Seahawks Rumors

FA Notes: Clowney, Conklin, Patriots, Jones

This year’s edge rusher free agency class could be especially deep, depending on how certain teams proceed with their respective franchise tags. But that doesn’t apply to the biggest name. Jadeveon Clowney cannot be tagged and is on track to test the market, and said market may be taking shape at the Combine. Thus far in the process, the Colts and Giants are two teams who have surfaced in connection to Clowney. Both could have interest in the former No. 1 overall pick, per Josina Anderson of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Both teams feature edge rusher needs, the Giants more than the Colts, and each holds north of $70MM in cap space.

The Seahawks, however, are not out of the mix. Clowney said (via Anderson, on Twitter) after spending a season in Seattle he would “definitely” like to stay, though the six-year veteran pass rusher added he is open to relocating. Seahawks GM John Schneider confirmed (via ESPN.com’s Brady Henderson) the team wants Clowney back. Seattle has both Clowney and defensive tackle Jarran Reed as free agents, leaving major holes on the team’s defensive line.

Here is the latest from the free agent market:

  • With major needs up front, the Jets are expected to make several additions this offseason. They have expressed serious interest in Jack Conklin, according to Tony Pauline of ProFootballNetwork.com. A four-year starter at right tackle in Tennessee, Conklin will be coveted by many teams and will command a top-market contract. The Jets have deployed a bottom-tier offensive line for years, and the Titans having Ryan Tannehill and Derrick Henry as looming UFAs will likely send Conklin out of town.
  • The Patriots, who extended Shaq Mason in 2018, are preparing to lose his longtime guard mate. Joe Thuney has been expected to leave since last year’s Combine, per Doug Kyed of NESN.com. Approximately 20 teams have the four-year Patriots starter on their respective radars, Pauline adds. A market like this, coupled with the CBA potentially set to see record cap spikes in the coming years, likely puts Thuney in line to eclipse Lane Johnson‘s $14.1MM guard-record pact.
  • However, the Pats are not giving up on retaining some of their other key free agents. They have spoken with the representatives of Devin McCourty and Jamie Collins, Kyed notes. McCourty played out a five-year extension signed back in 2015, while Collins re-established his value on a low-level Pats accord. The latter will likely be looking for a deal closer to the $12MM-plus pact he inked with the Browns in 2017.
  • Although Chris Harris is the most accomplished cornerback on this year’s market and rated higher by some outlets, Byron Jones is viewed by corner-needy teams as the top prize at the position this year, Pauline notes. At 27, Jones is three years younger than Harris. The Cowboys are likely set to let Jones walk, having authorized numerous recent extensions and are set for crunch-time negotiations with Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper. Jones is expected to see big offers from multiple teams, per Pauline, and is almost certainly set to raise the bar from its longstanding place at $15MM per year.

Seahawks Open To Marshawn Lynch Return

The Seahawks aren’t ruling out another year of Beast Mode. Head coach Pete Carroll says he’d be open to having running back Marshawn Lynch back in the fold, even though it likely wouldn’t be for a full season. 

We’ll see. Never say never,” Carroll said (via Gregg Bell of The News Tribune). “I’m not going to rush him back to offseason, that’s for sure. That’s never been one of his strengths.”

Lynch, 34 in April, joined the Seahawks for the club’s final regular season game and their pair of postseason games. Carroll said Lynch did an “extraordinary job” in the limited run, which included four rushing touchdowns.

Marshawn made an exceptional impression coming back, starting with me,” Carroll said. “He worked very hard to get to the point to have the chance to be available, how he got to that spot that maybe he could play later in the season. He reported in good shape. He performed well…Did a great job for us just picking things up and showing how, what it takes to be available and all that. He was gracious and great to all the young guys. It didn’t matter how old you were, he was just great to everybody.”

Lynch’s yards-per-carry average didn’t jump off of the page, but he got the job done for them in the red zone. All things considered, it was a solid showing for a player who had spent more than a year away from the game. After the rash of injuries that sidelined Chris Carson, Rashaad Penny, and C.J. Prosise, it only makes sense for Seattle to keep Lynch on speed-dial.

