A quick look at the Seahawks’ 2019 free agents
Thirteen Seahawks are set to become unrestricted free agents at the start of the new league year on Mar. 13. Here’s a quick breakdown of the players who are leaving, and which of them Seattle might choose to re-sign. (Be sure to check back for free agency updates over the next two months.)
FS Earl Thomas
Last contract: Signed a four-year, $40 million extension in April 2014
Thomas is Seattle’s top-paid pending free agent for a reason. He’s a six-time Pro Bowler and three time First-Team All-Pro, and is widely regarded as one of the best — if not the best — free safety in the league. But how likely is a return to Seattle? Following a months-long contract holdout in 2018, 710 ESPN Seattle’s Danny O’Neil says there’s almost no chance Thomas returns this year, even with a better offer from the Seahawks.
“I think every sign is that Seattle was not willing to talk to him (last year) about what his price was going to be,” O’Neil said. “That they didn’t even get to the point where they were exchanging offers because they knew how big it was, and that if the market comes down to where Seattle’s price would’ve been, by that point he’s going to be so bitter. I don’t think there’s any way Earl would ever choose to come back. If he’s not going to get a huge raise from another team and he’s going to play for less than he made this year, he’s going to play for somewhere else… I think the Seahawks would love to bring him back, I don’t know that they would give him a raise.”
More on Thomas’ 2018 season:
Seahawks being right not to extend Thomas doesn’t make injury any less sad
Carroll says critics need to give Earl Thomas some slack
Why won’t Seahawks give Earl Thomas a new deal? A look at past extensions
LB K.J. Wright
Last contract: Signed a four-year, $27 million extension in 2014.
Wright is one of three remaining defenders from Seattle’s Super Bowl XLVIII-winning roster (in addition to Thomas and linebacker Bobby Wagner). Will that list be narrowed to one in 2019? Unlike Thomas, Wright opted to not old out in 2018, which was also the final year of his deal with Seattle. It remains to be seen whether that will pay off, particularly following his season-long knee injury. There’s no doubt Wright is a difference-maker when he’s on the field — his best game of the season was in Seattle’s Wild Card loss to the Cowboys — but will that be enough for the Seahawks to offer him a third deal? That question is explored more here.
CB Justin Coleman
Last contract: Signed one-year, $2.9 million contract in March 2018.
Coleman has become one of Seattle’s most consistent players in the secondary. Just as importantly, he has improved year over year. His 10 passes defensed and 55 tackles in 2018 were both career highs. His three career interceptions – two of which were returned for touchdowns – have all come in the past two seasons with Seattle. He’s also a big contributor on special teams. At just 25, he’s sure to be a top candidate on Seattle’s list of players to re-sign in March.
DT Shamar Stephen
Last contract: Signed a one-year, $2.1 million contract in March 2018.
Stephen started 14 games for Seattle last year, and recorded two sacks and 25 tackles.
K Sebastian Janikowski
Last contract: Signed a one-year, $2 million contract in April 2018.
When he was signed last April, Janikowski wasn’t expected to be a long-term solution. The hope was he’d be an upgrade over Blair Walsh. And to be fair, he was; Janikowski made 81.5% of his field goal attempts, compared with 72% for Walsh, and won three regular season contests with a last-second field goal. However, his 91.2% success rate on extra point attempts were was a career low and his hamstring injury in Seattle’s wild card loss only served as a reminder that another signing would be needed sooner, rather than later. Is Sam Ficken the answer? The team signed him to a reserve/futures contract Jan. 11.
DE Dion Jordan
Last contract: Signed a one-year, $1.9 million contract in March 2018.
The former third-overall pick missed the 2015 season after violating the league’s substance abuse policy, and saw most of his 2017 season (his first with the Seahawks) derailed due to injury. While 2018 was a quiet season for Jordan, he saw his most production since his rookie year, with 12 games played, 22 tackles, and six quarterback hits. The defensive line remains an area of need for the Seahawks.
G J.R. Sweezy
Last contract: Signed a one-year, $1.5 million contract in August 2018.
Sweezy returned to Seattle last summer after a two-year stint with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The signing paid off for both parties: Sweezy was part of a Seahawks offensive line that saw its best performance in years, and was named a 2019 Pro Bowl alternate. Both he and guard D.J Fluker (listed below) could be top candidates to re-sign as well.
G D.J. Fluker
Last contract: Signed a one-year, $1.5 million contract in March 2018.
Like Sweezy, Fluker earned praise this year as part of a revamped offensive line. His history with offensive line coach Mike Solari was also a plus.
RB Mike Davis
Last contract: Signed a one-year, $1.3 million contract in March 2018.
Seattle’s success in their run-game revamp could have some unintended consequences when it comes to their ability to retain Davis. Davis saw career highs in just about every category this year, which makes him both more valuable to the Seahawks and a candidate for a competitive contract offer from another team. Davis finished his 2018 season with 728 combined rushing/receiving yards and six touchdowns. He averaging 4.6 yards per carry and was the most-targeted running back in the passing game, with more receptions than Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny, combined.
DE Frank Clark
Last contract: Signed a four-year, $3.7 rookie deal in May 2015.
Clark’s return in 2019 is all but guaranteed after Pete Carroll’s comments in early January. The real question is whether the Seahawks will reach an agreement with Clark on a new contract, or use the franchise tag for the first time since 2010. We explored Clark’s contract situation in depth here.
SS Maurice Alexander
Last contract: Signed a one-year, $790,000 contract in March 2018.
OLB Mychal Kendricks
Last contract: Signed a one-year, $790,000 contract with Seattle in September 2018.
The Seahawks originally signed Kendricks in September, following his release from the Cleveland Browns for insider trading charges. He performed well in relief of K.J. Wright, but wasn’t available all year thanks to a brief suspension and, later, an ankle injury that landed him on the injured reserve list. But Carroll hinted the team would be very interested in re-signing Kendricks in 2019: “He wants to be part of this thing so badly, but he doesn’t get to this time around,” Carroll said in December. “We look forward to getting him back next time and keep him with us.”
QB Brett Hundley
Last contract: Signed a four-year, $2.5 million contract with the Green Bay Packers in May 2015. Acquired by Seattle via trade in August 2018, carried $705,000 cap hit.
Hundley made the 53-man roster as a backup to Russell Wilson, though didn’t end up playing a single snap in 2018. His future in Seattle became a little murkier with the recent signing of ex-Broncos quarterback Paxton Lynch.