The Seahawks have made running back Christine Michael, injured wide receiver Ricardo Lockette, offensive lineman Alvin Bailey and fullback Derrick Coleman unrestricted free agents free to sign with any team.
The NFL announced Wednesday just after the 2016 league year began at 1 p.m. its list of free agents. The league confirmed Seattle extended a qualifying offer to restricted free agent Patrick Lewis, the team’s starting center over the last half of last season.
The decision to not extend the same to Michael, who returned to the team late last season when Marshawn Lynch and Thomas Rawls were both out injured and made his first two NFL starts, means the Seahawks didn’t want to bring him back at their former second-round pick’s qualifying offer price. That was $1.67 million.
Seattle could still re-sign Michael and the rest, but at a cost that would be below that $1.67 million. General manager John Schneider and coach Pete Carroll made it clear during last month’s NFL combine the Seahawks would be bringing in new running backs to compete for the job behind Rawls for the retiring Lynch’s starting job. Rawls continues to recover from a broken ankle and torn ligaments; the team expects him back for the start of the 2016 season.
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Lockette had neck surgery and wore a brace for months after a scary hit in the open field on a punt during a November game at Dallas left him feeling lucky to be alive. His primary mission is to recover and life a healthy life again. Football, for now, is a secondary matter for him.
The Seahawks gave Lewis the same qualifying offer they did not extend to Michael: one year at $1.67 million. If another team should happen to offer him more, the Seahawks have the right of first refusal and compensation if he would leave, though the team expects him back. Players and coaches credited Lewis entering the starting lineup in the middle of last season for U-turning an offensive line that had allowed 31 sacks in Seattle’s first seven games of 2015.
The King County prosecutor’s office is deciding on two felony charges recommended by Bellevue police against Coleman after his October arrest following a two-car crash in suburban Bellevue. A police report said he admitted to smoking synthetic marijuana about a half hour before the crash.