Seahawks offense: Who stays, who goes?

Jan 31, 2011, 10:42 PM | Updated: Apr 4, 2011, 7:52 pm

By Mike Salk and Brock Huard

In most normal offseasons, it’s easy to draw up a list of the free agents and signed players and just figure out who you would like to see re-signed, cut, let go, and kept around. Of course, this is no regular offseason. No one knows how the potential lockout could affect teams’ plans and no one knows what the rules will be when free agency finally begins. That said, we do know which Seahawks played well enough this season to deserve employment here again and which ones played their way out of our desired roster. This list attempts to sum up those general feelings. We were amazed at how many players on which we agreed. There were virtually no arguments in putting this list together.

For the purpose of this post, we are going to leave Matt Hasselbeck out of the discussion. Brock already wrote his thoughts on Hasselbeck’s future last week. Something also tells us that argument isn’t going to end anytime soon.

We will examine the offense today. We’ll consider the defense on Thursday.

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Quarterbacks

Charlie Whitehurst – upgrade

J.P. Losman – cut

Whitehurst is potentially a capable backup, but he is getting paid a fair amount of money to fit that role and he does not appear to be a viable quarterback of the future. We would try to restructure his contract to better reflect his new role. Losman is not part of the future. If the team re-signs Hasselbeck, that spot should be reserved for a project (like Colin Kaepernick or Pat Devlin). If Hasselbeck is let go in favor of a potential young franchise quarterback, that spot would probably be best served by someone with experience.

Running Backs

Marshawn Lynch – keep

Justin Forsett – keep

Leon Washington – re-sign

Michel Robinson – let walk

The Seahawks have put together a qualified stable of running backs that compliment each other well. Lynch showed he is capable of shouldering the load; Forsett is a nifty change of pace; Washington fills so many roles on special teams and provides depth at running back. Lynch and Forsett are under contract at the right price, but Washington might attract interest from around the league, especially since he stayed healthy and repeatedly changed field position. This is a deep running back draft, and a mid to late round pick will push Forsett for his job.

Robinson, unfortunately, is replaceable. There are plenty of fullbacks who are better blockers, though his special teams play has value.

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Wide Receivers

Mike Williams – keep, upgrade

Ben Obomanu – keep, upgrade

Deon Butler – upgrade

Golden Tate – keep

Brandon Stokley – let walk

Ruvell Martin – let walk

The team already invested in Williams and Obomanu, who probably fit best on a contending team as #2 and #4 receiver. They invested a second round pick in Tate who they hope will develop into a #3 – he probably deserves one more year of evaluation. That means, however, that they are still lacking that #1 threat. In order to make room, it probably eliminates the space for Stokley or Martin. Butler is the trickiest question. He was not drafted by this regime and has yet to show premier ability/production. He could be a candidate to find employment elsewhere.

Tight ends

John Carlson – upgrade

Chris Baker – let walk

Cameron Morrah – upgrade

Anthony McCoy – ???

Carlson has struggled to live up to the hype but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have a role in a prolific offense. Tight ends are in vogue right now (look at how the Patriots used three, the Saints used two, etc.). Carlson could be a useful piece if he were not expected to play a huge role in the running game and was not expected to be a primary option. If you could draft/sign a premier tight end, Carlson could slide into the secondary role. Then Baker or Morrah fit as a third option. Where does that leave McCoy? He is virtually an unknown because of his injury issues in 2010. The team took a flier on him in the sixth round, and if he can’t stay fit and healthy, he won’t be around.

O-line

Offensive Line

Russell Okung – keep

Tyler Polumbus – keep/upgrade

Chris Spencer – let walk/upgrade

Stacy Andrews – restructure

Sean Locklear – let walk

Max Unger – keep

Ray Willis – let walk

Chester Pitts – let walk

Mike Gibson – cut/upgrade

A few of these are easy choices. Okung is the foundation. Unger has potential at two positions. They appear to be part of the future for this line. Willis and Pitts are on their last legs physically.

Polumbus showed he could play guard and he has always been a tackle. That depth is always enormously important and could be his ticket to stick around, though he wouldn’t start in a perfect world. Spencer also has some flexibility in that he can play any of the three interior positions. If he was willing to take a depth position, he could be a fit. But it’s hard to see wanting him back for starting money.

Sean Locklear has simply run out of options.

Andrews is a question mark. How did we lose sight of him and where did he go? He seemingly disappeared down the stretch for Mike Gibson, and that is a difficult career move at this stage. Tom Cable likes size though, and if the team could work out a deal for the league minimum, Andrews could return.

Mike Gibson is just another guy, and under-sized too. He will have an uphill climb in Cable’s system, but he did prove his toughness and versatility down the stretch this season.

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