JOHN CLAYTON

Clayton: What we learned about the Seahawks at the owners’ meeting

Mar 31, 2017, 9:28 AM | Updated: 9:33 am
Seattle rated safety Bradley McDougald as one of the top free agents this year, according to John C...
Seattle rated safety Bradley McDougald as one of the top free agents this year, according to John Clayton. (AP)
(AP)

PHOENIX – NFL commissioner Roger Goodell wanted to improve the pace of the game, but he found a way to have an owners’ meeting at a lightning-fast pace.

Three hours before opening the meeting, 31 owners approved the Raiders’ future move from Oakland to Las Vegas. Goodell zipped the owners through rule changes and business dealings and concluded the meetings in two days. That rarely happens.

As for the Seahawks, even though coach Pete Carroll didn’t get approval on his bid to make all plays reviewable, he and general manager John Schneider had a chance to reflect on the first month of free agency, a month in which the Seahawks signed six unrestricted free agents for $17 million.

Here are 10 things we learned about the Seahawks during the meetings:

1. Sherman likely staying put. Even though the relationship between Richard Sherman and the front office is strained, don’t expect a trade. Sure, Carroll and Schneider said they’ve heard from teams that checked in to see if he’s available in a trade. Schneider said the team involves itself in a lot of discussion for players. But the Seahawks need to rebuild their cornerback position. Trading Sherman would hurt the team more than help it.

2. They aren’t done signing veterans to one-year deals. The Seahawks are looking for a veteran backup quarterback, a veteran offensive lineman to help mentor the young players there, a pass-rusher, a defensive tackle and maybe a wide receiver. Except for linebacker Michael Wilhoite, who is 30, the Seahawks have been trying to sign players at the ages of 26 or 27 and give them a chance to compete in what is the prime of their careers.

3. Special teams is a big part of the signing spree. Wilhoite will compete for the starting strong-side linebacker job, but at the very least he will a core-group special-teams player. Linebacker Terence Garvin will factor heavily there as well. Blair Walsh has one of the strongest legs in football. Safety Bradley McDougald could also help out on special teams.

4. The left side of the line is taking shape. Here’s how it’s being planned: George Fant is the starting left tackle. Mark Glowinski is the starting left guard, but don’t be surprised if he ends up at right guard. Free-agent signee Luke Joeckel and 2016 third-round pick Rees Odhiambo will be given the chance to complete for playing time on the left side of the line.

5. Here’s how the right side looks: All signs point to Germain Ifedi moving from right guard to right tackle. That would relegate Garry Gilliam to a backup role or have him fighting for a roster spot. Glowinski could end up at right guard. He will be backed up by Oday Aboushi, a hard-nosed blocker with starting experience who was signed in free agency.

6. McDougald is considered a steal. Whether they were right or wrong, the Seahawks rated McDougald as one of the best players in free agency. It wouldn’t have surprised them if he got a contract worth between $6 million and $8 million a year. The Seahawks signed him to a one-year deal for $1.8 million. He upgraded their roster as the third safety.

7. Don’t be surprised if Seattle uses more three-safety packages. Last year, the Seahawks brought back Brandon Browner and had the thoughts of using him as a linebacker in their nickel defense. More and more teams are doing that, taking a safety and using him instead of a third linebacker. McDougald gives them that option.

8. Boykin will have competition for the backup job. Last year, the Seahawks felt they found Russell Wilson’s backup for at least four years. But Trevone Boykin’s recent arrest, which the Seahawks are investigating, broke their trust, so they’ll bring in someone to compete against him. Stay tuned for the names.

9. Don’t expect it to be Colin Kaepernick. Even though it’s unlikely the Seahawks will do anything to sign Kaepernick, there is a respect factor coming from the Seahawks’ players and coaches. The players respected how he opened a political dialogue with his position of not standing for the national anthem last season. The coaches feel sorry that he doesn’t have much of market. It’s not out of the question for the Seahawks to have Kaepernick in for a visit, but they know he will have a price tag the team can’t afford. Kaepernick still sees himself as a starter.

10. Why the one-year deals? Because the 2017 Seahawks free agency class isn’t going to return much in  compensatory picks in 2018, the Seahawks used the team’s reputation for being a fun place to work in order to recruit players willing to sign one-year deals. The one-year deals give them cap flexibility. It could also lead to four compensatory picks – the maximum – in 2019 if they lose players in the next free-agency class.

Want more John Clayton? Listen on-demand to his weekday and Saturday shows as well as his “Cold Hard Facts” and “Clayton’s Morning Drive” segments on 710 ESPN Seattle. Also, check out his all-new “Schooled” podcast and look for his columns twice a week on 710Sports.com.

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