JOHN CLAYTON

Clayton: What you need to know as Seahawks prepare for free agency

Mar 10, 2020, 2:29 PM
Former Seahawks DE Michael Bennett...
Michael Bennett is reportedly interested in returning to the Seahawks' defensive line. (Getty)
(Getty)

Normally, NFL teams come back from the combine armed with plenty of information.

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They have the results and interviews from more than 330 draft prospects. The NFL and the NFL Players Association annually work out the salary cap number at the combine. Last minute re-signings before the start of free agency are in the works.

Not this year. Free agency starts next Wednesday and the cap number isn’t known. The rules are uncertain because the NFLPA’s vote on the collective bargaining agreement won’t be known until 11:59 p.m. Saturday night. No one knows if they are working in the last year of the old CBA or are working under the rules of a 10-year extension.

Talk about going to the last minute to get business done. The legal tampering period for free agency starts Monday and goes through Tuesday night. This is almost like doing your taxes on April 15.

While we wait for free agency, let’s look at some of the things going on with the Seahawks and the NFL.

• Though the vote might be close, it appears the CBA proposal will pass. This deal appeals to the rank-and-file, the players on their first contracts and making the minimum. It was interesting to see the player reps voted in J.C. Tretter as the next union president. He’s an offensive lineman for the Cleveland Browns and the Cornell grad is considered extremely smart and a moderate. Things got messy this week when Russell Okung, who was running for the NFLPA presidency, filed a bad faith bargaining complaint against the NFLPA and pulled his name from the presidency vote.

• It’s not surprising to see Michael Bennett say he’s willing to sign with Seattle and finish his career in a Seahawks uniform. He said this to Joe Fann of NBC Sports Northwest. Bennett would be a consideration for some of the team’s needs for a pass rusher. Bruce Irvin might be a better fit because he’s more of an outside end but Bennett can still provide some pass rush at end while having the versatility to also play defensive tackle. It’s an option.

• It’s not surprising the Seahawks would consider bringing back Alex Collins for a spot at running back. After leaving Seattle, he almost had a 1,000-yard season in Baltimore. Robert Turbin and, yes, Marshawn Lynch are also options.

• The closer we get to free agency the more I feel Jadeveon Clowney is going to leave the Seahawks in free agency. He can ask for more than $20 million a year but I get the feeling that the Seahawks might not go that high to pay him because of his injury history.

• Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Yannick Ngakoue could be an option for the Seahawks in a trade, but at the moment the Jaguars plan to hold onto Ngakoue and Nick Foles. To keep Ngakoue, the Jags would have to use a franchise tag on him. That’s going to put pressure on them because they are tight against the cap. Eventually, I think he will be a tag-and-trade.

• If the Seahawks won’t go over $20 million for a pass-rushing defensive end, they might be able to a put few extra dollars into re-signing defensive tackle Jarran Reid. Still, they need help at defensive end.

• Odds are favoring both Germain Ifedi and George Fant, the Seahawks offensive linemen who are set to become free agents. That could put the Seahawks into position to sign a free-agent right tackle. They could also look for an interior blocker.

• Defensive end Quinton Jefferson is getting some good interest in the free-agent market but the Seahawks would like to find a way to keep him. It all comes down to the price.

• In the past week, the Seahawks scouted P.J. Walker, who is the quarterback for the 5-0 Houston Roughnecks of the XFL. Walker is looking to be the XFL MVP. No one knows his asking price but he might be able to be considered an upgrade to Geno Smith as Russell Wilson’s backup.

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