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Seahawks To Hire Alonzo Highsmith, Eliot Wolf As Consultants

Recently let go following the Browns’ latest GM change, Alonzo Highsmith and Eliot Wolf have secured pre-draft roles elsewhere. The Seahawks will bring the execs in as consultants during the lead-up to the draft, Mike Garafolo of NFL.com tweets.

Both staffers have lengthy histories in Green Bay, just as Seattle GM John Schneider does. Schneider and Wolf worked together with the Packers, while Highsmith began a six-year Green Bay tenure shortly after Schneider left for the Seattle job. Each left the Packers to work as John Dorsey‘s right-hand men with the Browns, but with Dorsey’s Cleveland tenure stopping after two years, his lieutenants are now on the market.

Wolf has interviewed for multiple GM jobs in the recent past, venturing to Cleveland after the Packers promoted Brian Gutekunst to that role in early 2018. The son of Hall of Fame GM Ron Wolf, Eliot worked with Schneider in Green Bay from 2004-09 and was a 15-year Packers staffer. Wolf worked as Dorsey’s assistant GM; Highsmith served as the Browns’ VP of player personnel.

Both Wolf and Highsmith figure to have options. For now, they will help a Seahawks team that’s become known for draft-weekend moves.

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This Date In Transactions History: Seahawks Use Transition Tag On Steve Hutchinson

With the NFL taking the rare step to move its window for teams to apply franchise and transition tags, let’s take a look at one of the most pivotal developments in tag history. A fascinating tag-related sequence began 14 years ago today. After Steve Hutchinson reeled off three straight Pro Bowl seasons — two of them producing first-team All-Pro acclaim — the Seahawks placed their transition tag on the standout guard on Feb. 23, 2006.

Hutchinson had just helped Shaun Alexander race to MVP honors during Seattle’s 2005 NFC championship season. Not only did this transition tag not work out for the Seahawks, it set in motion a chain of events that led to a change in NFL offseason procedures.

The Seahawks frequently used their tag in the years leading up to this, franchise-tagging Walter Jones from 2002-04. The Hall of Fame tackle played on the tag in each season but signed a seven-year, $52.5MM extension in February 2005; that figure became important in the Hutchinson proceedings. The Seahawks also franchise-tagged Alexander in 2005, and his status as a free agent loomed large a year later as well.

Seattle opted to use the lesser transition tag, which provides no compensation for successful offer sheets, on Hutchinson. The Vikings then signed Hutchinson to a seven-year, $49MM offer sheet in March, making him the highest-paid guard in league history. But a clause in this contract became the story.

Minnesota’s offer sheet stipulated all of Hutchinson’s $49MM would become guaranteed were he not his team’s highest-paid offensive lineman at the time he signed the contract. With Jones in place on his $7.5MM-per-year deal, Hutchinson would have not been Seattle’s highest-paid O-lineman. That would have triggered the guarantee. Because of the Vikings’ tactic here, the term “poison pill” became a common phrase that offseason. An NFL arbitrator ruled in favor of the Vikings, keeping this language in the contract and sending then-28-year-old lineman to the Twin Cities.

Rather than match the onerous offer sheet, Seattle used that money to give linebacker Julian Peterson a seven-year, $54MM deal. Prior to the Vikings’ Hutchinson contract, the Seahawks had already authorized an eight-year, $62MM deal for Alexander. That decision burned the Seahawks quickly, while Hutchinson continued his prime with the Vikings.

As a revenge measure in this unique offseason feud, the Seahawks then pilfered Vikings restricted free agent wide receiver Nate Burleson for the same amount — seven years and $49MM — despite Burleson never making a Pro Bowl. But Seattle’s “poison pill” was even weirder. That RFA offer sheet stipulated Burleson’s $49MM would become guaranteed if he played five games in the state of Minnesota. The Vikings naturally passed on this offer sheet.

