Clayton: What we learned from Carroll, Schneider at NFL owners meetings

Mar 27, 2018, 11:46 AM
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The Seahawks have just four picks in this year's NFL draft. (AP)

ORLANDO, Fla. – Pete Carroll and John Schneider met with the press during the NFL owners meetings in Orlando, Fla., and provided plenty of insight on what has been a rather different free agency period.

Just like there were more assistant coaching changes than expected, the Seahawks have been more active in unrestricted free agency than expected.

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Last year, they signed seven unrestricted free agents and realized there would be no consequences as far as compensatory picks. The Seahawks didn’t have many unrestricted free agents in 2017 that were going to draw big money from other teams. Carroll and Schneider both said that they wanted to make this year’s team as good as possible, even though they have undergone so many changes in the core group of the team.

Here are some of things we learned Tuesday.

Being this aggressive in free agency came with a price. Sure, the Seahawks didn’t sign a player from another team that cost them more than $3.6 million a year, but they probably won’t get some of the compensatory picks they would be eligible for in 2019. Jimmy Graham left for Green Bay and made $10 million, offering them a borderline of either the third or fourth round. Paul Richardson and Sheldon Richardson signed $8 million per year contracts, which should net two fourth-rounders. But because the Seahawks have signed more UFAs (six) than they’ve lost, they might not get a compensatory pick. Compensatory picks are awarded when there is a net loss of UFAs, not when there is a net gain.

• Carroll said he was excited about the signings of Ed Dickson and D.J. Fluker to help the running game. Fluker is a powerful run blocker who fits new offensive line coach Mike Solari’s style of blocking. Carroll called Dickson the best blocking tight end available in free agency, but he also has the ability to catch the ball downfield.

• As for the running game, Carroll said he likes the depth. That’s with Chris Carson, Mike Davis and C.J. Prosise all healthy. Carson has recovered from his broken ankle and is projected as a starter. Davis did some good things down the stretch and was re-signed to a one-year, $1.35 million contract.

• Wide receiver Jaron Brown offers size and speed to the passing offense. Other than Tanner McEvoy and Amara Darboh, the Seahawks didn’t have a lot of size at wide receiver after they traded Jermaine Kearse to the New York Jets to get Sheldon Richardson before last season. Doug Baldwin and Tyler Lockett are 5 foot 10. Brown is 6-2. Marcus Johnson (acquired from Philadelphia in the Michael Bennett trade) and Brown offer more downfield speed.

• Carroll joked with Minnesota Vikings coach Mike Zimmer. On Monday, Carroll and Zimmer joked that the free agent moves at defensive tackle in the past week was a two-for-one trade. The Seahawks lost Sheldon Richardson to the Vikings but signed Tom Johnson and Shamar Stephen, who have each started at defensive tackle for the Vikings the past two years. Despite being 33, Johnson played around 70 percent of downs for the Vikings. Seattle’s plan is for Johnson and Nazair Jones to handle Richardson’s spot as the three-technique. Jarran Reed and Stephen will be at the one-technique.

• Carroll feels good about the pass rush. That’s even though the Seahawks traded Michael Bennett and aren’t expecting Cliff Avril to play. Frank Clark is the main pass rusher and Carroll is optimistic about Dion Jordan. By re-signing Marcus Smith, Carroll believes he has three fast pass-rushers. The fourth is Barkevious Mingo, who is expected to start at strong-side linebacker. Carroll, in fact, said this is one of the fastest groups of pass-rushers he’s had.

• Earl Thomas update. Schneider said there is not much going as far as contract extension talks with safety Earl Thomas, who is entering the final year of his contract.

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