Seattle Seahawks Rumors & News

West Notes: Mitchell, Broncos, Poe, Raiders

Despite being released off a defense that ranked 29th last season, Earl Mitchell logged an extensive street free agency tour before signing with the 49ers. After a Broncos offer to Mitchell was reported last night, the new 49er said the Seahawks also made him an offer, per Nick Wagoner of ESPN.com (on Twitter), before he opted for the Bay Area. The Seahawks joined the Falcons as fellow NFC teams pursuing Mitchell, who played four seasons with the Texans and three with the Dolphins. This is his third four-year contract.

That pact came partially because of Mitchell’s history in Houston. New 49ers defensive line coach Jeff Zgonina coached Mitchell with the Texans, and DeMeco Ryans being hired as defensive quality control coach meant a former teammate was going to be on staff. Both hires helped sway Mitchell, per Wagoner (on Twitter). New GM John Lynch also called Mitchell “a priority for us to sign.”

Here’s more from some teams out west, beginning with one of the suitors Mitchell declined:

  • The Broncos lost an assistant offensive line coach who was affiliated with the organization for less than a month when John Benton agreed to become the 49ers’ O-line instructor. They plan to fill his position by bringing in a college coach of their top lineman, with former Boise State and Washington offensive line coach Chris Strausser set to succeed Benton, Mike Klis of 9News reports. Strausser coached Broncos center Matt Paradis — and Bears left tackle Charles Leno — during his time in Idaho before spending the past three seasons with the Huskies. Strausser has coached in college for more than 25 years; this will be his first NFL job.
  • Spotrac calculates Dontari Poe‘s market value as being just north of $12MM per year, putting the Chiefs defensive tackle on the Gerald McCoy/Michael Brockers plane. But someone like Nick Fairley on a shorter-term, lower-cost deal be more effective, Conor Orr of NFL.com writes. Poe hasn’t made the Pro Bowl since 2014 and only has 2.5 sacks since his six-sack slate that year. He stands to join Brandon Williams, Johnathan Hankins and Bennie Logan among free agent defensive tackles. The Chiefs are negotiating with Poe and Eric Berry, with the franchise tag almost certainly coming into play for one.
  • Jason Pierre-Paul could also make it to free agency, although there’s a reasonable chance the Giants tag him. However, should he venture onto the market, Matt Mosley of the Dallas Morning News writes the Broncos or Raiders could be fits. Pass rush isn’t exactly high on the Broncos’ radar, with Von Miller and Shane Ray under contract, but it wasn’t two years ago when Denver drafted Ray in Round 1. However, the Broncos have plenty of greater needs and JPP could aim for Olivier Vernon-type money — which they don’t realistically possess. The Raiders play a 4-3 scheme but obviously have Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin employed, so that would be an interesting fit.

Latest On Broncos’ Offseason Plans

The Broncos will attempt to address their defensive line during the free agent period, according to Mike Klis of 9NEWS. Former Dolphin Earl Mitchell is one candidate to join Denver’s front, and Klis reports Mitchell will meet with the Broncos on Wednesday night and Thursday morning. Mitchell has a busy schedule, as he’ll visit the Seahawks on Monday/Tuesday, the 49ers on Tuesday/Wednesday, and the Falcons on Thursday/Friday.Earl Mitchell (Vertical)

[RELATED: Broncos Working To Re-Sign Kayvon Webster]

If Denver is able to sign Mitchell (who would play end in the Broncos’ 3-4 scheme), it will then focus on securing a replacement for nose tackle Sylvester Williams, per Klis. Williams, a former first-round pick, is expected to test the free agent waters on March 9. The Broncos are also interested in retaining defensive lineman Vance Walker, who missed the entirety of the 2016 after tearing his ACL, according to Klis.

On the offensive side of the the ball, the Broncos will target at least one lineman in free agency, reports Klis. Denver holds an expensive option on left tackle Russell Okung, right tackle Donald Stephenson is expected to be released, and the Broncos’ guards could also be upgraded. Denver’s offensive line ranked as just the league’s No. 24 unit in 2016, according to Pro Football Focus’ year-end rankings.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

DT Earl Mitchell To Meet With Seahawks

  • Following his release by the Dolphins earlier this week, defensive tackle Earl Mitchell has lined up a number of visits. According to NFL.com’s Mike Garafolo (via Twitter), the veteran is set to meet with the Seahawks, 49ers, Falcons, and Broncos next week. Mitchell joined Miami prior to the 2014 season, playing in 37 games over his three seasons with the team.

