Seahawks Rumors

Sherman Steered Witherspoon To Seattle

  • Richard Sherman surfaced on the Seahawks‘ radar recently, but he is taking his time on deciding his next team. The three-year 49ers corner did advise ex-teammate Ahkello Witherspoon to move to Seattle, however. The former Legion of Boom member told Witherspoon he would fit in well with the Seahawks, Michael-Shawn Dugar of The Athletic notes. Witherspoon signed a one-year, $4MM contract with the Seahawks in March. A third-round 49ers pick in 2017, Witherspoon made a 30 visit to Seattle ahead of the draft four years ago.

Minor NFL Transactions: 6/14/21

Here are Monday’s minor moves:

Dallas Cowboys

Houston Texans

  • Signed: LS Mitchell Fraboni

Kansas City Chiefs

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Seahawks QB Russell Wilson Was Willing To Rework Deal

Russell Wilson may have denied that he asked for a trade, but he did make one acknowledgement today. The Seahawks quarterback told reporters that he approached the team about restructuring his contract (via ESPN’s Brady Henderson on Twitter).

[RELATED: Russell Wilson Denies He Requested Trade]

“We’ve talked about it,” Wilson said (via SI.com). “Pete and I have talked about it for sure. Me and him had a long conversation about it, I brought it up and he talked about it too and we both, you know, in the sense of just doing whatever it takes to win. … If the situation calls for it. Like I said, winning’s everything.”

This wouldn’t be the first time Wilson has reworked his deal; as Henderson notes, Wilson and the organization pulled off a similar move in 2017. For Wilson, the move makes plenty of sense; he’s helping the team’s books while taking little risk in converting signing bonus to salary. It’s a bit more complicated for the organization. While the team could have easily saved around $12MM in space this offseason by making a simple tweak to Wilson’s contract, the team would be compromising future flexibility in what’s already an uncertain future at the position.

Plus, as Pete Carroll noted, the organization found other ways to the open up the necessary cap space for signings and draft picks, making the whole conversation about a Wilson restructuring irrelevant.

“As always, we have all of the options available to us,” Carroll said recently (via Peter Socotch of NBC Sports Northwest). “We have talked about all of that, as we do every year. What are our possibilities? Where do we need to go? What do we need to do, if we get to certain levels of need to stay in compliance (with the cap)?”

Wilson still has three seasons and $69 million remaining on his contract. The 32-year-old earned his eighth-career Pro Bowl nod in 2020 after completing a career-high 68.8-percent of his passes for 4,212 yards and a career-high 40 touchdowns.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Russell Wilson Denies He Requested Trade

The Seahawks’ foundation may well be stronger than it appeared a few months ago. Late in an offseason in which Russell Wilson was mentioned in trade rumors, the 10th-year quarterback appears comfortably in the fold with his team.

Although Wilson said the list of acceptable trade destinations — Chicago, Dallas, Las Vegas, New Orleans — his agent revealed was accurate, the superstar quarterback added that he never requested a trade out of Seattle (Twitter link via the Seattle Times’ Bob Condotta). While identifying prospective trade partners can be considered in the trade-request realm, Wilson attempted to differentiate the two Thursday.

Wilson’s issues with Pete Carroll and the Seahawks’ offensive line came to light this offseason. But the 32-year-old passer said he and his head coach are in a good place and that he engaged in offseason talks with GM John Schneider and team president Chuck Arnold following the trade rumblings, per Condotta (Twitter links). Wilson attributed his winter comments about the offensive line to “frustration” and noted Thursday that he bears some of the blame for the protection issues, Condotta tweets.

Continuing to diffuse the situation, Wilson said he has “always wanted to play” in Seattle and that he would like to stay in the Pacific Northwest for the remainder of his career, Condotta and ESPN.com’s Brady Henderson note (Twitter links). Wilson, whom the Bears attempted to acquire via trade, is under contract through 2023.