While both teams were admonished at the ensuing league meetings, the Vikings got the better end of these transactions. Hutchinson played six seasons with the Vikings, made four more Pro Bowls while helping Adrian Peterson‘s rise and was elected to the Hall of Fame earlier this year. Alexander’s production fell off considerably in 2006, and he was out of the league by 2009. A Seattle native, Burleson was a Seahawk from 2006-09. The NFL discontinued “poison pill”-type clauses in offer sheets in 2012.

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Greg Olsen Talked TV Gig With Multiple Networks

  • Whenever Greg Olsen retires, it sounds like he won’t struggle to find a new job. The veteran tight end had discussions with multiple networks regarding a “high-profile” television gig, reports Joe Person of The Athletic (via Twitter). Ultimately, the 13-year veteran decided to sign a one-year, $7MM deal with the Seahawks.

Seahawks’ Will Dissly Ready For Week 1?

When the Seahawks take the field in September, they’ll have multiple-time Pro Bowler Greg Olsen at tight end. They also expect to have a healthy Will Dissly ready to go, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (Twitter link) hears. 

[RELATED: Seahawks Sign Greg Olsen]

Thanks to multiple injuries, Dissly has appeared in a grand total of ten games as a pro. Thankfully, the recent checkups on his torn Achilles have been promising.

Before he was shut down in October, Dissly managed 23 catches for 262 yards and four touchdowns in six games. The 2018 fourth-round draft pick from Washington has flashed serious potential to start both of his seasons and the Seahawks believe that he can build off of that and stay on the field in 2020.

The Seahawks signed Olsen on Tuesday, edging out the Bills and Redskins for his services. Seattle plans to feature both tight ends – sometimes in the same set – which could give opposing defenses fits. Dissly had 156 yards and two touchdowns in just four games in his first season as a pro in 2018.

Quarterback Russell Wilson lobbied hard for Olsen, who could help give him a reliable tight end target for the first time since Jimmy Graham‘s departure. Between Olsen (soon to be 35) and Dissly, the Seahawks should be well covered. Dissly has had some tough injury luck, and he tore his ACL as a rookie. Here’s to hoping he can stay healthy in 2020.

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Seahawks Sign TE Greg Olsen

Greg Olsen‘s first free agency tour will produce a deal with the Seahawks. The veteran tight end will choose Seattle over Buffalo and Washington, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter).

The 13-year veteran agreed to a one-year, $7MM deal with the Seahawks, per Schefter, who adds this pact comes with $5.5MM guaranteed. The chance to play with Russell Wilson helped make Seattle a more attractive destination than those with ex-Panthers staffers in place, per Schefter (on Twitter).

Wilson has gone through a few tight ends since Jimmy Graham‘s departure. Ed Dickson experienced consistent injury troubles over the past two years; so has promising youngster Will Dissly. Olsen will add a proven weapon to Seattle’s pass-catching corps, coming in for his age-35 season.

The Seahawks last season were down both Dickson and Dissly, and they traded Nick Vannett to the Steelers early in the season. Jacob Hollister started both playoff games. Barring injury, Olsen will be in line to join Tyler Lockett and D.K. Metcalf as one of Wilson’s top three targets next season. The Seahawks will be Olsen’s third team, following the Bears and Panthers.

In nine Carolina seasons, Olsen became one of the best players in franchise history. He eclipsed 1,000 yards en route to three Pro Bowls from 2014-16 and helped the Panthers to a 15-1 season that produced an NFC championship. Since coming into the league as a first-round pick out of Miami in 2007, Olsen has 8,444 receiving yards — third-most in the NFL among tight ends in that span.

Olsen, however, experienced significant foot trouble late in his Panthers tenure. Although Olsen played 14 games last season, he missed 16 games between the 2017-18 campaigns because of multiple foot maladies. This marks another injury-prone tight end on Seattle’s roster. The potentially rebuilding Panthers released Olsen, who had one more season left on his Carolina contract, earlier this month.

This will put Ron Rivera‘s Redskins in the market for another tight end and may move Sean McDermott‘s Bills to pursue one as well. FOX will need to delay plans to hire Olsen for one of its Sunday broadcast teams as well. The network has used Olsen for multiple broadcasts late in his career and made him an offer to join full-time this offseason.

