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McIntyre: A closer look at Hawks’ contracts

Post by Eric Williams on Dec. 28, 2010 at 1:34 pm with 24 Comments »
December 28, 2010 1:34 pm

Editor’s note: Brian McIntyre regularly covers the Seattle Seahawks and the rest of the NFL on his own football blog, and has graciously agreed to provide his weekly personnel files and analysis on player contracts on the Seahawks here on a semi-regular basis. We welcome him to Seahawks Insider.

Brian McIntyre blogs daily at Mac’s Football Blog. You can follow Brian on Twitter, and if you’d like to e-mail him, you can always do so by clicking here.

By Brian McIntyre
The Seattle Seahawks have an opportunity on Sunday night to end a two-year drought and go to the playoffs for just the 11th time in franchise history. For many long-time members of the Seahawks—Matt Hasselbeck, Sean Locklear, Craig Terrill, Jordan Babineaux—it could be the last time they patrol the home sidelines at Qwest Field.

Below is a position-by-position contractual breakdown for the Seahawks:

Quarterback

Signed (Through): Charlie Whitehurst (2011)

UFA: Matt Hasselbeck, J.P. Losman

Notes: Hasselbeck will be a free agent after this season, and could be making his final appearance on the home sidelines at Qwest Field on Sunday night. Signing Hasselbeck to an extension wouldn’t necessarily preclude the Seahawks from keeping Whitehurst and/or drafting a quarterback in the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft.

Whitehurst’s two-year, $8 million contract was actually a one-year extension worth $6.824 million, of which only a $2 million roster bonus from last March was guaranteed before the 2010 regular season began. Whitehurst is set to earn $4 million in non-guaranteed base salary in 2011, and if Seattle re-signs Hasselbeck and drafts a quarterback in April, and Whitehurst doesn’t earn the starting or top back-up job, Seattle can release or trade Whitehurst with no cap implications for 2011.

That flexibility may hinge upon whether or not the NFLPA agrees to sacrifice the rookies in the next collective bargaining agreement.

Currently, first-round picks receive the bulk of their contracts in the second year and beyond. For example, Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman, the 17th overall pick of the 2009 NFL Draft, received a 5-year, $36M contract that included just $1.38 million in total compensation as a rookie.

Under the NFL’s proposal for a more team-friendly “rookie wage scale”, which they allege would steer $200 million annually towards veteran and retired players, first-round picks will receive standardized signing bonuses and base salaries, but will be locked into five-year deals (six for quarterbacks) with the league requiring them to three years before they can renegotiate their contract. (Current rookie contracts can be negotiated after two years.)

Running Back

Signed (Through): Justin Forsett (2011), Marshawn Lynch (2012*)

UFA: Chris Henry, Michael Robinson, Leon Washington

Notes: According to NFLPA records, Lynch is signed through the 2012 season. By achieving minimal playing-time requirements, however, that season will void, making 2011 the final year of his rookie contract. With two 1,000-yard seasons under his belt, Lynch will add $1 million to his scheduled $1.14 million base salary next season.

Robinson signed a one-year deal in September, and while he’s not a traditional fullback, has played well at times on offense and is a core special teams player. Acquired from the New York Jets, Washington has returned kicks at his Pro Bowl level from 2008 while earning $1.759 million in base salary under the restricted free agent tender. Washington hasn’t received much playing time on offense, and could look for an increased opportunity elsewhere in the off-season. At the very least, Washington’s agent will be looking for a contract similar to what Cleveland Browns wide receiver/two-time Pro Bowl return specialist Josh Cribbs signed last off-season. (3-years, $20M, $7.5M guaranteed).

Wide Receiver

Signed (Through): Deon Butler (2012), Golden Tate (2013)

Exclusive Rights: Dominique Edison, Patrick Williams

UFA: Ruvell Martin, Ben Obomanu, Isaiah Stanback, Brandon Stokley,Mike Williams

Notes: Obomanu is playing under the one-year restricted free agent tender, and with a new collective bargaining agreement, will be an unrestricted free agent in the off-season along with Williams. Because both signed new contracts, Obomanu and Williams have been eligible to receive contract extensions during this season. Given that this was the first year Obomanu has produced on offense, and Williams’ self-admitted bouts with laziness, along with him missing games with various bumps and bruises, the Seahawks have been smart to take a prudent approach to extending these plays.

