By Michael Grey
Five thoughts on the week that was in Seattle sports and beyond:
They did it again
The news that defensive lineman Michael Bennett had signed with the Seahawks for four years and $28.5 million with $16 million guaranteed broke before the official start to free agency. At the time it looked like a decent signing for Bennett – who made just under $5 million last season – and the team. However, with the start of free agency and the details of Bennett’s contract now known it’s easy to call this signing a great deal for the Seahawks. Former Bengals defensive end Michael Johnson received over $40 million for five years from Tampa Bay with $24 million guaranteed. Everson Griffen re-upped with the Vikings and put them on the hook for five years, $42.5 million with $20 million guaranteed. Not only is the Bennett deal for less money and a shorter term but the bulk of the guarantees come in the first two years of the contract, which successfully gets those payments out of the way before a couple of guys named Russell and Richard will be looking for a Brink’s truck full of money in their driveways. So, once again, general manager John Schneider and coach Pete Carroll get their player, on their terms and set the team up in a rock solid spot for future moves. If you didn’t know better you would swear these guys have a plan.
Double check your discount
Heard from more fans than I would have imagined that were upset at the notion that Golden Tate left Seattle for a contract with the Lions this week. Over and over again I saw tweets and texts saying things like “he lied to us” or “obviously, it’s all about the money for Golden” and a number that I cannot re-print. First of all, Tate never said that he would sign in Seattle for any money; he said he’d sign for a little less to stay here. “A little less” is the operative term here. It’s not all about the money, but I assume that everyone knows that it’s mostly about the money. It’s called free agency but the “free” part is in the name. We’ll never know the exact difference in what Seattle offered compared to what Tate got, but it’s a fair bet that it was substantial, millions of dollars. How many of us could look an offer that was 10 times their annual take and walk away? At the end of the day, Golden Tate was the leading receiver for the Seahawks during the first Super Bowl run in their history and that’s the way I will remember the guy. The business of the NFL is a cold, unrelenting machine but rings are forever and Tate’s got one. I, for one, wish him nothing but the best.
You’re being very un-Dude, Dude
Along the lines of the discontent with Tate’s contract in Detroit goes the notion this week that the Seahawks are losing irreplaceable players to other poaching teams. Fan favorites like Tate, Red Bryant and Breno Giacomini and others are taking deals with other teams while the Seahawks have been relatively quiet, and some fans are sounding the alarm. To this I can only say calm down, Dude (and please go watch “The Big Lebowski” if these Dude references are getting by you … it’s awesome). Carroll’s “Always Compete” mantra relies on a constant influx of talent, which means other parts get rotated out of town. Is Tate the Seahawks’ leading receiver with Percy Harvin on the field? Did Seattle lose Giacomini or make room for Alvin Bailey and/or Michael Bowie at right tackle? Is Bryant leaving behind a hole in the defensive line or creating a chance to evolve on defense with a different personnel grouping involving Bennett, Cliff Avril and Greg Scruggs? Fact is that every NFL fan cheers for laundry at some level. The salary-cap and free-agent rules mandate roster turnover and players leaving town. It’s natural to be more attached to the guys that helped bring a title home, but Carroll and Schneider have proven to have a plan in place that includes allowing these players to leave. No reason to worry in March about a roster that will continue to grow and change through August.
You can’t spell Robinson without D. Wait, what?
When you talk about Robinson Cano I’d be willing to bet you’re either talking about the sticker shock of a quarter-billion-dollar deal or his .300-plus career batting average. Well, watch him in spring training this year and you’ll see that the way the guy flashes the glove at second base is unlike any talent the Mariners have had in the infield in years. There are going to be lots of SportsCenter moments provided by No. 22 out there turning 4-6-3 double plays and gunning guys down on grounders that look destined for right field. The new Mariners ad (which are all great again this season) has him moving in slow motion everywhere he goes, but Mariners fans are in for a treat when this guy is going full speed on the diamond.
Welcome back, Mike
“There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered.” – Nelson Mandela
As you may have heard, 710 ESPN Seattle is welcoming back a familiar face in a new role with the return of Mike Salk as the station’s program director. I’ve never met Mike but when I accepted the job here in Seattle he was the first person to contact me with congratulations and to offer any help he could. Not sure how many yardsticks you can use to measure a person’s worth, but that one stuck out to me then and still does today. The outpouring of support from listeners and the excitement here in the building speak volumes about the esteem in which he’s held as well. I’m looking forward to finding out what kind of noise we can make with Mike back here, where he belongs.