzy is right around the corner and it’s time for us to break down the outlook for each position. After looking at offense, we’ll tackle defense and special teams today.

[RELATED: Top 2017 NFL Free Agents By Position: Offense]

Listed below are our rankings for the top 15 free agents at each defensive position. These rankings aren’t necessarily determined by the value of the contracts – or the amount of guaranteed money – that each player is expected to land in free agency. These are simply the players we like the most at each position, with both short- and long-term value taken into account.

Restricted and exclusive-rights free agents, as well as players who received the franchise tag, aren’t listed here, since the roadblocks in place to hinder another team from actually acquiring most of those players prevent them from being true free agents.

We’ll almost certainly be higher or lower on some free agents than you are, so feel free to weigh in below in our comments section to let us know which players we’ve got wrong.

Here’s our breakdown of the current top 15 free agents by defensive position for 2017:

Edge defender:

  1. Chandler Jones
  2. Melvin Ingram
  3. Jason Pierre-Paul
  4. Nick Perry
  5. Jabaal Sheard
  6. James Harrison
  7. John Simon
  8. DeMarcus Ware
  9. Lorenzo Alexander
  10. Andre Branch
  11. Julius Peppers
  12. Charles Johnson
  13. Datone Jones
  14. Mario Addison
  15. Dwight Freeney

The Cardinals have already made it abundantly clear that Chandler Jones will see the franchise tag this offseason, and Melvin Ingram and Jason Pierre-Paul are also candidates to be tagged by the Chargers and Giants, respectively. If the latter two are able to hit the open market unfettered, however, they both figure to break the bank. Ingram, Pro Football Focus’ No. 6 edge defender, could be a fit for both 3-4 and 4-3 schemes, while JPP will be looking for a long-term commitment after signing consecutive one-year deals.Chandler Jones (vertical)

The rest of this year’s crop of free agent pass rushers is a blend of young defenders searching for their first payday and veterans on the hunt for one last contract. Among the players with youth still on their side, Packers edge defenders Nick Perry and Datone Jones figure to interest different clubs, as Perry is a better match for a 3-4 defense while Jones needs to restart his career as a 4-3 defensive end. John Simon has been overlooked while playing alongside the likes of J.J. Watt, Jadeveon Clowney, and Whitney Mercilus but could represent a hidden gem, while the Dolphins are reportedly prioritizing Andre Branch.

After managing nine sacks over the first nine years of his NFL tenure, Lorenzo Alexander busted out with 12.5 quarterback takedowns in 2016, and now could be looking for a double-digit annual salary. James Harrison and Charles Johnson, meanwhile, look like good bets to return to Steelers and Panthers, respectively, but DeMarcus Ware could be something of a wild card — after missing 11 games in the past two seasons, does the 34-year-old have enough left in the tank? The same could be asked of Dwight Freeney, who at age-37 posted three sacks in a rotational role for the Falcons.

Interior defensive line:

  1. Kawann Short
  2. Calais Campbell
  3. Johnathan Hankins
  4. Brandon Williams
  5. Dontari Poe
  6. Chris Baker
  7. Bennie Logan
  8. Nick Fairley
  9. Alan Branch
  10. Jared Odrick
  11. Karl Klug
  12. Terrell McClain
  13. Lawrence Guy
  14. Earl Mitchell
  15. Stacy McGee

Unlike the edge defender market, the 2017 cadre of interior defensive lineman shouldn’t be overly affected by the franchise tender. Head coach Ron Rivera recently confessed the Panthers will “probably” have to use the tag on Kawann Short, but the rest of the defensive tackles listed here should be able to hit the open market. Of the remaining defenders, Campbell is the best overall player, but given that he’s entering his age-31 season, he may not cost as much as Johnathan Hankins, Brandon Williams, and Dontari Poe.Johnathan Hankins (Vertical)

Hankins is only 24 years old, and though the Giants are trying to retain him along with the rest of their defensive core, the 6’3″, 320-pound mauler should represent an attractive option to a number of clubs this offseason. Williams, too, offers a massive presence on the inside, while Poe could intrigue clubs based on his first-round pedigree and athleticism (though his play hasn’t always matched his potential). The Redskins’ Chris Baker is a solid, well-rounded defensive tackle, and could constitute a consolation prize for teams that miss out on their top targets.

The rest of the class offers an interesting mix of nose tackles (Bennie Logan), interior pass rushers (Nick Fairley, Earl Mitchell), and run stoppers (Karl Klug, Alan Branch), so clubs hoping to bolster their defensive line should find no shortage of options. Jared Odrick recently hit free agency after being released by the Jaguars, while Terrell McClain, Lawrence Guy, and Stacy McGee could be underrated finds for the right team. McClain, for what it’s worth, has already been linked to the Falcons.

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Seahawks Activate Mike Morgan

After announcing they’d use their IR-return slot on linebacker Mike Morgan last month, the Seahawks activated the veteran in advance of their Week 13 game against the Panthers, per Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times (on Twitter).

The Seahawks placed linebacker Jordan Tripp on IR to make room for Morgan’s return. Morgan is expected to start opposite K.J. Wright at outside linebacker Sunday night, Condotta tweets.

Morgan ventured to IR on October 3 due to a sports hernia issue. He returned to practice midway through last month and will return to game action just before the 21-day limit Seattle had to activate him expires.

Pete Carroll said when it became known the team was bringing Morgan off IR he could have played in mid-November if he weren’t on the IR list. But the eight-week waiting period is over, and the Seahawks will have another contributor available as they attempt to secure their third playoff bye in four years.

A six-year veteran used mostly on special teams, Morgan has been a key part of those units for the Seahawks. On a defense filled with well-paid standouts, Morgan fills in one of the gaps that require cheap labor to balance out the cap. Seattle re-signed Morgan, a former UDFA, in March to a deal that pays him $1MM this season. He’s started in one game this year after making two starts in 2015.

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Seahawks To Activate Mike Morgan

The Seahawks will be receiving some reinforcement at linebacker for the final stretch of the season. Bob Condotta of The Seattle Times reports (via Twitter) Mike Morganthat the team will be activating Mike Morgan from the injured reserve. The veteran linebacker returned to practice today.

[RELATED: Seattle Seahawks Depth Chart]

The 28-year-old has been out since early October as he recovered from surgery for a sports hernia. The six-year veteran was actually the Seahawks starter in their 4-3 scheme, although Morgan had only seen a third of the team’s defensive snaps through four games. The linebacker had compiled four tackles this season prior to the injury. Backups Cassius Marsh and Kevin Pierre-Louis have filled in at linebacker during Morgan’s absence.

While the linebacker was eligible to be activated today, he won’t be allowed to play until December 4th against the Panthers. It’s league rules that are holding Morgan back, as coach Pete Carroll said the linebacker could have played last week if he hadn’t been on the injured reserve.

Morgan, a former undrafted free agent out of USC, has spent his entire career in Seattle. The linebacker has 71 career games (61 starts) under his belt, having compiled 37 tackles and one sack.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.