The Seahawks haven’t chosen to add a fifth-year to Bruce Irvin’s rookie contract, but that doesn’t mean the former first-round pick won’t be back for a fourth season.
If you’re struggling to reconcile those two facts, welcome to the silly season that is the NFL this time of year, when there’s so much smoke that you can’t even make out all the mirrors.
How else do you explain Wednesday’s whirlwind involving Irvin. First, Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reported it was unlikely the Seahawks would exercise Irvin’s fifth-year option. A bit later, ProFootballTalk.com reported that there was “chatter” about a possible trade of Irvin to Atlanta, where he would conceivably be reunited with Dan Quinn, the Falcons head coach and Seattle’s former defensive coordinator.
Start with the option. Seattle has until Sunday to exercise its right to add a fifth-year to Irvin’s rookie contract at a price of $7.8 million. The Seahawks have provided no indication they intend to exercise that option, but they also haven’t announced that they won’t. For now, it would seem unlikely Seattle adds a fifth season given the price tag.
Trading Irvin, however, is not something Seattle is planning to do or has actively pursued. In other words, any “chatter” about a potential trade is occurring somewhere other than Seattle’s front office.
The team is planning on having Irvin back at strong-side linebacker, where he has established himself as a strong starter.
His contract calls for him to make $1.7 million in what is the final season of a four-year rookie contract. Irvin, 27, was a first-round pick, which gives Seattle the option of adding a fifth year, though the cost of that option may turn out to be prohibitively high.
Irvin has 16.5 sacks in those three seasons, tied with Quinton Coples, the defensive end chosen by the Jets the pick after Seattle took Irvin. The Jets have already indicated that Coples’ fifth-year option will be exercised.
Mentioning Atlanta as a potential destination for Irvin does have a certain logic to it. First, an edge pass rusher is said to be the team’s top priority in the draft, where it holds the No. 8 overall selection. Second, Atlanta is now coached by Quinn, who coach Irvin in Seattle the past two years. Finally, Irvin is from Georgia.
That doesn’t mean he’s headed back there, though. At least not this offseason as all signs are that Seattle plans to keep him.