A new CBA will presumably contain a franchise tag mechanism, which could be used on Williams, though recent contract extensions, particularly the one signed by Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Miles Austin, would push the value of the wide receiver tag to nearly $12 million guaranteed for one season.

Tight End

Signed (Through): Chris Baker (2011), John Carlson (2011), Cameron Morrah (2012), Anthony McCoy (2013), Jameson Konz (2013)

Notes: After using 2-TE sets on less than 16% of the offensive snaps during 2008-09 seasons, the Seahawks have used 2-TEs on 42.7% of the snaps in Jeremy Bates’ system. Given the prominent role the position plays—elevated slightly by the injuries to Michael Robinson and Mike Williams, which pressed Carlson into a fullback role and Morrah into a wideout role—this crew figures to remain intact during the off-season.

Carlson, Morrah, McCoy, and Konz are earning the league minimum. The only decision facing the front office concerns Baker, who has a $500,000 roster bonus due on the 7th day of the league year, which will begin when a new CBA is reached.

Offensive Tackles

Signed (Through): Russell Okung (2015), Breno Giacomini (2011), William Robinson (2011)

Restricted: Tyler Polumbus

UFA: Sean Locklear

Notes: Okung is scheduled to receive a significant chunk of his six-year, $58 million contract in 2011. Seattle acquired the final year of Polumbus’ contract, and will presumably bring him back to compete for the right tackle job. Locklear agreed to a restructured contract in September, slashing his 2010 base salary and voiding the final two years of the five-year, $32 million contract he signed in February of 2008.

Offensive Guard/Centers

Signed (Through): Stacy Andrews (2014), Mike Gibson (2011), Paul Fanaika (2011), Max Unger (2012)

Exclusive Rights: Lemuel Jeanpierre

UFA: Chris Spencer, Chris White, Ray Willis, Chester Pitts

Notes: Andrews lost his starting right guard job and has been a healthy scratch the last two weeks, making it unlikely that the Seahawks bring him back at the $5.75 million in total compensation he’s due to make in 2011. Gibson has started at both guard spots, and Fanaika was signed off the Browns’ practice squad earlier this month. Unger, the team’s second-round pick in 2008, could make the move to center this off-season if Spencer is allowed to depart in free agency.

Defensive Ends

Signed (Through): Chris Clemons (2012), Dexter Davis (2013), Red Bryant (2011)

Exclusive Rights: Derek Walker

UFA: Raheem Brock, Jay Richardson

Notes: Acquired along with a fourth-round pick (E.J. Wilson) for restricted free agent Darryl Tapp, Clemons has been productive (team-high 10 ½ quarterback sacks) at a bargain rate ($1.2 million base salary) this season. Clemons’ base salary is scheduled to be $2.3 million (non-guaranteed) in 2011, a figure that could increase by as much as $800,000. Clemons also has a $100,000 workout bonus and nearly $2 million in performance incentives next season.

Defensive Tackles

Signed (Through): Colin Cole (2013), Kentwan Balmer (2012)

UFA: Brandon Mebane, Craig Terrill, Amon Gordon, Junior Siavii

Notes: An extension for Mebane has been high on many fans’ wish-lists this season. But the “30% Rule” limiting the amount a player’s “salary” (defined by base salary plus amounts not treated as a signing bonus) could increase or decrease in an extension likely has prevented a deal. For Mebane, this limited the amount his salary could increase to $138,000, or 30% of his $460,000 base salary from 2009, in any extension signed during 2010.

Though several teams (Philadelphia with Kevin Kolb, San Francisco with Patrick Willis, and Washington with Donovan McNabb) demonstrated multiple ways to navigate around the 30% rule, the Seahawks apparently prefer to wait for a new CBA to address Mebane’s contract situation. Through playing-time incentives in his rookie contract, Mebane’s base salary did increase from $550,000 to $1.101 million for this season.

Cole is scheduled to earn $3.75 million in non-guaranteed base salary in third season of a five-year, $21.4 million, a modest $500,000 increase over this year’s rate. Balmer is entering the fourth year of his five-year rookie deal, and in addition to a non-guaranteed $622,000 base salary, has in-season roster bonuses totaling $150,000.

