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Amid free-agent losses, Seahawks have not sat idle

Defensive tackle Tony McDaniel at Candlestick Park in San Francisco on Dec. 8, 2013
Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images

As expected, the first week of free agency was not kind to the Seahawks' roster.

The Seahawks were bound to lose a bunch of guys, so it was no surprise that Golden Tate, Clinton McDonald, Breno Giacomini, Chris Maragos and Walter Thurmond cashed in on their Super Bowl success. In a mild surprise, Brandon Browner also quickly found a new team.

Amid the steady stream of players leaving, the Hawks did not sit idle. They re-signed their No. 1 priority, Michael Bennett, the day before free agency started and kept seven other players.

As expected, they have been very measured in their approach to free agency. They cleared a bunch of salary cap space by releasing Sidney Rice, Red Bryant and Chris Clemons, plus cutting Zach Miller's contract.

They have so far added one minor free agent while checking into several others. They took a flier on an oft-injured wide receiver, Taylor Price, and still could add tight end Jermichael Finley, who needs clearance after spinal fusion surgery last year.

The Hawks also are hot after defensive line replacements after cutting Bryant and Clemons and losing McDonald.

Dallas seems to play heavily into the D-line conversation after losing Jason Hatcher and cutting DeMarcus Ware.

Hatcher, a 32-year-old defensive tackle, visited Seattle but ended up signing with Washington.

Henry Melton -- a good, young tackle from Chicago who tore his ACL last September -- visited Seattle and reportedly is discussing a contract with the Hawks and perhaps other teams while visiting Dallas.

Defensive end Jared Allen, 32, reportedly visited Seattle on Sunday and could be an option in Dallas as well. He likely will want upwards of $10 million per year, which is what former Cowboy DeMarcus Ware got from Denver. Seattle certainly will not pay him that, though. If he comes down to $8 million, they could make a deal.

The Hawks also reportedly are checking into longtime Saints defensive end Will Smith, and they have been investigating wide receivers to replace Tate and Rice. Among the players they reportedly have inquired about: Steve Smith (signed with Baltimore), James Jones (Oakland) and Kenny Britt.

They also have openings along the offensive line and in the secondary, so they could start checking into second-tier free agents at those positions. The Hawks have around $15.4 million in cap space – enough to fill in the blanks.

Here's a look at the Seahawks' comings and goings through the first weekend of the NFL's new year:


DL Michael Bennett

Deal: Four years, $28.5 million ($16 million guaranteed).

What it means: Keeping the versatile 2013 sack leader was a major move for helping the defense stay dominant. Bennett is expected to start in Bryant's spot at five-technique and also work inside on passing downs.

DT Tony McDaniel

Deal: Two years, $5.75 million (could be worth $6.3 million).

What it means: The Hawks apparently preferred McDaniel to DE Red Bryant for their run defense, and they valued him rather highly because they gave the 29-year-old a significant raise over his vet-minimum $840,000 deal in 2013. McDaniel was the third-best free-agent tackle, according to Pro Football Focus.

WR Doug Baldwin

Deal: Second-round tender worth $2.187 million.

What it means: This was a no-brainer move to retain the clutch wide receiver for his fourth season, and it would not be surprising at all to see the Hawks sign Baldwin to an extension after they have re-upped Earl Thomas, Richard Sherman and perhaps Russell Okung and/or K.J. Wright. With Tate gone, Baldwin should remain a starter in 2014 -- opposite a hopefully healthy Percy Harvin.

QB Tarvaris Jackson

Deal: One year, $1.25 million.

What it means: Jackson signed for the minimum ($840,000) in 2013 to back up Russell Wilson, but the Hawks gave him more this year (the eight-year vet minimum in 2014 is $855,000).

S Jeron Johnson

Deal: Second-round tender worth $2.187 million.

What it means: The Hawks obviously value Johnson, who has shown a knack for making plays when healthy. He still is not likely to play for this amount in 2014. The Hawks likely will treat him as they did their 2013 restricted free agents, who all took pay cuts or got extensions.

OL Lemuel Jeanpierre

Deal: One year, $950,000.

What it means: The Hawks eschewed the RFA tag for Jeanpierre, who decided to return for one year at more than the three-year minimum of $645,000. He reportedly got $250,000 in guaranteed money. He is a valuable role player – he started three games for Max Unger last season – so it was nice the Hawks could keep him.

TE Anthony McCoy

Deal: One year, $1.35 million (guaranteed).

What it means: McCoy missed the 2013 season with a torn Achilles, but the Hawks obviously think he can contribute in 2014 because they paid him well above the minimum and reportedly guaranteed all of it. He figures to push Luke Willson for the No. 2 spot behind Zach Miller, and you have to wonder whether the Hawks are planning to use their tight ends much more in the passing game in 2014, especially if they add a healthy Finley.

What he said: “I think everyone always has an interest in going into free agency and seeing what their worth is in the market, but Seattle came at me tough and they were the team that drafted me so at the end of the day I felt like this was the best place to continue my career in the NFL. I feel like I made the right choice.”

K Steven Hauschka

Deal: Three years, $9.15 million.

What it means: The Hawks rewarded the 28-year-old kicker they picked up off the scrap heap in 2011. They could have leveraged him down below $3 million, especially with most NFL teams already set at kicker. But they paid him well for a career season in 2013 (33 of 35 field goals, including 3 of 3 from 50+).


WR Golden Tate

Deal: Five years, $31 million with Detroit.

What it means: The Hawks were not going to pay Tate more than $5 million a year. They don't need to, not with Harvin on the team and hopefully earning his xxxx in 2014. Tate gets to play opposite superstar receiver Calvin Johnson in Detroit's pass-happy offense, and his numbers will probably look good. He told the News Tribune the Seahawks lowballed him at first and then upped their offer once they found out what his market was. But they didn't offer enough. If Harvin is healthy, the Hawks won't miss Tate at all. And they still have Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse, undrafted gems who combined to score nine touchdowns in 2013.

