JOHN CLAYTON

Clayton: Seahawks showing why patience is key for winning teams in free agency

Mar 22, 2021, 3:43 PM | Updated: 4:05 pm
Seahawks RB Chris Carson...
The Seahawks reportedly signed RB Chris Carson back to a team-friendly deal. (Getty)
(Getty)

Once again, Seahawks general manager John Schneider showed why winning teams need to be patient in free agency.

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Fans wanted Schneider to go for All-Pro center Corey Linsley. They wanted him to go for running back Aaron Jones if he hit free agency. They wanted him to trade for center Marcus Hudson. They wanted him to for tight end Hunter Henry or Jonna Smith.

Linsley, Henry and Smith all signed for $12.5 million. Jones got $12 million a year to be traded to the Arizona Cardinals. That cost a third-round choice – a third-round choice the Seahawks didn’t have.

By waiting, the Seahawks were able to re-sign running back Chris Carson on a two-year deal at $10.4 million. Center Ethan Pocic returned on a one-year deal at $3 million. Schneider also grabbed the third-best tight end on the market. Gerald Everett signed a one-year deal believe to be around $6 million. They traded a fifth-round pick for an $11 million guard in Gabe Jackson.

When you come to the end of the first two weeks of free agency, prices drop. Carson probably wanted $8 million to $10 million a year. He signed for less than fellow running back Kenyan Drake, who signed a two-year, $11 million deal with the Las Vegas Raiders.

The market for all players has dropped dramatically. The Dallas Cowboys waited out the market and were able to get Atlanta Falcons safety Keanu Neal on a one-year deal at $4 million. Former Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, the Falcons former head coach, plans to use Neal at weakside linebacker. That signing interesting for the Seahawks because that means the Cowboys won’t be going for K.J. Wright.

The market is edging down to the $3-$4 million range for players at the start of this week. This could work out well for the Seahawks to get defensive end Carlos Dunlap and cornerback Quinton Dunbar back at good prices. You figure Dunlap was looking for $10 million a year, but he didn’t get it. In unrestricted free agency, there have been only 15 players who ended up getting $10 million or more. Defensive end J.J. Watt and cornerback Adoree’ Jackson are the only released players who got more than $10 million annually on their new deals.

The Seahawks are going to have to reconstruct some contracts to fit in all the season and future additions. The Seahawks are down to three draft choices with one pick each in the second round, fourth round and seventh round.

It’s the time for the Seahawks to start working on the defense, but they should have the flexibility to add to the talent back.

Schneider took care of many of Russell Wilson’s concerns with the additions along the offensive line. The big advantage is that four of the five starters are back. He has a potential 1,000-yard back with return of Carson. For $11.2 million a year, the Seahawks got the second-best running back in free agency and the third best tight end.

Patience is important in free agency.

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