Leon Washington Returns; Brandon Mebane Maybe

An interesting development today.  I spelled out what I wanted from a potential Leon Washington deal here, and lo and behold, look at what we’ve got!  The official word is a 4-year deal, but I heavily doubt we see him for the full four in the contract’s current incarnation.  And, hey!  Didn’t break the bank whatsoever!

On its surface, this is a great move by the team.  We have our special teams returner for a good chunk of time.  He’s one of the best in the league and that’s what he’s being rewarded as.  But, dig a little deeper and it becomes a little more interesting.

For one thing, Justin Forsett’s deal expires after the upcoming season.  Should Leon hold up health-wise – which I believe he will – does this mean we have our new third down back going into 2012?  At that point, he’ll still be 30 I believe, and we’ve seen from guys like Kevin Faulk that having a savvy veteran catching balls out of the backfield can be a good thing.  These types of backs tend to last a ways into their 30s as long as you keep their touches to a steady 10 per game, so it’s not crazy to imagine him sliding into our regular rotation after this season.

And, when Leon’s ready to hang ’em up, as we’ve seen from drafting Forsett in the 7th round, a team can pick up another runnning back in the later stages of the draft (or even straight out of college as a free agent) and have them make an impact.  After all, the NFL is notorious for churning through running backs; plus, there are always fresh legs coming through the pike.

In short, I’m FOR this deal.

I’m also glad we’ve got the process moving on Mebane.  He’s absolutely essential to our success going forward.  Of course, he’s one of the primary D-tackles in free agency this year, so at least we’ve got something in good faith towards retaining his services.  Restricted free agent, meaning:  we can match any offer or else we get a 3rd round pick.  I’m not going to go quite so far as to say this is win-win, but I’m told this year’s draft is laden with quality D-linemen.  A 3rd round pick is nothing to sneer at.

All in all, a good day for the Seahawks.  We haven’t necessarily made any headway in filling our actual HOLES yet, but this is a nice start.

Also, word on the grapevine is, a deal with Matt Hasselbeck is on indefinite hold for the time being.  Looks like our best option at quarterback for 2011 probably WILL end up dipping his toes in the free agent market.  Don’t panic yet, but remain on guard.

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