Linebackers

Signed (Through): Lofa Tatupu (2015), Aaron Curry (2014), David Hawthorne (2011), Anthony Heygood (2011)

Exclusive: Joe Pawelek*, Michael Johnson, Vuna Tuihalamaka

UFA: Will Herring, Matt McCoy, Leroy Hill

Notes: Hawthorne signed a one-year extension in late November, which may prompt Herring to take the Niko Koutouvides Expressway out of Seattle by seeking a starting opportunity elsewhere in the off-season. After an injury-plagued 2009 season, and several high profile off-field incidents, Hill dramatically restructured his contract and didn’t play a down on defense before landing on injured reserve.

Signed to a one-year deal, McCoy has a team-high 15 tackles on special teams this season. In addition to being part of the “Core Four” special teams units (kick/punt return coverage), the 28-year old has a history with defensive coordinator Gus Bradley and possesses the versatility to play several linebacker positions.

Pawelek was activated from the practice squad, and is likely signed for 2011, as well.

Cornerbacks

Signed (Through): Marcus Trufant (2013), Walter Thurmond (2013), Marcus Brown (2011)

Exclusive Rights: Roy Lewis, Kennard Cox, Josh Pinkard

UFA: Jordan Babineaux, Kelly Jennings

Notes: Trufant is scheduled to earn a non-guaranteed $5.9 million base salary in the fourth year of his six-year contract extension, which is just a $200,000 increase over what he’s earning this season. The now 30-year old corner has $16 million coming in 2012-13, which means a restructure is likely coming after next season.

Babineaux, 28, was released and re-signed before the season, but brings size, experience, versatility, and play-making ability to the table, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if the Seahawks bring him back.

Safeties

Signed (Through): Earl Thomas (2014), Kam Chancellor (2013)

UFA: Lawyer Milloy

Notes: Like Okung, Thomas will receive a significant portion of his five-year, $21.1 million contract this off-season. Milloy  turned 37 last month, but if he’s interested in returning, it’s hard to imagine that the Seahawks wouldn’t want his veteran presence back to help influence the younger members of the secondary.

Specialists

Signed (Through): Jon Ryan (2015), Clint Gresham (2012)

UFA: Olindo Mare

Notes: Three of Mare’s five missed field goal attempts have been from 40+ yards, and the 37-year old still ranks in the Top 5 in touchback percentage on kickoffs.

Signed Through Breakdown, by Position

Position 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
QB 1 0 0 0 0
RB 2 1 0 0 0
WR 2 2 1 0 0
TE 5 3 2 0 0
OT 3 1 1 1 1
G/C 4 2 1 1 0
DE 3 2 1 0 0
DT 2 2 1 0 0
LB 4 2 2 2 1
CB 3 2 2 0 0
S 2 2 2 1 0
ST 2 2 1 1 1
Total 33 21 14 6 3
Leave a comment Comments → 24
  1. Speaking of JP Losman, I’m wondering if he gets the start on Sunday if Hasselbeck can’t go. I guess it depends on how desperate for this game Carroll really is.

  2. GeorgiaHawk says:

    Dah, I am wondering if Losman will start sunday if Hasselbeck can’t go? Yes of course in your distorted world!

  3. This is great information! Thanks!

  4. GeorgiaHawk says:

    BobbyK,

    You are right! This information will be so helpful when free agency and the draft come’s around!

  5. About the only contract question I have left is that of Lofa.

  6. GeorgiaHawk says:

    I really like Lofa! It just seem’s like his play has fallen off since his big contract and D.W.I! Add to that the nagging injury’s and I just don’t see him playing too much longer, and for sure not to the end of his contract!

  7. I like Lofa too. His play has fallen but I wonder how much of it is due to the knee injury that keeps him from practicing very much? It’ll be interesting to see what type of surgery is required of him this off-season. One would think that would be an indicator of how major the injury has been. It’s obviously not anywhere near 100% or he’d be able to practice more often. With that being said, a guy like Lofa can’t afford to lose much speed/quickness and him having a bum leg, I think, must be a big difference why his play hasn’t been what we’ve been expecting.

