Friday, February 29, 2008

The "Hoch's" Nest: Matt’s Four-Part Seahawks Extravaganza -- Part Four

The day is here! NFL Free Agency has begun and for a lot fans that means that the new NFL Season has started. This is a great day filled with sounds of the refresh button being clicked over and over and over and over and over and over and over…

But before I get ahead of myself, this is the Fourth installment of my Four-Part Seahawks Extravaganza where I look at the biggest off-season storylines that the Seahawks face this year.

The previous installments:
The "Hoch's" Nest: Matt’s Four-Part Seahawks Extravaganza -- Part Two (Mike Holmgren)
The "Hoch's" Nest: Matt’s Four-Part Seahawks Extravaganza -- Part Three (Leavings)

Today:
Signings

It started at Midnight EST this morning (so 9 last night on the West Coast) so I was able to hear some of the names that had already signed with other teams. Players like these:

Kelley Washington re-signs with the Patriots.
Justin Smiley leaves the Dolphins for the 49ers.
DeShaun Foster leaves the Panthers for the 49ers.
Allen Rossum leaves the Steelers for the 49ers.

I’m noticing a trend…

The 49ers are definitely bulking up, but what about their NFC West Rivals the Seattle Seahawks?

Let’s start with their needs:
Scouts Inc. says that they need (as of 2/14/08) help at Right Tackle, Defensive Tackle, Running Back and Offensive Guard.

As of today I would change those to: Defensive Tackle, Running Back, Tight End, Kicker and Line Depth.

This is all good and grand, but we have an extra wrench to throw in the works: the salary cap.

“They never have salary cap problems, Matt!”

That was before they franchised Trufant and signed all of those high priced players last season.

Danny O'Neil of the Seattle Times reports that the Seahawks are strapped for cash according to Team President Tim Ruskell.

"Some moves that we make the next few days will show you it's very tough," Ruskell said. "Some players may have to leave the roster."

Who could leave? That is frightening for those who are following the market. It is inflated again, which will cause some problems when it comes to signing replacements.

If they can sign Trufant to a contract they could free up some room to make signings of guys like Alge Crumpler (who starts the second day of his visit today) and possibly a Defensive Tackle.

The Draft is deep, and I am a firm believer that the Hawks will look to the Draft for a TE and RB. Dustin Keller (Made famous by Monday Shmonday: The Week in Review) has been speculated as the Seahawks’ first pick.

Even if they take a TE in the draft, they still need someone to play this season. You can expect that the rookie will contribute but, with the exception of few, he will not be a viable starter. RB can be picked up in the later rounds, much like Michael Turner.

What about the Free Agents, though?

All signs point to Josh Brown leaving. My personal feelings aside, this will open a gaping hole in the team and they will need to figure that out. Watch for them to draft someone in the later rounds.

They took care of their Guard problem with the signing of Mike Wahle and they locked up Sean Locklear at RT. So what now? Depth. They need to draft some players to start getting ready the decline of Walter Jones (inevitable due to age).

There is a lot of help needed on the Defensive Line, seeing as how Marcus Tubbs is always hurt, Rocky Bernard isn’t living up to his contract and Chuck Darby is aging quickly. I think they are all very good players for the system and that when Tubbs is in they can stop almost any running game, but that is the problem. He is NEVER in the game. Last year he counted $1.2M against the salary cap and it only goes up this year.

Don’t be surprised to see him become a casualty.

I would love to blow smoke and say they will go out and make a huge splash in the market, but I don’t see that happening. They WILL work on plugging the holes, and they will work on getting the pieces they need.

Don’t be surprised to see them do a lot of restructuring of contracts to try and make a lot of moves, but don’t be surprised if they don’t move too much.

They won’t be very active this year.

Possible restructures:
Deion Branch
Shaun Alexander
Nate Burleson
Tom Ashworth

Possible cuts:
Shaun Alexander
Marcus Tubbs
Jason Babin

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