Seattle Seahawks

The Seahawks' gift to the NFC is a playoff contest

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© Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

The Seahawks' gift to the NFC is a playoff contest

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They’re givers, the Seattle Seahawks. ‘Tis the season of giving and give they shall. Call it the gift of interest, for those interested in the NFC playoff contests.

Continuing their December magic in the Pete Carroll era (22–9), the blue birds of the Pacific Northwest gave the top-heavy NFC a tumble by taking down the previous conference leader, the (now) 10–2 Philadelphia Eagles on Dec. 3, 24–10. By bolstering their record to 8–4, and thanks to Sunday losses by the faltering Atlanta Falcons and up-and-down Carolina Panthers, the Seahawks vaulted from out of the playoffs to the conference’s No. 5 seed.

So yes, they gave a gift to themselves, first off, but gave a gift to the rest of the conference hopefuls by taking down the top dog and making every other remaining division leader (New Orleans Saints, Los Angeles Rams and Minnesota Vikings) legitimate hope they can snare the top spot, or at the very least the other penultimately important second seed and its accompanying first-round bye.

Heck, the blue birds might even have a shot at a bye themselves if they can continue their December magic against next Sunday’s (playoff-bound) opponent, the 8–4 Jacksonville Jaguars and again at home the following week against the NFC West-leading Rams.

Look what we got

Apart from doing themselves a solid, let’s examine who else benefited from the Seahawks’ surprising win against the Eagles.

Minnesota Vikings

Easily the jolliest of gift recipients, the surprising Vikings are now the conference’s No. 1 seed — tied with the Eagles, but nudged ahead for now with a tiebreaker (strength of schedule). The unexpected, magical season of the Vikings got its latest boost from the Seahawks the same weekend the Vikings enjoyed a listless outing in Atlanta from the faltering Falcons.

It all seems to be lining up purple right now. Despite losing yet another starting quarterback (Sam Bradford, injured reserve) and their starting rooking running back (Dalvin Cook), the Vikings have quietly cobbled together a credible offense with journeyman Case Keenum having a career year, to go along with the NFL’s second-stingiest defense in terms of both yards allowed and points.

It gets even better, if you’re feeling purplish: The Vikings, now with the inside track to the conference’s No. 1 seed, are the NFL’s greatest threat to be able to play the Super Bowl in their own stadium on Feb. 4 at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. Without Seattle’s December magic, they’d still have a shot, just not the best shot.

New Orleans Saints

One of the NFL’s other major surprises of 2017, the Saints have made mincemeat of their division opponents (3–0 so far) and have been on an absolute tear since staring the season 0–2. Their only loss since week three was to the also 9–3 Rams, and they did lose to the Vikings in week one. Homefield is almost certainly not in the cards for the Saints, but a possible first-round bye is reasonable now that they’re only one game out.

The Saints get the faltering Falcons twice, the faltering Buccaneers in Tampa and a home date against the also surprising, but middling, New York Jets. They can win out and possibly get the No. 2 seed, thanks to the Seahawks.

Los Angeles Rams

Like the Saints, the Rams are one game out of a round one bye. All they have to do is not be their traditional selves, which includes a number of late season swoons (2016 ended with seven straight defeats). Nothing the Rams have put on record this year suggests this is the same old Rams.

The Rams have won six of their last seven since losing to the Seahawks on Oct. 8. They will face three straight playoff-caliber teams in the Eagles, Seahawks and Tennessee Titans, so their work is cut out for them. They are one game out of the top spot, and can make a strong case for themselves if they take care of business at home against the Eagles and make a winning statement in Seattle on Dec. 17. They could also play themselves totally out of the playoffs. But having trimmed the top off the NFC, the Rams can thank the Seahawks for their extra incentive.

Thanks for nothing

The NFC teams that did not smile at the Seahawks’ most recent win include the 6–6 Green Bay Packers, who have only an outside shot at the playoffs and would prefer to be able to use their week one victory over Seattle as a tiebreaker, if needed. That’s no longer likely. The 8–4 Panthers are neck-and-neck with the Seahawks and currently behind in the tiebreaker criteria, so they would have preferred the Eagles won while they trail the Saints in their division—whom they can’t catch due to being swept. It’s Wild Card or nothing for the Panthers.

