STACY ROST

Rost: Why the Seahawks have been quiet at start of 2021 free agency

Mar 16, 2021, 8:31 AM | Updated: 12:09 pm

Seahawks Pete Carroll, John Schneider...

The Seahawks' front office is taking its time in free agency, as per usual. (Getty)

(Getty)

The Seahawks are officially the odd ones out when it comes to free agency, but this isn’t new territory for Seattle.

Reports: Seahawks losing Pro Bowl CB Shaquill Griffin to Jacksonville

The Seahawks, Falcons and Eagles were the only teams without notable free agency moves on the NFL Network’s tracker as of Monday evening. But even though the lack of movement was expected from Seattle, it hasn’t kept some Seahawks fans from getting nervous.

Here are the two most common questions I saw from listeners during the first day of the NFL’s legal tampering period, the unofficial start to free agency:

Why aren’t the Seahawks making moves? Should I be concerned about radio silence?

For starters, they don’t have a ton of salary cap room, even following the release of Carlos Dunlap. But mostly, this is general manager John Schneider and head coach Pete Carroll’s M.O. when it comes to free agency. The Seahawks typically spend below league average. And if you’re looking to feel better about that, NFL analytics expert Warren Sharp has information you’re going to like.

Sharp recently examined the free agency spending of Super Bowl teams and found a common trend: teams that spend less in free agency win more games, and teams that spend more lose more often.

There are all sorts of factors at play here, but the reality is teams like Kansas City, Pittsburgh, New England and Seattle haven’t typically entered bidding wars for high-priced, high-profile free agents, and they don’t overspend. In the last two years, the Chiefs have led the pack here. In the last seven years, the Seahawks and Patriots have dominated that area. On the other end of the spectrum are the Jaguars and Jets.

Now, whether you should be concerned…

As frustrating as the wait can be, the Seahawks have typically under-spent and over-performed compared to their peers. Many fans can, very fairly, take solace in that.

On the other hand, it’s perfectly understandable for some fans to feel a sense of urgency this offseason, especially with recent splash signings from both the Patriots and the Chiefs, the latter of whom snatched up coveted guard Joe Thuney on a five-year, $80 million deal. I’d be willing to bet that any one of these fans would say that 10-plus wins and a trip to the playoffs every year is great but not enough, and that free agency can be a way to find those missing pieces.

I don’t know that spending big in free agency can solve those problems, but it’s clear there are issues to be resolved: the Seahawks have won three playoff games since their Super Bowl XLIX loss and have won just one playoff game in the last four years.

Why haven’t the Seahawks tendered starting DT Poona Ford?

Defensive tackle Poona Ford is one of a few restricted free agents for the Seahawks.

First, a quick primer so you know Seattle’s options with Ford: accrued seasons are really the only difference between unrestricted and restricted free agents. Most of the Seahawks you’ll hear about this week – guys like K.J. Wright, Chris Carson, and Shaquill Griffin – are unrestricted free agents. Those players are free to sign anywhere they want starting at 1 p.m. Wednesday.

Technically, negotiations between agents and teams can happen during the legal tampering period, which began Monday (that’s why you’ve been hearing about players agreeing to terms on new deals). Their most recent team only has two options if they want to retain the player: re-sign him to a new deal or use the franchise tag. There’s also the transition tag, though that’s less common.

Restricted free agents are players who have three accrued seasons but also an expiring contract. In this case, a restricted free agent like Ford can negotiate with other teams, but the Seahawks have the option to make one of three qualifying offers (called “tenders”): a first-round tender, a second-round tender, or an original round tender. These are all one-year contracts with fixed amounts. So, let’s say the Seahawks place a second-round tender on Ford (one-year, $3.3 million). Now, Ford can still negotiate with other teams, but the Seahawks have the right to match any offer he gets. If they don’t, the team Ford signs with must send Seattle a second-round pick.

The Seahawks have until Wednesday to apply the tender. If they don’t, Ford becomes an unrestricted free agent. With the lack of depth on Seattle’s interior defensive line, I would be surprised if the Seahawks declined to tender Ford.

TL;DR: I would expect them to tender Ford and they have until Wednesday at 1 p.m. to do it.

Follow Stacy Rost on Twitter.

Seahawks Free Agency: Carlos Hyde leaving, OL names off the board

Stacy Rost

Seattle Mariners Luke Raley...

Stacy Rost

Rost on Mariners: What we’ve learned a quarter through the season

Just over a quarter of the way into 2024, the Seattle Mariners are 24-20. What have we learned? Stacy Rost breaks down a few things.

2 days ago

Seattle Mariners Bryce Miller Braves 2024...

Stacy Rost

Rost: Mariners can’t waste World Series-caliber pitching

The Seattle Mariners have the best pitching staff in baseball. The pressure is on their struggling offense not to waste it.

10 days ago

Seattle Seahawks Jaxon Smith-Njigba...

Stacy Rost

Rost: 3 things about the Seahawks that stand out after their draft

Stacy Rost breaks down a few things of interest we learned from two insiders and a college coach about the Seattle Seahawks after the 2024 NFL Draft.

16 days ago

Seattle Seahawks Riq Woolen Devon Witherspoon...

Stacy Rost

Rost: Seahawks’ future still relies heavily on previous draft classes

You know what makes a draft class especially impressive? When its high grade sticks around, which is what the Seattle Seahawks need from previous classes.

20 days ago

Seattle Seahawks draft pick Byron Murphy II...

Stacy Rost

Seattle Seahawks did what they needed in draft — just with a twist

Seattle Sports' Stacy Rost takes a look at what the Seattle Seahawks did in the NFL Draft, plus two other interesting moves.

22 days ago

Seattle Seahawks draft Troy Fautanu UW Huskies...

Stacy Rost

Rost: The Seahawks’ smart pick, fun pick and wild card at No. 16

With less than a week until the Seattle Seahawks are on the clock in the NFL Draft at No. 16 overall, Stacy Rost looks at three directions they could go.

30 days ago

Rost: Why the Seahawks have been quiet at start of 2021 free agency