It took just a few hours into the NFL's open negotiating window on Monday for the top two interior offensive lineman to be taken off of the free-agent market.
Stud guard Joe Thuney reportedly signed a five-year, $80 million deal with the Chiefs, and All-Pro center Corey Linsley reportedly signed a five-year, $62.5 million contract with the Chargers. Those deals can't become official until the new league year begins on Wednesday.
It's unclear whether the Seahawks were serious players for either player, but this news does mean Seattle will again be targeting Tier 2 (or lower) free agents to fill voids at left guard and center.
The fact that Seattle didn't land either player isn't surprising. John Schneider and Pete Carroll are notorious for their frugal approach to free agency. That strategy has been largely successful, but it's fair to wonder whether it's keeping the Seahawks from getting over the hump.
The Seahawks have been at the bottom of the league in terms of spending along the offensive line seven years running. That has resulted in an annually underwhelming group. At some point, it makes sense to pony up for elite talent to protect your franchise quarterback. Surely an already unhappy Russell Wilson isn't pumped to see Thuney and Linsley sign elsewhere, especially considering the defensive lines in the NFC West that Seattle faces twice a season.
In order to make room for Thuney, the Chiefs recently restructured the deals of Patrick Mahomes, Chris Jones and Travis Kelce. The Seahawks haven't made any such moves, nor have they signed any players to extensions. The relative harmony in Kansas City compared to Seattle likely made that process easier, especially in regard to restructuring Mahomes.
Kicking the can down the road seems like a worthwhile risk with the salary cap expected to boom in the coming years due to a record TV deal on the horizon. Seattle currently has just north of $17 million in cap space. Most of that stems from Carlos Dunlap being cut. That money, in all likelihood, will be divvied up and spent on several players.
The Seahawks have a long shopping list, one that also includes a pass rusher, a corner, a running back, a wide receiver and a tight end. You could argue signing Thuney or Linsley would have inhibited Seattle from checking off every box on that list. However, other teams with cap constraints find a way to make things work in order to get top-shelf talent. The Seahawks are rarely (if ever) that team in free agency.
It's obviously too soon to make sweeping judgments about Seattle's inaction thus far. We need to wait and see what moves the Seahawks end up making first. But it's evident that even with the added pressure of Wilson publicly airing his grievances, Schneider and Carroll are continuing to stay on brand in regard to their approach to free agency.