Looking ahead with Brock and Danny on 710ESPN Seattle, John Clayton recently speculated on the future of Seahawk receiver Golden Tate, who is playing on the last year of his rookie contract. Clayton notes roughly $10 million going to Percy Harvin and another $8.5 million allotted Sidney Rice, and questions how much more can be tied up in expensive receivers. That’s particularly an issue on a team that last season passed the ball less frequently than any other team in the NFL – 405 times against a league-wide average of 556.
Tate (45 catches) was second to Rice (50) in receptions, with both having seven TD catches. Neither was targeted as a top receiver might expect. Rice’s 80 targets were 73rd in the league, while Tate’s 68 targets were 94th. Santana Moss was the only player in the league with more TDs on fewer targets than Tate. A number of times during the 2012 season Tate would make game-breaking plays and we’d look at the stats sheet and note he’d only touched the ball a few times. The Green Bay game-winner was most notable, but he added the key late TD on a catch and run in Chicago, threw the TD pass to Rice in the Jets game, and had 105 yards on just three catches against the Rams in December.
It was his most productive season as it appeared his comfort with the scheme and his maturity of play was catching up with his special play-making ability. As Brock Huard points out in the video clip we linked, perhaps it’s Rice who could be more vulnerable to eventual pruning, given his salary. It’s a fair question whether Tate’s size and skill-set makes him redundant to Harvin, whereas Rice, at 6-4, offers a different kind of threat.
All have looked good in the OTAs and minicamp, but a real standout at the position, in my opinion, was Doug Baldwin. And at times, rookie receiver Chris Harper was impressive, and, at 234 pounds, offers another unique option. So, a bigger question is how the relatively few passes will be apportioned to keep these guys happy. It’s a good situation for coach Pete Carroll, whose goal to foment competition at every position is certainly in effect at wide receiver.
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From earlier this week, NFL.com polled a panel to rate the league’s best defenses, with Seattle and Houston coming out ahead of the pack. The Hawks were No. 1 in scoring defense and No. 4 in total defense last season – rankings that were the best in team history. Former front-office exec Charley Casserly explained his pick of Seattle. If Avril and Bennett are healthy and Irvin returns form suspension, “ultimately Seattle will field and excellent outside pass rush” to go with their stellar secondary. He thinks additions such as Jesse Williams and Antoine Winfield will only add depth at positions that are already strong. He calls Chancellor and Thomas the best safety tandem in the league.
Seahawks.com has an interesting off-news video feature on some of the players at a job-shadow program at Microsoft. It’s the idea of Mo Kelly, director of player development, who serves as something of a big brother for the team. It’s interesting to see former Hawk receiver Ben Obomanu taking part. He already has his MBA in finance after having been an honors student at Auburn. Jets new GM John Idzik signed Obomanu after he was released by the Hawks this spring. Unfortunately for Obomanu, he’s been assigned No. 15, the jersey of departed Tim Tebow.