The Falcons can still make a run at a Wild Card, particularly since they have a head-to-head victory over the Seahawks, but they’ll need Seattle’s help, not more of the blue birds’ usual December magic. The 6–6 Dallas Cowboys also have no shot in their division, so they’re not happy to have to try to catch Seattle, now two games ahead. Ditto for the 6–6 Detroit Lions, who, like the Cowboys and Packers, are hoping for some serious losing streaks by Carolina, Seattle and Atlanta.

Of course, the Seahawks could still win the NFC West. If they’re going to, it starts Sunday in Jacksonville, on the road against the NFL’s stoutest defense (14.8 ppg) and perhaps a more surprising seventh-highest scoring offense in the NFL (24.9 ppg). Will the Seahawks continue their giving tradition this holiday season? They’re underdogs in this one, but that didn’t matter last week. It’s December, after all.

Signing WR Jordy Nelson wouldn't make much sense for the Seattle Seahawks

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Signing WR Jordy Nelson wouldn't make much sense for the Seattle Seahawks

When one hears the name "Jordy Nelson," images of him making a name for himself with an MVP-caliber performance in Super Bowl XLV while with the Green Bay Packers, having four 1,000-yard seasons while playing with quarterback Aaron Rodgers and leading the NFL in touchdown receptions with 14 in 2016 come to mind. 

So, sure, why wouldn't the Seattle Seahawks entertain signing the free agent, who spent last season with the Oakland Raiders?

There are actually four reasons: David Moore, Jaron Brown, Brandon Marshall and the number 34. 

The first two players did quite well last season as the Seahawks' No. 3 and No. 4 receivers behind starters, Tyler Lockett and Doug Baldwin. The third name didn't quite have anything left after a stellar career and was released by the Seahawks in late October at the age of 34, which is the same age that Nelson will be come May 31. 

Nelson reportedly visited Seattle today. 

So, the question is, what would Seattle want with a 34-year-old wide receiver well past his prime that had 63 receptions for 739 yards and four touchdowns last year with the Raiders? Not much, really. 

Moore is a heck of an athlete and is just starting to realize his potential. He caught 26 passes for 445 yards and five touchdowns last season and should remain the No. 3 receiver in 2019. Brown is a luxury as the No. 4 given his height (6-foot-3) and play-making ability in the red zone. He had five touchdowns last year. Nelson is a better all-around receiver than both Moore and Brown but he doesn't offer the speed of Moore, and although he is 6-3, wouldn't at this point in his career be that much of an upgrade over Brown, who is 29. 

Seattle is not a team that spreads the field with four wide receivers all that often so Nelson's opportunities would be limited behind Baldwin, Lockett and Moore, assuming he became the No. 4 receiver. 

So, what would be the point in signing him?

One could argue that depth is depth and it couldn't hurt to bring Nelson in for a look-see. But on paper, it wouldn't appear that Nelson would truly make the Seahawks better. Seattle might be better off drafting a young receiver and working him in as the potential No. 4 option rather than going with Nelson, who might have just one year remaining in his body that has seen action in 151 games.

Or, like Marshall, Nelson won't have enough left in him to make a difference in 2019. 

REPORTS: Seattle Seahawks to keep K.J. Wright and D.J. Fluker, add Mike Iupati

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REPORTS: Seattle Seahawks to keep K.J. Wright and D.J. Fluker, add Mike Iupati

According to reports, the Seattle Seahawks are resigning linebacker K.J. Wright and right guard D.J. Fluker

Many thought that Wright, a former Pro Bowler who has been with the team his entire eight-year career, had become expendable after the team resigned linebacker Mychal Kendricks. But it appears that that's not the case. Fluker, who helped bring some nastiness to the offensive line in his first year with the team last season, certainly wasn't expendable, especially after veteran guard J.R. Sweezy signed a two-year deal with Arizona. 

The Seattle Times is reporting that Wright has received a two-year deal worth $15.5 million. 

Seattle responded to the loss of Sweezy by reportedly signing guard Mike Iupati, an eight-year veteran who spent his last four years with the Cardinals. The four-tie Pro Bowler has made 114 career starts. 

Seattle Seahawks appear content with core players, dip toe in free agency

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Seattle Seahawks appear content with core players, dip toe in free agency

Well, at least Seattle signed one Pro Bowler, albeit a kicker. So, there's that. 

