The Seahawks have lost an outside linebacker/edge rusher, a right guard and a defensive tackle so far in free agency. It makes perfect sense then that the veterans Seattle has been linked to over the last two days align with their newly-created holes.
The latest names include a familiar one. Outside linebacker O’Brien Schofield, a former Seahawk and an unrestricted free agent, told ESPN’s Josina Anderson said Seattle is among the teams that have made “preliminary inquiries” about him. That wording doesn’t suggest that anything is imminent or likely. But Schofield, at the very least, is an intriguing possibility in that he has played strong-side linebacker and rushed off the edge, two roles Seattle must now fill with Bruce Irvin’s departure.
Schofield, who turns 29 in April, started 10 games and played in all 16 last season for Atlanta, recording 30 tackles and a pair of sacks. He made $1.7 million while playing on a one-year deal.
Schofield spent the previous two seasons with the Seahawks, who claimed him off waivers from Arizona during training camp in 2013 after he fell out of favor with the Cardinals’ new coaching staff. He played some strong-side linebacker but was mostly an edge rusher as part of Seattle’s defensive-line rotation during his two seasons with the Seahawks, recording three sacks and 28 tackles in that span. Schofield made two starts in 2013 while Bruce Irvin was serving a four-game suspension.
Defensive end Chris Clemons, another former Seahawk, was reportedly heading to town Wednesday to visit with the Seahawks.
Seattle was linked to another defensive end, Cedric Thornton, but he has signed with Dallas.
Another name that surfaced Thursday is Bradley Sowell, a tackle who has spent the last three seasons with Arizona. ESPN’s Josh Weinfuss reports he’s scheduled to visit with the Seahawks. Sowell, who turns 27 in June, made 12 starts in 2012 but has been a backup the last two years.
Seattle could need to replace starting left tackle Russell Okung, who’s an unrestricted free agent. So is his backup from last season, Alvin Bailey, who was a restricted free agent but became unrestricted when Seattle declined to tender him a qualifying offer by Wednesday’s deadline.
It’s not clear whether the Seahawks are moving on from Bailey or simply want to re-sign him at a lower rate than what they would have had to pay him on a restricted-free-agent tender. And pretty much everything is unclear at this point with Okung’s situation, which is complicated by two factors: he’s coming off shoulder surgery and representing himself in free agency. Okung reportedly has visits lined up with the Giants and Lions.
But either way, neither of the Seahawks’ top two left tackles are under contract at the moment, which explains their reported interest in Sowell.
J.R. Sweezy’s departure means Seattle needs to find a replacement at guard as well. To that end, the team is hosting former Cardinal Ted Larsen, according to Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com.
Larsen, who turns 29 in June, has started 57 games over his six seasons, including 26 over the last two with Arizona. He was teammates with Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson at North Carolina State and he can also play center, where Seattle could be looking for someone to compete with Patrick Lewis and whomever else the team brings in.
One other name that’s been linked to the Seahawks is Cam Thomas, a 335-pound defensive tackle who has been a backup and part-time starter for both San Diego and Pittsburgh over his six seasons. Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reported that the Seahawks were scheduled to host Thomas, 29, on Thursday after losing Brandon Mebane.
Seattle has added veteran defensive tackles on shorter-term deals under general manager John Schneider, first Alan Branch then Tony McDaniel and then Ahtyba Rubin. That track record suggests that the Seahawks would be want to do the same with Thomas and/or whatever other defensive tackles they’re interested in.