The Seahawks made official the trade they struck last week: Michael Bennett to Philadelphia.
They hosted free agents Austin Seferian-Jenkins, the former University of Washington star tight end from Gig Harbor High School and Fox Island, plus running back Demarco Murray. Former Green Bay Packers Jordy Nelson, the favorite target of Aaron Rodgers until the Packers released him Tuesday to make salary-cap room to sign former Seahawk tight end Jimmy Graham, was meeting with Oakland on his way to visiting the Seahawks. So is former Carolina Panthers and Oregon tight end Ed Dickson and 49ers and Packers defensive tackle Quinton Dial.
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Seattle tendered a 2018 contract offer to restricted free agent Dion Jordan, as expected given their dearth of pass rushers. Then they got veteran outside linebacker Barkevious Mingo. NFL Network reported the sixth-overall pick in the 2013 draft gets an incentive-laden deal for two years and potentially up to $10.1 million.
Days after waiving him in the hopes he’d return at a different cost, DeShawn Shead showed again that money talks in this business, especially at the opening of free agency. The career Seahawk up to now signed with the Detroit Lions.
Shead becomes the seventh former Seahawks starter to leave in the last week, since Bennett’s trade got finalized last Wednesday. He reportedly is getting one year and $3.5 million, with a chance through incentives to earn $6.5 million this year. Seattle waived him last week after a technicality would have kept him from free agency, and the team indicated it wanted Shead to be a free agent as planned. That worked out for Shead, who earned $1.05 million last year while hurt for all but two games. It didn’t work out for the Seahawks.
And the Seahawks failed to re-sign 2017 starting defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson and cornerback Byron Maxwell plus chose not to re-sign guards Luke Joeckel and Oday Aboushi, tight end Luke Willson, running backs Thomas Rawls and Mike Davis and kicker Blair Walsh--of course--among others. All became free agents available to sign with anyone as of 1 p.m. Wednesday, the start of the new league year.
But as of mid-afternoon Wednesday, after the opening of the free-agent market, still no signings to stem the exodus of six former starters in the last week.
Coach Pete Carroll’s and general manager John Schneider’s history of waiting through the first wave of splashy, expensive free-agent signings was holding true.
The NFL’s official list of free agents for the start of the league year showed a first-round designation under the tender offer to Jordan. The 28-year-old former Oregon star pass rusher was Miami’s third-overall draft choice in 2013. So the Seahawks got a break in being able to give him an original-round tender, the lowest level at the lowest cost of $1.907 million, with a first-round designation because that was in fact his original round. Any team that may want to make Jordan a contract offer would have to give the Seahawks a first-round draft pick as compensation for signing him if Seattle decided not to match. The Seahawks get the bigger bang for a lower buck there with Jordan.
Keeping Jordan via a tender was almost assured, given how Carroll loves to stockpile pass rushers and how end Frank Clark is one of the only other proven ones on the roster right now.
The league also made official the already reported second-round tender offer to nickel defensive back Justin Coleman. So the revelation in 2017 will almost assuredly stay, at a salary of $2.914 million in 2018. He’s great with that; it will be almost 500-percent pay raise for him over last season.
Seferian-Jenkins made the Seahawks his first free-agent visit--because it’s his first choice. Wednesday was the first day NFL free agents with expired contracts could visit teams. He wants to stay home, to continue his new life in his year-plus of sobriety. He wants to go back to college to finish his degree--he tells me he’s 54 credits short from graduating. The 25-year-old tight end from UW has worked out this week with Seahawks linebackers Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright while home visiting friends and family in the Seattle area and in and around Gig Harbor.
The New York Jets on Tuesday increased their previous offer to him of two years and $8 million, to try to re-sign him after his season of resurgence with them in 2017. He is also weighing interest from the Jacksonville Jaguars, and has a free-agent visit scheduled with them on Thursday.
If the Seahawks can make an offer that is close to the Jets’ or anyone else’s, the 6-foot-5 Seferian-Jenkins could be Graham’s replacement as Seattle’s big tight-end target for Russell Wilson.