The first official day of free agency in the NFL came and went on Wednesday with a plethora of big moves going down around the league, just not in the Pacific Northwest. 

Seattle, true to their typical form, largely stayed out of the signing frenzy despite being armed with about $50 million in cap space to work with. The Seahawks did sign Pro Bowl kicker Jason Myers away from the New York Jets and reportedly will retain the services of linebacker Mychal Kendricks. The Seattle Tims reported this morning that linebacker K.J. Wright would return to the team.

But that's it. Gone are running back Mike Davis (Chicago), cornerback Justin Coleman (Detroit), guard J.R. Sweezy (Arizona) and defensive tackle Shamar Stephen (Minnesota).

So, what does all of this mean?  Well, first and foremost it means that general manager John Schneider and coach Pete Carroll didn't believe that an available free agent would elevate their team that went 10-6 last year into true Super Bowl contention in 2019, or at least at the price tag they would have wanted to spend.

On the other side of the coin is the reality that Seattle is about to pay huge raises to three star players. Defensive end Frank Clark, whom Seattle has franchise tagged, has reportedly stated that he will not sign such a designation and will hold out if he does not receive a long-term deal. Clark, 25, led the team with 13 sacks last season and certainly would have received big money on the open market as an urestricted free agent. He ultimately will eat up a huge chunk of Seattle's available cap space. 

Then there is middle linebacker Bobby Wagner. He has one year remaining on his contract and is coming off of another Pro Bowl season. He will turn 29 in June so one would imagine that an extension with about $35 million in guaranteed money would be coming his way soon. Seattle is unlikely to play hardball with Wagner as it did safety Earl Thomas last offseason. He, by the way, has signed a $55 million deal with Baltimore. 

Quarterback Russell Wilson is also entering the final year of his contract. In a world where Kirk Cousins is being paid about $28 million per year and Jimmy Garoppolo, who has accomplished nothing, receives an average salary of 27.5 million, Wilson should break the bank. His number should start at $30 million per season and could reach $35 million. 

So, while Seattle has cap space to work with, it's looking at about $55 million in annual salary it must pay Wilson, Wagner and Clark in order to retain their services beyond next season.

There's also the matter of resigning free agent right guard D.J. Fluker. That would also appear to be a must. 

Seattle will assuredly make another small move, or two. Most of the big fish have been acquired. Bargains will start to present themselves and the Seahawks will be able to pick up players on the cheap that could have an impact. Defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh is out there. But he will likely be too expensive for Seattle's budget. Teams around the league will also release players during the offseason that could be acquired, just as Seattle did last offseason with Fluker and Sweezy. 

But, for all intents and purposes, the Seahawks are what they are. Is that good enough to reach the Super Bowl? We shall find out. 

It might hurt, but fans on Twitter react to news of Earl Thomas’ departure

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It might hurt, but fans on Twitter react to news of Earl Thomas’ departure

The Legion of Boom has officially left Seattle.

First there was Richard Sherman, who after suffering a season-ending Achilles injury in 2017, departed for the San Francisco 49ers last offseason.

Then there was Kam Chancellor, who sustained a neck injury against Arizona in 2017, that was later revealed as spinal stenosis and bone spurs. The Pro Bowl safety shared news that tests showed no improvement and he would risk paralysis if he ever stepped on the field again. Chancellor remains on the Seahawks roster, but is expected to be released this summer.

And on Tuesday, Pro Bowl safety Earl Thomas signed a four-year, $55 million deal with a guarantee of $33 million to join the Baltimore Ravens, ushering in the end of an era in Seattle.

Thomas was selected in the first round of 2010 NFL Draft alongside strong safety Kam Chancellor, who was taken in the fifth round that same year. The following season, cornerback Richard Sherman was chosen by Seattle in the fifth round and defensive back Brandon Browner later signed as an undrafted free agent.

The foursome made up what many will remember as the Legion of the Boom. While the elite group rotated in members over the next few seasons, including Jeremy Lane, DeShawn Shead and Walter Thurmond to name a few, Thomas, Chancellor and Sherman were the glue that kept it all together.

