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Gauging the Seahawks’ desire to keep David Hawthorne

By Brady Henderson

Coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider have shown in their two seasons with the Seahawks that they’re not afraid to make big moves at linebacker.

Of course, the two most obvious examples amounted to getting rid of expensive contracts at that position — releasing Lofa Tatupu and trading Aaron Curry — as opposed to making a significant investment of their own.

That’s impossible to ignore when trying to gauge the Seahawks’ desire to re-sign free-agent linebacker David Hawthorne.

Heater-statsJohn Clayton told “The Kevin Calabro Show” Wednesday that Hawthorne appears to be “nowhere in contract talks” with the Seahawks. Hawthorne has a visit scheduled with the Saints on Friday. The Lions are believed to be interested as well.

Hawthorne, who was undrafted in 2008, has led the team in tackles in each of the past three seasons. He is versatile, playing both inside and outside. While Hawthorne has a reputation as a strong run defender, he also has seven career interceptions, including one he returned for a touchdown. He will be 27 in May.

The Seahawks, like any team, would presumably like to bring back a player who has produced as much as Hawthorne has and who is still relatively young.

The question is: at what price?

While Carroll and Schneider haven’t shown a willingness to make a major financial investment at linebacker, they have demonstrated an ability to find value in the draft and in free agency, especially on defense.

Safety Kam Chancellor was a fifth-round pick who played in this year’s Pro Bowl as an injury alternate. So did cornerback Brandon Browner, who had been playing in Canada before he signed with the Seahawks. Linebacker K.J. Wright and cornerback Richard Sherman were drafted in the fourth and fifth rounds, respectively, and had strong rookie seasons in 2011 once they became starters.

Instead of paying Hawthorne, perhaps the Seahawks feel they can find a cheaper alternative that wouldn’t result in a dropoff in production.

Hawthorne’s health might be another factor. He missed the season opener due to a sprained knee ligament that appeared to slow him throughout the season.