The Seahawks are expected to announce today after the 1 p.m. start to free agency they have signed former Baltimore Ravens Super Bowl cornerback and most recently Philadelphia Eagle Cary Williams to a three-year contract worth $18 million. Williams gains an inside track to replace Byron Maxwell as starter in Seattle opposite All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman.
The Eagles are expected to announce later today Maxwell's new contract with the Eagles, which reportedly includes $25 million guaranteed.
And it appears the Seahawks will be paying Blackmon and Cary Williams combined less than Eagles will pay Byron Maxwell this year -- and that's if the 30-year-old Blackmon makes the regular-season roster.
His deal is one year for a non-guaranteed $870,000. Williams' three year deal reportedly has a $3.5 million signing bonus and $3.5M in guaranteed base salary for 2015 for a cap hit of $4,666,666 for this year.
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That's $5.3 million combined against Seattle's cap this year.
Here's what Seattle-based Sports Illustrated analyst Doug Farrar has to say about Cary Williams:
"According to Pro Football Focus's metrics, Williams gave up 56 catches on 99 targets in 2014, for 757 yards, five touchdowns and two interceptions. At 6'1" and 185 pounds, he's a big, physical defender who can run well and trail receivers upfield. The issues that have kept him from becoming a top-level cornerback? Williams struggles to maintain traction with receivers who run angular routes in short spaces—he doesn't have exceptionally quick feet, and it takes a little too much time for him to readjust when a receiver fakes him out. He was also asked to play a lot of off-coverage in Philly, and that's not his strength—Williams is at his best when he's playing press coverage on a receiver from the snap so he can stay close and react as quickly as possible.
"Williams can also be faked right out of his boots at times, as new teammate Paul Richardson showed when he had Williams falling off the map with a little jab foot-fake on this play during Philadelphia's Week 14 loss to the Seahawks."
Multiple reports have the Jets signing starting left guard James Carpenter away from Seattle. According to numbers from Rand Getlin of Yahoo! Sports, Carpenter will be getting from New York per year more than three times the $1.4 million he earned last season in the final year of his contract as Seattle's first-round draft choice in 2011.
So now the Seahawks need a starting guard, too.
Seattle has about $21 million or so to spend under the 2015 salary cap – the NFL Players' Association says $21 million, other sources say up to $24 million. That's not counting whatever they decide to do about the contracts of Russell Wilson and Bobby Wagner that expire after this year. With Will Blackmon and now Cary Williams arriving, I see tight end and guard as the next two positions of highest need for the Seahawks.
Then? Either in free agency or in next month's draft, Seattle needs a defensive tackle or three.
They tried to defend their lead in the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl last month while playing defensive tackles Demarcus Dobbs, who’d been waived in November by the 49ers, and Landon Cohen, who weeks earlier had been parking cars for the valet company he owns in South Carolina.
Seattle has run stuffer Brandon Mebane coming off a torn hamstring from November; Schneider said last month he expects Mebane to be healthy enough for training camp. But he turned 30 in January. He is currently scheduled to cost $5.7 million against Seattle’s 2015 salary cap, and his five-year contract ends after this coming season.
Mebane may be asked to restructure his contract. And the Seahawks may still be shopping for a defensive tackle.
Ndamukong Suh is going to sign a new contract reportedly worth a mind-boggling $60 million guaranteed and $114 million overall with Miami to headline the start of free agency. So now Terrance Knighton, Denver’s brick-wall, is getting the most free-agent attention at this position. But he turns 30 this summer. His familiarity with new Raiders coach Jack Del Rio, the Broncos’ former defensive coordinator, along with the Colts’, Redskins’ and Bears’ known interest make the market likely pricey for him.
Nick Fairley would come more cheaply, from Detroit. He is only 26.
POTENTIAL FREE-AGENT TARGETS
- Julius Thomas, TE, Denver: 12 TDs last season. But Jacksonville really wants and apparently has gotten him.
- Jordan Cameron, TE, Cleveland: Standout receiver and blocker. Has fit with Pete Carroll before – six years ago at USC.
- Clint Boling, G, Cincinnati: Career starter could come “relatively” cheaply.
- Tramon Williams, CB, Green Bay: I'm not convinced Schneider is done bringing in potential replacements for Maxwell. SEA’s GM helped bring him to Packers in 2006.
- Brandon Browner, CB, New England: Original “Legion of Boom” member may become free agent if Pats decline contract option.
- Terrance Knighton, DT, Denver: Brick wall may be too pricey.
- Nick Fairley, DT: Huge in middle. Smaller dent in pocket book because of knock on motivation.
- Andre Johnson, WR, Houston: Sure, he’s the big, physical and accomplished receiver the Seahawks need. But do they need a 33-year old there?
- Bryon Maxwell, CB: $50 million? $25M guaranteed? Eagles can have him at that crazy price.
- James Carpenter, G: Jets reportedly giving him around $4.5 million per season for four years.
- Zach Miller, TE: Starter’s contract terminated Friday after failed physical.
- Jesse Williams, DT: Aussie backup waived after missing all of last season on IR.
- Garrett Scott, T: Deep backup waived Friday.