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Latest On Greg Olsen

Greg Olsen‘s free agency tour has come to an end after three stops, according to ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter (on Twitter). The tight end is currently in negotiations with the Bills, Redskins, and Seahawks, and he will not be meeting with any other teams. 

The Panthers parted ways with Olsen earlier this offseason in yet another signal that they are prepared for a total rebuild. This, of course, came weeks after the dismissal of longtime head coach Ron Rivera. Soon, the Panthers’ revamp may result in the release of one-time MVP quarterback Cam Newton.

Back to Olsen – the veteran has rebuffed numerous offers from multiple networks who are hoping to lure him into the broadcast booth. Instead, he’s intent on playing at least one more season in the NFL with an eye on contending for a championship. If winning is Olsen’s priority, one has to think that the Seahawks would be at the top of his wishlist.

The Bills and Redskins also hold appeal for Olsen, who will turn 35 in March. In Buffalo, Olsen could be a key part of the offense and siphon snaps from youngster Dawson Knox. With the Redskins, Olsen would get to rejoin longtime mentor Ron Rivera. Depending on how things shake out in D.C., it could even be a full-fledged reunion. The Redskins cut Josh Norman on Friday, but they could fill their void at cornerback by pivoting to James Bradberry, who spent the last four years in Carolina.

At this stage, Olsen is no longer a top-flight tight end. However, he was still reasonably productive last season and it’s clear that he still has some gas in the tank and fire in his belly. For his career, Olsen has notched 718 catches, 8,444 receiving yards and 59 touchdowns.

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Greg Olsen Expected To Sign With NFL Team This Week

Greg Olsen is almost ready to make his free agent decision. By the end of the week, the tight end expects to choose his next NFL squad, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter) hears. 

Olsen kicked off his free agent tour by meeting with the Bills last week. Today, he’ll huddle up with the Redskins before moving on to the Seahawks on Wednesday.

It has been said that Olsen is also weighing a jump to broadcasting, but from the sound of it, the tight end will be staving off retirement for another offseason. Olsen has garnered lucrative offers from both ESPN and FOX over the years, so it stands to reason that those opportunities will be there waiting for him, whenever he’s ready to hang ’em up.

The Seahawks would probably represent Olsen’s best chance to win a Super Bowl ring, but the Bills and Redskins also have a lot to offer. With the Bills, Olsen would have an opportunity to pair with the young and promising Josh Allen and occupy a significant role in the offense. The Redskins, meanwhile, would allow him to reunite with Ron Rivera, the longtime Panthers coach that guided him to a streak of three 1,000-yard seasons and multiple Pro Bowl appearances.

Olsen, 35 in March, has notched 718 catches for 8,444 yards and 59 touchdowns over the course of his career. Last year, he had an uncharacteristically quiet season with the Panthers – 52 grabs, 597 yards, and just two touchdowns in 14 games.

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Seahawks To Stick With Jason Myers?

On Friday, a large chunk of Jason Myers‘ salary became guaranteed for the 2020 season, as ESPN.com’s Brady Henderson (on Twitter) notes. With that, Myers should enter the core of the offseason as the Seahawks’ presumptive kicker. 

Myers joined up with the Seahawks on a four-year, ~$16MM deal last March. He went on to make 82.1% of his field goals – a step down from his career average and a significant drop from his 91.7% connection rate with the Jets in 2018. In that season with Gang Green, Myers earned his first ever trip to the Pro Bowl.

The Seahawks tend to steer players towards injury-only guarantees that become fully guaranteed in each offseason. That was the case with Myers, who locked in $1.5MM of his $2.6MM base salary for 2020 this week. Ditto for bigger names, including Russell Wilson, Bobby Wagner, and Tyler Lockett.

For his career, Myers has made 83.9% of his field goal tries and 88.5% of his extra point attempts. Over the last five seasons, he’s appeared in 70 games for the Jaguars, Jets, and Seahawks.

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