The Seahawks gave Wilson input into their offensive coordinator search, which ended with Rams assistant Shane Waldron coming in to replace Brian Schottenheimer, and traded for seven-year Raiders starting guard Gabe Jackson. While Seattle’s offensive front does not look like a top-tier unit, Jackson’s presence should help. The Seahawks also selected a prospective No. 3 wide receiver — Western Michigan’s D’Wayne Eskridge — with their top draft choice.

Through a big-picture lens, this saga may not be finished. But for 2021, Wilson departure drama looks to have ceased. The seven-time Pro Bowler, who informed multiple Seahawks free agents he was not going anywhere, gave no indication any franchise-altering trade will take place in the near future.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Seahawks S Ryan Neal Signs ERFA Tender

Ryan Neal is officially under contract. The Seahawks safety signed his exclusive rights free agent tender today, the team announced.

The 2018 undrafted free agent out of Southern Illinois bounced between the Eagles and Falcons to begin his career, but he found a home in Seattle in 2019. After appearing in only three games during his first year in Seattle, he took on a significantly larger role in 2020.

The 25-year-old started four games while filling in for Jamal Adams, and he finished the campaign having appeared in 13 games and 34-percent of his team’s defensive snaps. His final stat line included 44 tackles, three tackles for loss, five passes defended, and a pair of interceptions, including one that helped clinch a Week 3 victory over the Cowboys.

The Seahawks will return a similar depth chart in 2021. Neal will likely serve as Adams’ primary backup at strong safety, with Ugo Amadi and LaDarius Wiley waiting in the wings.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Julio Jones Fallout: Contract, Suitors, Titans

In a trade that will send one of the 21st century’s best players to the AFC, the Titans moved ahead of the pack in this pursuit via a firm offer. The Titans were the only serious Jones suitor, according to NBC Sports’ Peter King.

The Falcons spoke with several teams on Jones, though offers were scarce. At various points in this process, the team discussed the All-Pro wide receiver with every NFC West franchise. The Cardinals are a new entrant in this derby, but Albert Breer of SI.com notes neither they nor their NFC West rivals sent the Falcons firm offers.

The Titans initially proposed sending the Falcons a conditional third-rounder that could become a second, Breer adds, but Atlanta had Tennessee’s proposal of a second-rounder sans conditions on the table for a bit. Sunday-morning negotiations that ended with the teams agreeing to exchange later-round picks finalized the deal, according to King.

Tennessee’s willingness to absorb Jones’ $15.3MM guaranteed salary also outflanked other suitors, per Breer, who notes the Falcons were not interested in eating part of Jones’ 2021 salary in order to sweeten trade compensation. No first-round pick was offered, Breer notes, though at one point a first did come up as part of a potential pick swap.

A Jones-Falcons divorce first surfaced around draft time, and it became a deal framed around the new Falcons regime receiving cap relief. Given the salary component in these talks, that certainly is a key reason why Jones is Nashville-bound. But this separation began when Jones and the Falcons negotiated his wideout-record three-year, $66MM extension. Jones lobbied the Falcons for a new deal after the 2017 season; the Falcons refused and ended up making minor adjustments to his previous contract in 2018. The future Hall of Famer pursued the matter again in 2019. While the sides hammered out an agreement, the months-long negotiations — which ended with a Sept. 7 accord — took a toll on both parties. Jones communicated to the Falcons he wanted out in March.

Although the Ravens pursued several receivers this offseason and signed Sammy Watkins, their Jones interest ceased after the draft. Baltimore using first- and fourth-round picks on wideouts — Rashod Bateman and Tylan Wallace — ended its talks with its former division rival. Finances scuttled Seahawks involvement, King notes, adding the Patriots were also not serious players in this chase.

