Clayton: How has patience paid off for the Seahawks in free agency?
Did patience work for Seahawks general manager John Schneider in free agency?
Each year, Seahawks fans get frustrated when Schneider doesn’t get into the first wave of free agency. Well, that’s what most general managers on playoff teams do. They wait for the first wave of free agency to start and then sign players for lower numbers.
That’s particularly important for teams that have quarterbacks making $35 million a year.
Whether the fans like it or not, the Seahawks fulfilled one-and-a-half of their two major needs. They signed three players for the offensive line. They added former Seahawks defensive end/linebacker Bruce Irvin as a situational pass-rusher. Why I say they fulfilled one-and-a-half of their needs is that they still need a starting defensive end and they can still get one.
Jadeveon Clowney has to be one of the most disappointed free agents. The market went against him. Clowney is one of the six or seven best edge-rushers in football, but three things work against him.
First, he isn’t a double-digit sack player. That hurt his chances of getting more than $21 million a year.
His injury history worked against him. He has missed 20 games in six years. He finished the season with a core injury that required surgery.
The third thing working against Clowney is the coronavirus. Because of the virus, players aren’t allowed to fly to a team’s city and take a physical. Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton is in a similar situation because of his lisfranc injury.
If the Seahawks can’t get Clowney, they can go for Everson Griffen or wait and trade for a franchise-tagged edge rusher.
The Seahawks were busy, but they got what they wanted on the offensive line. George Fant, Germain Ifedi and Mike Iupati were free agents. The Seahawks targeted Brandon Shell, B.J. Finney and Cedric Ogbuehi as their main free agent offensive linemen from the start of free agency.
Shell is a big, physical 6’5, 325-pound right tackle who can take a defensive end and push him back five yards. Finney is a physical, versatile center/guard who can challenge for a starting job. Shell has 40 carrier starts for the New York Jets. Finney has 13 career starts for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Ogbhuehi has 25 starts, but he will challenge for a backup tackle spot and possible play some blocking tight end.
The beauty of patience is Schneider signed both Shell and Finney for roughly what George Fant received from the New York Jets. Fant agreed to a three-year, $27.3 million deal. Shell and Finney agreed to two-year deals that average $9.5 million a year, $400,000 a year more than Fant.
Fant, by the way, had 24 starts with the Seahawks.
The reason Finney and Shell were attractive was because they are big and physical. That fits offensive line coach Mike Solari’s needs. He wants big and physical.
One other interesting thing in free agency is Josh Gordon is expressing his desire to come back in the league next season. He is believed to have two games remaining under his PED suspension, but that is hidden in the fact that he was also suspended for another substance.
At some point, he can apply for reinstatement. The Seahawks liked Gordon and Gordon liked the Seahawks. If the Seahawks continue to have patience, they could eventually try to re-sign him if the NFL allows him to come back in the league. Gordon is a free agent.