Why have the Seahawks been so quiet at the start of free agency?

Mar 17, 2020, 4:07 PM
Seahawks DE Jadeveon Clowney...
Are the Seahawks being slow in free agency due to Jadeveon Clowney? (Getty)

As the second day of NFL free agency carries on and players and teams have agreed to deals, the Seahawks have been relatively quiet.

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Seattle has retained a few restricted free agents through tenders, such as tight end Jacob Hollister, and also re-signed tight end Luke Willson, but their biggest move so far has been retaining defensive tackle Jarran Reed with a two-year contract.

While Reed had a great 2018 with 10.5 sacks, he had just 2 in 2019, and the Seahawks had just 28 total. Many fans wanted and expected the team to address the pass rush early in free agency, but as of now, that hasn’t happened. Why not?

“What did we really expect?” Brock Huard said on 710 ESPN Seattle’s Seahawks Free Agency Roundtable with Jake Heaps and Tom Wassell. “Come on guys, this is the Seahawks. … The Seahawks have not ever spent, they’ve never been on the front lines (of free agency).”

Huard pointed to what Super Bowl-winning head coach Brian Billick told 710 ESPN Seattle’s Danny and Gallant Tuesday morning when he said the Seahawks, like many of the better teams in the league, typically are slow to make moves at the start of free agency.

“The really good teams are a little more judicious about their signings,” Billick said. “Maybe (they) don’t make the big splash, (but they) get good value, good deals later in the process and that’s kind of been the way Seattle has moved. They’ve decided not to go for the big splash.”

We’ve seen that in years past, when the team got good value out of “second wave signings” like defensive linemen Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett and more recently with safety Bradley McDougald. But this offseason, the team’s best player was clear that the team needed to act differently.

“(Quarterback) Russell (Wilson) wants starts. That’s what he wants,” Huard said. “He was very vocal about it.”

Huard said the team’s relative inactivity, especially while other pass rushers are being signed, can be pointed to one man: defensive end Jadeveon Clowney.

“I’m left here … thinking they’re spending their time on Jadeveon,” he said. “This is how they do business … they prioritize their plan very clearly. And it was let’s get Jarran Reed done – we can get him done first – and then I think they’re spending their time, right now, trying to hammer out that deal with Clowney.”

Wassell questioned why they’re not able to work on deals with Clowney as well as other free agents at the same time because, if what Huard said is true, they’re missing out on multiple players. Huard said some of the lesser deals can get done at the same time, but when it comes to larger deals, like the one edge rusher Vic Beasley reportedly got from the Tennessee Titans for $9 million?

“No, I don’t think they can,” Huard said.

Wassell said, even though history has shown that this is how the Seahawks operate, that this offseason needed  to be different.

“This team has more needs this offseason than it usually does,” he said. “If you look through the (team under head coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider), especially on defense, they haven’t had this many needs going into any offseason ever.”

Heaps gave his guess as to what the top Seahawks brass are thinking.

“The interesting part to me is that clearly they are going with ‘alright, we’re going to bring back the rendition that we had in 2019. That’s the goal that we’re going to have, and we’re not gong to miss on the (veteran bounceback signings of players like) Ziggy Ansah. We’re going to bring in someone on the bargain, basement price that we’re not going to miss on this time this year,'” Heaps said. “And that concerns me because you’re playing Russian Roulette with whoever that’s going to be.”

Ansah signed with the Seahawks last offseason after some injury problems at the end of his run with the Detroit Lions, but he was a former All-Pro that Seattle took a flyer on. Ansah struggled to produce and stay healthy and he wasn’t the player they expected him to be opposite Clowney on the defensive line. This offseason, if the Seahawks do retain Clowney, Heaps thinks they’ll add another player like Ansah to try and solidify the line.

With the team seemingly waiting to find out whether they will keep Clowney, there are still other positions that need to be addressed, Huard said.

“What about (linebacker) K.J. (Wright’s contract)? What about (linebacker) Mychal Kendircks, who’s a free agent?” Huard said. “What about your secondary that struggled to take the ball away? … (Even with the moves the team has made and potentially re-signing Clowney) you still have plenty of money to do and sign anybody on anybody’s list of free agents that’s sitting there right now and you can get any deal done that you want.”

So, what will the next big piece of news related to the Seahawks be?

“The more and more I see how free agency has (gone), the more and more confident I am that Jadeveon Clowney gets signed back to Seattle,” Heaps said. “I think Seattle stays very quiet until then. I would be very shocked to see any other deals get done until they get Clowney.”

But when would that news break?

“It could be at the end of the day today, or it could be until Friday, but I think that’s going to be an interesting one to see how it all plays out,” Heaps said.

If Clowney spurns the Seahawks for another team, then that would make how Seattle acted in the start of free agency a big problem.

“As I said before, I express concern,” Heaps said. “If they don’t get Clowney, I think they’ve missed out on a lot of other targets that have already gotten swept up and it would be interesting to see what they do at that point.”

Listen to the full discussion at this link or in the player below.

Follow 710 ESPN Seattle’s Brock Huard, Jake Heaps and Tom Wassell on Twitter.

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Why have the Seahawks been so quiet at the start of free agency?