By Brady Henderson
Saturday’s edition of “The John Clayton Show” included a conversation with Seahawks general manager John Schneider, who had just wrapped up a busy week that featured three significant additions to the roster.
The audio can be found here. Below are some notes.
Disciplined approach to free agency. A trade for Percy Harvin and the signings of Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett made the Seahawks one of the busiest teams during the first week of free agency. That wasn’t necessarily by design. Schneider said the team didn’t enter free agency intending to make a big splash but did so once deals unexpectedly fell their way.
A trade for wide receiver Percy Harvin kicked off a big week for general manager John Schneider and the Seahawks. (AP)
The market for pass rushers wasn’t as strong as many anticipated. That’s why the Seahawks were able to add Avril and Bennett on deals that seem like bargains for what were considered two of the top available pass rushers. Bennett signed a one-year deal reportedly worth $5 million. The two-year total for Avril’s deal is actually $13 million, even less than initially reported.
“The way we try to do business here is to just stay involved with as many deals as we can and be on the periphery of things, and if it falls our way we’ll pursue it; if it doesn’t we’ll just walk away,” Schneider told Clayton.
Harvin’s ‘street credibility’. While the deals for Avril and Bennett are relatively modest, the contract Harvin signed makes him the team’s highest paid player in terms of average annual salary. Bringing in a player on such a large deal carries the risk of upsetting others in the locker room who are still waiting to be rewarded. Schneider isn’t concerned about that being an issue with Harvin.
“With Percy’s street credibility, if you will, with the players, I think that’s a huge deal. I think they all recognize the type of player he is,” Schneider said. “So he’s unique in his own manner.”
The plan for Avril. Avril played linebacker in college and dropped into coverage at times during his five seasons with the Lions. Schneider and coach Pete Carroll each mentioned that versatility during a conference call with local media last week.
We still don’t know the exact role the Seahawks envision for Avril, but Schneider told Clayton that he can play the “leo” defensive end as well as strongside linebacker. At 6-foot-3 and 260 pounds, Avril has a similar physical profile as Clemons, who has played “leo” the past three seasons. Clemons is recovering from an ACL tear he sustained in the playoffs. K.J. Wright has manned the strong-side linebacker spot capably the past two seasons, so playing Avril there would require some shuffling. Starting weakside linebacker Leroy Hill is an unrestricted free agent.
What’s next. Schneider said the next order of business is taking care of some of the team’s own players. He didn’t mention anyone specifically, but said there’s “a couple” players whose contracts the team would like to extend.
Defensive tackle Alan Branch and kicker Steven Hauschka are two of the team’s remaining unrestricted free agents. Defensive backs Kam Chancellor and Brandon Browner are both entering the final year of their contract, as are wide receivers Doug Baldwin and Golden Tate. Safety Earl Thomas and left tackle Russell Okung each have at least two years remaining on their rookie contracts but are both eligible for new deals.
“There’s a plan in place here, and there’s several different phases to free agency, so we’ll see how that goes,” Schneider said. “But in the meantime, we’d really like to just kind of focus on our own guys, our younger players that we’ve drafted.”