Clayton: What the Seahawks truly got for Frank Clark
The Frank Clark trade gave Seahawks general manager John Schneider a first-round pick that allowed him to maneuver a series of draft-day trades and bring Seattle’s number of draft choices from a league-fewest four picks to a second-most 11.
And even though losing Clark could be a major setback, the $17.1 million cap savings gave Schneider the room to bring in six street free agents, including two who might be starters.
Quarterback Geno Smith signed on Wednesday, and though his numbers aren’t posted, you figure that it is probably a minimum salary deal that likely includes a $90,000 signing bonus. If that’s true, the Seahawks spent a little less than $15 million this year for a starting defensive end, a possible starter as an early down run-stopper, a fullback-special teams ace, a veteran slot cornerback, a backup quarterback to compete against Paxton Lynch, and a backup guard – and in total, Schneider turned one big trade into 13 players, including seven additional draft choices.
What those moves mean for the Seahawks’ roster and cap
If you thought roster battles were going to be intense after the completion of the draft, they grew even tougher after the team’s May 7 free agent signings.
Obviously, the key to the success of those signings is whether defensive end Ezekiel “Ziggy” Ansah can fill the pass-rushing void created by the Clark trade. Ansah has the ability and résumé to get 13 sacks, but thanks to a shoulder injury, his availability at the start of the season could be in question.
Now coming off surgery for that shoulder, Ansah won’t be able to practice until mid-August. And although the shoulder is structurally-sound, it’s not out of the question for him to miss a game or two. Ansah signed a one-year deal at $9 million that has a cap number of $7.875 million, because of a per-game incentive for his nine missed games from last year. If Ansah doesn’t make the roster, the Seahawks made a $6 million gamble for his signing bonus and base salary. He also has a $1.5 million roster bonus.
Defensive tackle Al Woods signed one-year deal worth $1.925 million salary. He received a $400,000 signing bonus and a $1.25 million base. Woods is a 330-pound run-stopper who might play on early downs. The defensive coaches preferred Woods, who played for the Seahawks in 2011, over both Danny Shelton and Earl Mitchell.
For help on special teams and at fullback, Nick Bellore signed a two-year deal at $2.23 million that included a $300,000 signing bonus and a $930,00 base salary.
Schneider finished the post May 7 signings getting some bargains: Cornerback Jamar Taylor had a one-year deal at $895,000 that counts $735,000 against the cap, and Smith’s deal might be the same. Guard Marcus Martin had a one-year deal at $805,000 that counts $645,000 million on the cap.
While Ansah strengthens the shoulder, the Seahawks will need young players such as L.J. Collier, Rasheem Green, Jacob Martin and others to step up and show their potential. The key for the Seahawks is to stay around the 40-sack range and try to get their points-allowed once again below 20 per game. But as it turns out, the Frank Clark trade has been converted into plenty of depth.
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