Teams can start negotiating with pending free agents a week from today and can officially sign them March 12, but a few players are already free -- having been released by their former teams.
There are several defensive linemen among those, and the Seahawks -- who need help at that spot -- apparently are checking some of them out.
Cullen Jenkins, late of the Philadelphia Eagles, reportedly will include the Seahawks among his visits next week. He will stop in Seattle on Monday before flying down to San Francisco to see the 49ers on Tuesday.
Jenkins, 32, could be an option to replace Alan Branch inside at 3-technique. The 6-foot-2, 305-pounder had 9.5 sacks the past two seasons for the Eagles after spending his first seven years with Green Bay.
Seahawks GM John Schneider was part of the Packers front office that signed Jenkins undrafted out of Central Michigan in 2004.
As many as seven teams reportedly are interested in Jenkins, who was slated to make $5.5 million next season. He met with the Giants on Friday.
He might be worth $4 million a year over two years, but if some team is willing to pay him $5 million, the Hawks are unlikely to be interested.
Meanwhile, another veteran end became available when Atlanta released John Abraham on Friday.
Abraham had 10 sacks in 16 games last season and has 32.5 over the last three years. He sat out most the playoff game against Seattle with a sprained ankle suffered in Week 17, and the Hawks might be wary of the 34-year-old wearing down.
Abraham is the No. 2 free-agent "edge defender," according to Pro Football Focus. Freeney and Umenyiora were much farther down the list.
Freeney did not fare as well at linebacker in the Colts' new scheme last season, netting just five sacks in 719 snaps. But he had 18.5 sacks the two previous seasons and could benefit in a pass-rush role as Seattle's LEO.
Umenyiora had six sacks last season, a drop from the 20.5 over the two previous years.
Assuming the Hawks do not go after a younger, more costly free agent such as Anthony Spencer or Cliff Avril, the Hawks' best pass-rush options appear to be Abraham, Freeney or Umenyiora.
The Hawks simply need to decide which of the three has the most left in the tank.
Abraham, Freeney and Umenyiora are all aging guys who may or may not have much left. Spencer, Avril, Paul Kruger, Michael Bennett and Michael Johnson (franchised by Cincinnati) are all prime-time players poised to make big bucks.
So, what if the Hawks want to take the road less traveled -- as they did with Jason Jones last year?
Williams Hayes: The 2008 fourth-round pick by Tennessee tallied seven sacks on the Rams' stud line last season, including one in the finale against Seattle. The 6-3, 272-pound end might be able to fill in at LEO, 3-tech and 5-tech.
Victor Butler: The 2009 fourth-round pick of the Cowboys has been a part-time player behind DeMarcus Ware and Spencer. He had three sacks in 300 snaps last season. The 6-2, 245-pounder might fit the LEO role.
Wallace Gilberry: The 6-2, 275-pounder had 6.5 sacks in 316 snaps for the Bengals last season and could be moved around in Seattle's scheme.
Sammie Lee Hill: The 6-4, 329-pound Detroit lineman is PFF's ninth-ranked interior free-agent lineman and could be worth a look.
Danny Kelly of Field Gulls runs through about two dozen D-linemen who are pending free agents.