TNT’s Gregg Bell on what shocked Pete Carroll about the Seahawks’ 2019 draft that had SO many moves
The Seahawks did not have the signing that seemingly everyone is waiting for.
The NFL official transactions for Wednesday, the first full day of what general manager John Schneider has called a third phase of free agency, showed no signings for Seattle.
It did show the Seahawks let defensive end Dion Jordan become an unrestricted free agency without giving him a tender offer by May 7. That means any signing of the oft-injured Jordan would count against a team’s formula for compensatory draft choices in 2020.
The same is true for Ziggy Ansah.
The Detroit Lions set free their former franchise-tag player and Pro Bowl edge pass rusher, also without a May 7 tender.
Ansah made a free agent visit to Seattle last month. He made one to Buffalo in March, at the start of the league’s free agency period for this year. The Seahawks and Bills are the primary candidates to sign Ansah, who turns 30 this month.
The Seahawks traded their top pass rusher Frank Clark to Kansas City last month for first- and second-round draft picks, because Clark was asking for more than $20 million per year. That was about $4 million per year more than Seattle was willing to pay the 25-year-old who had a career-high 14 sacks in 17 games last season.
Two weeks ago the Seahawks did not draft a speed edge rusher to replace Clark and Jordan. First-round pick L.J. Collier is a pass rusher. But coach Pete Carroll and just about everyone else with the Seahawks have termed the defensive end from TCU as “heavy handed.” That and Carroll’s comparing Collier’s game to that of former Seahawks Pro Bowl sack man Michael Bennett show Collier is more of a power pass rusher insider.
That leaves the faster, off-the-edge Ansah as Seattle’s top priority to sign.
Carroll all but said Ansah’s name when asked after the draft about addressing his team’s pass-rush need that remained.
“We’re very involved in what is coming up next,” the coach said of post-May 7 free agency. “We’re not done. We have work to do. We’re excited about what’s coming up, and you guys will see, in time.”
That time is now.
Ansah had 48 sacks in 80 games with Detroit, including 12 sacks two years ago. He’s the most attractive free agent pass rusher still available, two months after the market opened.
Why is he available? The Lions gave him the franchise tag in 2018 and paid him $17.1 million dollars. Then he had shoulder injuries and just four sacks while playing only seven games last season. Getting older and more injured is the way to be set free in the NFL.
Some around the league believe Ansah won’t be able to return to the field until mid-August, which would be after preseason games begin.
Ansah could come relatively cheaply for his level of accomplishment in the NFL, on a short-term, prove-it contract of perhaps $5 million or so in base pay with maybe double that in incentive clauses for this year.
He may not be the only veteran pass rusher Seattle adds this month.
The Seahawks have $25.1 million in space under their salary cap for this year, according to overthecap.com. The $17 million they saved by trading Clark instead of giving him their franchise tag for 2019 has given Seattle the opportunity to buy more than one edge rusher on short-term deals.
The Seahawks hosted Shane Ray, the Denver Broncos’ former first-round pick. He’s also an unrestricted free agent, after Denver declined to pick up its fifth-year contract option on him for 2019. He’s had three wrist surgeries and missed much of last year avoiding a fourth and rehabilitating the wrist instead.
Nick Perry, 29, is an available rush linebacker. He had 18 sacks in a 26-game span for Green Bay from 2016 to ‘17. Perry has played in only 11 games the last two seasons. A wrist injury and surgery ended his 2018 season in early November. Rather than have him cost more than $14 million against their salary cap this year the Packers released their first-round pick from 2012.