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Hawks Notes: Sherman, Kickers, Avril

The Seahawks had been in danger of losing a second-round pick for failing to disclose cornerback Richard Sherman‘s “significant” MCL injury during the season, but the NFL decided Monday to let them off with a warning, tweets Mike Garafolo of NFL.com. The league concluded that the Seahawks merely misinterpreted its rules, per Garafolo. The news that Seattle is escaping punishment isn’t particularly surprising, as one of Garafolo’s NFL.com colleagues, Ian Rapoport, reported earlier this month that Seattle wasn’t going to face serious discipline for its violation.

  • Newly signed Seahawks kicker Blair Walsh‘s single-year contract is worth $1.1MM and includes no guaranteed money, per Sheil Kapadia of ESPN.com. Walsh stands to earn an $800K salary and could make another $300K in bonuses. The Seahawks are likely to bring in another kicker to compete against Walsh for the job this summer. Odds are that won’t be soon-to-be free agent Steven Hauschka, observes Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times, considering the five-year Seahawk will likely be out of their price range.
  • Continuing a Seahawks-heavy set of notes, defensive end Cliff Avril tweeted that he underwent successful surgery Tuesday. Avril didn’t specify which type of surgery he underwent, though Condotta points out that the physician who performed the procedure – Dr. William C. Meyers – specializes in core and sports hernia operations. Regardless, Avril should be fine for 2017 and will attempt to build on his first Pro Bowl season – an 11.5-sack, five-forced fumble campaign.

Seahawks Parting With Assistant LBs Coach Lofa Tatupu

  • The Seahawks are parting with assistant linebackers coach Lofa Tatupu, who spent the previous two years on Pete Carroll‘s staff, tweets Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times. Tatupu is better known for his on-field work in Seattle, where he played from 2005-10 and earned three Pro Bowl nods.

Seahawks Make Change At Running Backs Coach

  • Sherman Smith is out as the Seahawks’ running backs coach, a position he had held since 2009, according to Sporting News’ Alex Marvez. The Seahawks are promoting assistant RBs/assistant special teams coach Chad Morton to Sherman’s former spot (Twitter links).

Six Seahawks Had 2017 Base Salaries Become Guaranteed Saturday

Seahawks Likely To Bring In Competition at Kicker

  • Knowing the way the Seahawks operate, it stands to reason that they will bring in a young kicker to compete with new addition Blair Walsh, Bob Condotta of The Seattle Times writes. It’s quite unlikely that Steven Hauschka will be kept around for competition, however. Hauschka made $2.7MM last season and Walsh will probably earn something in the $1MM range, so it’s hard to see a scenario in which he would agree to fight for the job and accept a 50 percent-plus pay slash.

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Seahawks Sign Blair Walsh

The Seahawks have signed former Vikings kicker Blair Walsh, according to a league source who spoke with Field Yates of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Stephen Hauschka is a free agent, so Walsh could be the man to replace him. "<strong

[RELATED: Browns Claim Tyvis Powell From Seahawks]

Walsh and the Seahawks have some recent history together after he missed a game-winning field goal in the NFC Wild Card playoff matchup last year. Even though he badly missed that 27-yard chip shot, the Seahawks are intrigued by him and view him as their potential place kicker for 2017.

Last year, Walsh was cut by the Vikings in November and was unable to find work after that point. His 2016 season was rough, but he has a history of being a solid kicker. From 2012 through 2015, Walsh sank 85.2% of his field goal attempts, including going 6-of-8 from 50+ yards. In 2012, he was selected to the Pro Bowl and given First-Team All-Pro honors.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Browns Claim Tyvis Powell

The Browns announced they have claimed defensive back Tyvis Powell off waivers from the Seahawks. Powell, an Ohio native, is entering his second season out of Ohio State. Tyvis Powell (vertical)

The 6’2″, 211 pound athlete joined Seattle as an undrafted free agent last year. After that, Powell spent the entire regular season on the Seahawks’ active roster and made cameos in eight games. He didn’t see a ton of action, but he did notch three special-teams tackles. The Browns saw more film on him during his Ohio State days, when he appeared in 42 games and let the team in interceptions during his final season there.

Powell may or may not stick with the Browns roster, but he now has the distinction of being the first player claimed off of waivers in the 2017 offseason system.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.