We’ve got a lot of decisions to make this year, much like we did last year. The disadvantage is, of course, the impending lockout (which I’m not going to get into, because what’s the point? Yeah, I hate the idea of a lockout as I assume every other fan does too; bitching about it will accomplish nothing. Football WILL be played again eventually, and when it is, you will watch). The ADvantage, however, is that this coaching staff (or what’s left) and this management has had a year to analyze the players who will potentially be on their way out. Here’s what I perceive to be the official list, with my thoughts on whether or not we should keep them.
By the by, I’m getting my info from this website. Took me a while to track down something so simple, so credit where credit is due. It’s worth a glance as it is a list of EVERY ALMOST EVERY Seahawks player and when they’re up for free agency.
1. Matt Hasselbeck – I don’t know if I’m on record or not, but I’ll say it again: I want Matt Hasselbeck back next year. I WANT him to retire as a Seahawk, but at the very least I want him for a couple more years. Of course, I also want us to draft someone in this upcoming draft, so he can work behind Hasselbeck, but for now Matt gives us the best chance to repeat as NFC West champs in 2011. Final Answer: 2-year extension.
2. Leon Washington – The dude is in his prime, 28 years of age, and he’s one of the best return men in the game. Of COURSE I want him back. I’d give him a 2-3 year extension if I had it my way. Unless he hits the market and gets blown away with an offer. I love what the guy brings, but let’s get serious, blowing a bunch of money on a running back you never use AS a running back is a bit much. Final Answer: 2-3 year extension, if the price is right.
3. Sean Locklear – Let him go. He’s a bum and will be due for raises he’s not worth. Final Answer: No way; there are other fish in the sea.
4. Ray Willis – If he can come back healthy, I’d like to get him on the cheap. A bulldog with size, and at the very least can bring some depth. Final Answer: Yes, if healthy.
5. Tyler Polumbus – Another solid depth guy; he’s young and cheap. Final Answer: Yes.
6. Ben Hamilton & Mansfield Wrotto – I was under the impression that we’d already traded Wrotto away. And Hamilton, I’m pretty sure, is retiring. Final Answer: N/A.
7. Chris Spencer – I liken centers to defensive ends and quarterbacks: they generally get better with age and experience. You rarely see any of those three positions come out of college lighting the world on fire (unlike running backs, linebackers, some offensive tackles and safeties, who tend to rely on their explosive raw talent immediately). I don’t think Spencer will ever be a Pro Bowler, but I think he can still be a solid center in this league for another 5-8 years if his body holds up. I think he kinda gets lumped in with the shitstorm that was the 2009 Seahawks offensive line, and I think that’s unfair. Put some talent around him, and I think Spencer is a guy worth keeping around. He’s coming into his own now, I’d like to see where that’ll take him going forward. Final Answer: Yes, sign to a long-term extension.
8. Brandon Mebane – This is EASILY the number 1 guy we have to re-sign in whatever free agency period we have this year. If defensive tackle wasn’t so injury-prone as a position (regardless of the player), I would say we’re stupid for not inking him to a long-term deal BEFORE the offseason. As it stands, it will weaken our already weak defensive line CONSIDERABLY if we don’t wrap this up. He’s a run-stuffing machine who can cause a little havoc from time to time; exactly what you want with a D-line that plays 3 tackles with a Leo end as the primary pass rusher. Final Answer: Hell Yes! Long-Term Deal!
9. LeRoy Hill – We made it through this year without Hill, we specifically voided the remaining years on his deal to GET him to free agency this year, so no, I don’t think we’ll be re-signing LeRoy Hill. Should we? That’s up for debate. His hitting ability is there. If we got him cheap enough, I’d say that wouldn’t be the worst thing. But, look, we’ve got Hawthorne entrenched at our other outside linebacker position. We’ve got cheap, young linebacker depth kicking ass on our special teams. We don’t NEED LeRoy Hill. If he came back, he’d have to earn his way onto this team and likely wouldn’t be starting unless someone got injured or we started playing 4 linebacker sets. With Tatupu’s injury history, it might not be the worst thing in the world. We can slide Hawthorne into the middle and Hill could reclaim his old position. Final Answer: If he’s cheap enough, yes; but I doubt this will even be an issue.
10. Kelly Jennings – HELL NO! I’ve been counting the fucking days until this waste of space is out of my life. He’s too small, he’s too slow, he’s never in a position to make a play, and it forces the safeties to help out on his side too many times, making Marcus Trufant’s life a living hell. We need to dump the zero and sign a true lockdown corner (ahem, Nnamdi Asomugha), so the safeties can return to helping out Trufant and we can start kicking some tail on the defensive end. Final Answer: Are you shitting me?
11. Lawyer Milloy – This one is about as 50/50 as it gets for me. He won’t be expensive, he’s a natural leader and a great mentor for Earl Thomas, he knows the system inside and out, he’s a Dawg, and if we don’t re-sign him it’s unlikely he’ll go somewhere else and burn us. On the downside, he’s pushing 40 (which means he might as well be pushing 70 in football years). He has a tendency to over-play the run and get beat deep. We should probably be looking towards the future at this position too. Final Answer: 1-year extension, draft a safety that he can tutor, and that will be that.
12. Olindo Mare – Do we dare franchise our kicker two years in a row? Final Answer: Hell yes we do! Franchise the hell out of him until he stops making field goals and then cut him to the dogs!
Interesting fact of note: Our top receivers and tight ends are signed through at least next season (can’t find word on Stokley though; I’d like to get him back if he wants back). However, with Deon Butler’s massacre at the end of the season, we’ll likely be looking for more talent in the pass-catching department.
I know for a fact that there are others Seahawks free agents (reserves, special teamers), but I think that’s as good a rundown as we’re going to get. The only guy who will kill me if he isn’t retained is Mebane. The only guy who will kill me if he IS retained is Jennings. Obviously, keeping the team the same is no way to improve (after all, we DID only win 7 games last year; and no way we blame that all on injuries), so I don’t expect all the guys I want back to BE back. But I think my argument speaks for itself.