It sounds like the Falcons are preparing for a pricey Calvin Ridley extension. The 2018 first-round pick is now eligible for a new deal, and the Falcons are preparing for that expensive re-up, per Breer, by getting the Jones contract off their books. Though Atlanta is still eating some dead money from this trade, the team has some time on a Ridley extension. The Falcons picked up his fifth-year option in May, locking up Ridley through 2022.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Seahawks’ Russell Wilson Reports To OTAs

Seahawks star Russell Wilson will be on hand for the Seahawks’ voluntary offseason team activities (Twitter link via Jake Heaps of 710 ESPN). Wilson has been upset with the team’s inability to build a strong offensive line around him, but it appears that he’s now on the same page with Pete Carroll & Co. 

The Seahawks haven’t exactly overhauled the O-Line, but they did trade for talented right guard Gabe Jackson. They also explored a trade for Julio Jones to give Wilson another weapon alongside D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett, but the Titans beat them to the punch on Sunday. So, while Wilson didn’t get everything he wanted, it seems like he’s willing and ready to stay in Seattle. That’s consistent with what he told newcomer Carlos Dunlap, who re-signed with the team in March.

I did ask him if, obviously, he was going to be with us. Because if I’m coming back, I’m coming back because I see him as my quarterback — and the rest of the team. I want to pick up where we left off,” Dunlap said. “And he told me that he’s with us and that he’s here to stay.”

Wilson is one of less than ten players in the NFL to hold a no-trade clause. With that leverage, he told the Seahawks that he’d be willing to play for the Bears, Raiders, Saints, or Cowboys. Ultimately, nothing came of that — the Seahawks rebuffed every call to keep their franchise QB and avoid a whopping $39MM in dead money on the cap.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Seahawks Not Serious Julio Jones Suitors?

The Seahawks entered the draft with one of the NFL’s best wide receiver tandems, and they added to their Tyler LockettD.K. Metcalf crew by taking D’Wayne Eskridge in the second round. But Seattle surfaced as a Julio Jones suitor last week, joining a few other teams. That pursuit appears to be thinning, however.

Due to a few factors, the Seahawks do not appear to be a top-tier Jones suitor. Their discussions of a potential trade for the All-Pro wideout stemmed more from due diligence than serious interest, Brady Henderson of ESPN.com notes. The past several days have seen this race dwindle to the point it may be a one-on-one showdown — between the 49ers and Titans — though there is always the possibility a stealth team looms.

[RELATED: Rams Out On Julio Jones?]

In addition to having already traded their 2022 first-round pick (in the Jamal Adams swap), the Seahawks are toward the bottom in cap space — at just more than $7MM. For the team to trade for Jones, it would likely need the Falcons to pick up part of his $15.3MM salary, Henderson tweets. Thus far, however, the Falcons have not shown a desire to do so. They remain on the hunt for a first-round pick, though a second-rounder may now be acceptable. While the Seahawks have not been shy about including high picks in trades under their Pete CarrollJohn Schneider regime — as the deals for Percy Harvin, Jimmy Graham and Adams have shown — money complicates this situation.

Restructuring Russell Wilson or Bobby Wagner‘s contract would free up cap space for the Seahawks, but the team does not appear eager to go that route. Jones has more than $38MM remaining on his through-2023 contract, but the 32-year-old superstar may well want yet another new deal after being dealt. The Falcons gave its seven-time Pro Bowl pass catcher a wideout-record three-year, $66MM pact in 2019. Atlanta’s new regime views that contract as one that can be moved to help the team’s cap situation.

Both the Rams and Ravens have stepped back on Jones, and it does not sound like the Patriots are eager to part with a key trade chip for the 10-year veteran. Like the Seahawks, each team made big moves at receiver this offseason. In addition to using their top 2021 pick on Eskridge, the Seahawks gave Lockett a four-year, $69MM extension. Jones could work alongside Metcalf and Lockett, with the latter playing in the slot, while Eskridge develops. But at this point, it looks like the Seahawks will sit out the Jones sweepstakes.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.