What he said: “It’s bittersweet. I understand the business of NFL football. I understand the money situation and I get that all. My thing is the relationships that I developed in the locker room. I don’t even know if I can get that close again with a group. I hope I can."

OT Breno Giacomini

Deal: Four years, $18 million with the Jets.

What it means: Jets GM John Idzik, a former Seattle exec, obviously valued the right tackle more than Seattle did. The Hawks, who paid Giacomini $6 million over the previous two years, apparently are ready to go younger at the position. First in line is Michael Bowie, who started eight games last season while Giacomini was injured. The Hawks surely will add competition for Bowie as well.

What he said: "My past relationship with John Idzik has been really good. That was one of the main things, to come over here and try to help this team win. When I got to Seattle, I was kind of up and down on the practice squad, and there was a lot of paperwork to sign. I was always with him, signing all that stuff. He’s a great guy, loves football. He’s all about the competition. He wants to win, too. He came from a great program like I did.”

DT Clinton McDonald

Deal: Four years, $12 million with Tampa Bay.

What it means: Not bad for a guy who was jettisoned before Week 1 last season, brought back before Week 2 and then had a career year. McDonald's deal shows how valuable role players on Super Bowl teams are. The Hawks were certainly not going to be able to afford him, so McDonald is off to Tampa Bay to play alongside Gerald McCoy. In a way, he replaces Michael Bennett, who came back to Seattle last year after four years in Tampa.

CB Brandon Browner

Deal: Three years, $17 million.

What it means: Assuming these numbers are right and Browner truly has a chance to make nearly $6 million a year, his agent deserves a big-time bonus (and probably should go buy a Mega Millions ticket). The Patriots surely protected themselves in case Browner is banned indefinitely (again), but they obviously are comfortable losing him for the first four games of 2014. The Hawks had been burned by him twice and were never going to have that high an interest in him. They have already replaced him with Byron Maxwell.

What he said: "I am honored that the Patriots are making me part of their legendary organization and am grateful for the opportunity (owner Robert) Kraft, coach (Bill) Belichick, (GM) Nick Caserio and the entire team have given me. I intend to diligently work with the same passion and dedication that I have displayed since coming into the NFL to uphold the great traditions and qualities that are embodied by the Patriots. I would be remiss if I didn’t thank the Seattle Seahawks for giving a CFL player the once in-a-lifetime opportunity to return to the NFL, making a young boy's dream come true. To coach Pete Carroll, GM John Schneider, John Idzik, coach Richard, Rocky Seto, the LOB, my teammates, the training staff, the equipment guys, the Seahawks organization and, most importantly, the 12th Man, I say thank you for everything you have done for myself and my family."

S Chris Maragos

Deal: Three years, $4 million with Philadelphia.

What it means: The Hawks apparently weren't interested in retaining their special-teams captain for a little over $1 million a year. He is just 27, but the Hawks can get even younger and cheaper at his spot with DeShawn Shead or someone else.

DE Red Bryant

Deal: Four years, $19 million with Jacksonville.

What it means: Bryant said the Hawks let him go without offering him the chance to stay on a cheaper salary than the $7.5 million he was set to be paid in 2014. They added $5.5 million in salary cap space and used it to re-sign Bennett and McDaniel. Meanwhile, Bryant rejoined former Seattle defensive coordinator Gus Bradley, who obviously knows what Bryant offers, both on the field and off, for the rebuilding Jaguars.

What he said: “I’ve been very fortunate that I had other teams willing to bring me in and make me a part of their franchise. It’s a win-win for everybody. The Seahawks had to do what was best for them and their program. I was able to go somewhere else where they felt like I could still contribute and have a big part of their success in the future. It’s bittersweet, but that’s life. . . . I know it’s a business from the top down and I believe Jacksonville is definitely moving in the right direction, and I am excited about being there.”

DE Chris Clemons

Deal: Four years, $17.5 million with Jacksonville.

What it means: With Bradley at the helm, the Jags unsurprisingly have become the SeaJags and will feature half of Seattle's defensive line in 2014. The Seahawks were never going to pay the 32-year-old $7.5 million a year; they used some of it to re-sign Bennett, and they might use the rest to help sign Allen or Melton.

CB Walter Thurmond

Deal: One year, $3.5 million with Giants.

What it means: Thurmond seemed to have plenty of suitors, but apparently no one wanted to gamble much on the recently suspended cornerback (the 49ers reportedly offered $2 million for one year). The Hawks reportedly remained interested but obviously were not going to pay him very much to come back. If he stays clean and plays well in 2014, he might find a better market in 2015.


WR Sidney Rice: The Hawks cut the injured receiver to regain $7.3 million under the cap. Word is they might be interested in bringing him back later. Of course, that would be for dirt cheap (maybe $1 million plus stay-healthy incentives). He is still rehabbing a torn ACL suffered last season and didn't do much when he was healthy, so why would the Hawks guarantee him much?

LB O'Brien Schofield: The backup linebacker failed a physical that voided a two-year, $8 million deal with the Giants. If he doesn't get any other bites, the Hawks could get him back on a cheap one-year deal as he angles for a pay day in 2015.

FB Michael Robinson: It's still possible the 30-year-old fullback will return, but it is just as likely he will retire and go into media.

OL Paul McQuistan: The veteran has run his course with the Hawks, who can do better – cheaper -- at left guard and at reserve left tackle.

TE Kellen Davis: Davis won't be back – not with McCoy returning and Finley possibly signing.

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