While Thomas’ recent memories with Seattle are bittersweet, and maybe he was caught on national television making an obscene gesture to the Seahawks sideline, the 30-year-old’s time in Seattle won’t be forgotten.

12s took to Twitter to thank Thomas for everything he had done for the city of Seattle.

And Thomas has a lot of love for the fans in Seattle, too.

Seattle will reunite with Thomas later this year, as the Ravens take on the Seahawks at CenturyLink Field. The date has yet to be announced. 

REPORT: Seahawks sign Pro Bowl kicker Jason Myers

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REPORT: Seahawks sign Pro Bowl kicker Jason Myers

The Seattle Seahawks have made a big splash in free agency. That is, if one considers signing a kicker much of a splash. But in this case, it just might be.

After one year with 40-year-old Sebastian Janikowski handling kicking duties, the Seahawks have reportedly come to terms with kicker Jason Myers on a four-year deal worth roughly $15 million. ESPN first reported the story. 

Myers, 27, spent last season with the New York Jets after playing his first three years with the Jacksonville Jaguars. He actually began the 2018 season in training camp with the Seahawks before being released in favor of Janikowski.

Myers ended up with the Jets and made the AFC Pro Bowl team after making 33 of 36 field goals. He proved quite accurate from long distance, making six of seven on kicks 50 yards or more and 11 of 12 from between 40 and 49 yards. All told, he made 91.7 percent of his attempts for the season. 

The acquisition of Myers, out of Marist, gives Seattle two Pro Bowl kicking specialists. Rookie punter Michael Dickson was named to the NFC Pro Bowl team last season. 

Janikowski, who turned 41 on Mar. 2, performed admirably last season by making 22-of-27 field goals (81.4 percent). He connected on game-winners in the final seconds at Arizona, at Carolina and home against the Cardinals.

Seattle signed kicker Sam Ficken to a futures contract last month.

Note: Former Seattle backup quarterback Brett Hundley has signed with the Arizona Cardinals, according to reports. Hundley attended high school in Chandler, Ariz. 

 

Free Agency News: Earl Thomas to sign with the Baltimore Ravens

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Free Agency News: Earl Thomas to sign with the Baltimore Ravens

Earl Thomas is finally getting paid. One of the biggest free agency questions has been answered. Former Seattle Seahawks safety Earl Thomas has signed a contract with the Baltimore Ravens.

First reported by Adam Schefter:

Thomas’ contract is for four years, $55 million dollars ($32 million fully guaranteed) and $22 million in the first nine months alone. 

After an long offseason of contract negotiations and just four weeks into the regular season, Earl Thomas had played his last game in the Seahawks jersey after suffering a season-ending injury against the Arizona Cardinals.

Now in NFL free agency, Thomas joins the Ravens’ secondary alongside Tony Jefferson, who recorded 53 tackles last season. In other Ravens news, Baltimore also signed former New Orleans Saints running back Mark Ingram to a three-year deal worth $15 million dollars. 

The Seattle Seahawks will host the Baltimore Ravens during the 2019 regular season.

Seattle Seahawks lose guard J.R. Sweezy to Arizona Cardinals

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Seattle Seahawks lose guard J.R. Sweezy to Arizona Cardinals

According to reports, guard J.R. Sweezy will leave Seattle in order to sign a two-year deal with the Arizona Cardinals.

Sweezy, who started for the Seahawks' Super Bowl teams, returned to Seattle last season after being released by Tampa Bay. His veteran experience and knowledge of Seattle's system allowed him to have a big impact on the Seahawks going from one of the most suspect offensive lines in the NFL in 2017 to helping the team leading the league in rushing in 2018. 

The loss of Sweezy could put the team in the market for another veteran guard, even if Seattle decides to go with former second-round pick Ethan Pocic at left guard.

Right guard D.J. Fluker, signed as a free agent last summer, is again a free agent this offseason. Seattle could ill-afford to lose both Sweezy and Fluker. 

Other free agency moves as of March 12 at 5 PM (PT):

Backup running back Mike Davis is expected to sign with Chicago for $6 million over two years. Cornerback Justin Coleman will sign with Detroit and defensive tackle Shamar Stephen is reportedly headed back to Minnesota after spending one season with the Seahawks.

 

Seattle Seahawks shouldn't hesitate to offer Frank Clark long-term deal

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Seattle Seahawks shouldn't hesitate to offer Frank Clark long-term deal

The Seattle Seahawks last week placed the franchise tag on defensive end Frank Clark and he isn't having any parts of that nonsense.

According to reports, Clark has no plans to sign his franchise tag, which would pay him about $17 million for one season, and could end up holding out until the Seahawks sign him to a long-term extension.

Good for him. Shame on Seattle if it doesn't get this taken care of sooner rather than later. The hunch here is that the Seahawks, who used the tag to secure exclusive negotiating rights with Clark before he became an unrestricted free agent, will get a deal done before training camp starts.

Here is why: 

First and foremost, Clark has developed into an elite pass rusher in a league where offenses are running amok like never before and if you cannot pressure the quarterback you're dead in the water. Seattle spent a second-round pick in Clark in 2015 and after producing just three sacks as a rookie, he has put up 32 over the past three seasons with a high of 13 last year. Clark will turn 26 on June 14 so he is just about to enter his prime years.

Next, allowing the Clark situation to fester would be a bad look for Seattle. Why spend a second-round draft pick on a player, hope he pans out, watch him develop into a star, then allow him to walk or holdout because you don't want to pay him? That would simply be foolish. Now, if another team offers a great trade package that simply cannot be refused, then deal the player. Otherwise, a team must sign its star player or risk looking cheap and alienating the rest of the roster that wants to win and also someday get paid big bucks.

Finally, Seattle has routinely taken care of its players entering their prime. Yes, Seattle played hardball with running back Marshawn Lynch, cornerback Richard Sherman and safety Earl Thomas with mixed results. But those respective contract forks in the road occurred when each player was around 30 and coming off of a big contract. Seattle had taken care of all three with big money deals while they were in their mid 20s. So, there is no comparing the Clark situation with, say, Thomas, who last year held out of training camp while entering the final season of his deal.

Seattle had no plans of keeping the 29-year-old Thomas beyond last season or paying him the guaranteed money he sought, especially coming off of the Kam Chancellor situation. Chancellor signed an extension in 2017 with one year remaining on his deal and ended up injuring his neck and will never play again. Meanwhile, Seattle is on the hook for more about $25 million in guaranteed money owed to the former Pro Bowl safety. 

Teams are always taking a chance when signing a player to a long-term deal, but it's best to do so when a player is in his mid 20s rather than in his late 20s or early 30s. 

The fact is that Seattle has a very good player that it has invested a second-round pick and time into, who has delivered on the field and is entering his prime. That is the type of talent one locks down in a hurry.

Seattle has until July 15th to do so before Clark must play the 2019 season on the franchise tag or sit out, ala Pittsburgh running back Le'Veon Bell, and nobody in the Northwest wants to follow that type of mess. 

Seattle Seahawks slap franchise tag on DE Frank Clark

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Seattle Seahawks slap franchise tag on DE Frank Clark

Seattle coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider both stated last week at the NFL Scouting Combine that unrestricted free agent defensive end Frank Clark would be with the team in 2019. That meant that he would either sign a long-term deal or that the Seahawks would prevent him from leaving by placing the franchise tag on the former 2015 second-round pick. 

The latter turned out to be the plan. At least for the time being. 

By placing the franchise tag on Clark before Tuesday's deadline, Seattle now has exclusive negotiating rights with their best pass rusher who had 13 sacks last season and has 35 for his four-year career. If the two don't reach a deal on a long-term contract before July 15, Clark must play next season at a salary of $17.2 million and then become a free agent again next offseason. 

That's a lot of coin for Seattle to pay for one season and there's little doubt that Clark would rather have signed a long-term deal worth more guaranteed money. So, expect the Seahawks to work diligently to lock down Clark, 25, on a multi-year deal as soon as possible. 

“It is ultimately (the goal), yeah,” Carroll told reporters at the combine, according to Seahawks.com. “Frankie just turned 25, he's still a very young football player. Made a huge step this year in terms of leadership, growth and maturity. It was so obvious. I was really proud of seeing that develop for Frank. He played great too. Frank, he's a very valuable football player and that's the process we're in the middle of and all that, I can't tell you guys how that's going to turn out, but it's going to be positive for the Seahawks and for Frank."