  8. I wonder if Lofa’s and Trufant’s play both spiraled down because of the team in it’s entirety being so bad.

  9. Dukeshire says:

    Agreed, this is a great breakdown. I sure see a lot more names I’d like to see walk than re-signed. Aside from the bigger names I’d like to see come back (Mebane, Washington, Williams) I hope they offer Brock a solid deal. He’s played well in relief of Clemons I’ve felt and would help make the transition from year two to three of the re-build, as not every hole can be filled in this coming off-season.

  10. GeorgiaHawk says:

    You want to keep your star player’s forever! However the reallity of it in the Not For Long League is that player’s that get by more on brain’s then talent has little wiggle room !

  11. Aside from Mebane, there’s really no guy that I would do anything for to get back. Sure, I’d like to have Leon, Mike Williams, Obo, and Herring back, but they aren’t “must have” type of guys. Although you could probably make a case for Mebane not being a “must have” either due to his limited pass rush skills. Still, I love that guy and really want to keep him! It’s almost impossible to run on Cole, Mebane, and Big Red when they are in the line-up together. I remember watching games earlier this season and laughing when teams would try to run the ball against us. It didn’t work. We’ve got the anchors on the DL, we need to keep them, and add some legit situational pass rushing talent (of course, everyone wants legit pass rushing talent too; easier said than done, I guess).

    With Trufant set to make $5.9 million I see him on the team next year and think that he, Thurmond, and Lewis can/will form a decent trio of CBs for ’11. I do see a mid-round pick going for a CB so when the Trufant contract goes up in ’12 that there is a replacement for him with a year under his belt. There’s too many other needs to see us using one of the first two rounders being a CB.

    On paper, I like our front 4 on the DL (despise the depth though), the LBs, and most of the secondary. With that being said, I think the biggest problem with the defense is our offense.

    We need an offense that can sustain drives and score points. That would help our defense, IMO, so much more than drafting a “lock down” CB in the 1st round and taking a DL in the 2nd round. I don’t care how much talent you have on defense, unless you’re the Ravens of yesteryear who never face a Pro Bowl QB that season, you are NOT going to win in the NFL with a pathetic offense that is led by an ultra-pathetic offensive line (unless you have a big brute for a QB like Rapistburger who have DEs bounce off him).

    Contract wise, it seems like we’ll have money to play with this off-season (with or without a cap). Aside from Curry, there’s really nobody I think is grossly overpaid and since we don’t have any Pro Bowl players, there’s a reason we don’t have a lot in salary coming back next season. Perhaps Tru, still, but personally, I think he’s okay. He’s made some sucky plays this year, don’t get me wrong, but everyone always simply wants to cut somebody all the time. If we listened to every fan who wanted to cut everybody all the time we’d be 0-16. I think ’11 is his last year in Seattle with his contract situation. Basically, it’ll be like he’s playing in the last year of his contract again. We all remember what he played like the last time he was in a contract year. Granted, skills have diminished a bit, but for the ’11 team I still see him as an asset rather than a liability.

    Would anyone else jizz their pants if we signed Nicks, Kalil, and Rice this off-season? Mr. Happy would have an almost blindly loyal follower in me if he could pull that off (which I think they can/should).

  12. Dukeshire says:

    I actually think you’re undervaluing Washington a bit. For me, he and Mebane are the priorities.

    The starting 4 up front are solid but behind them the interior and strong side end are musts mid / late rounds or FA.

    LB is a need, although perhaps will be left until 2012 to address in earnest. But unless Curry makes a dramatic turn-around Sam and Will (after Heater replaces Lofa in the near future) need to be addressed.

    The secondary is a significant need this off-season, no two ways around it, for me. Tru’s play has slipped, clearly. And enough with the Kelly Jennings era. He’s a nice guy and plays hard but the position needs an upgrade. I don’t see them re-signing him.

  13. The ONLY 2 UFA’s on this list I’d pay big $’s to are Brandon Mebane & Olindo Mare.

    Here’s who I’d kinda sorta like to have back of the remaining UFA’s. In all cases, I’d suggest only signing these players to low $, short term contracts with the POSSIBLE exceptions of BMW & Washington. I do NOT expect to resign even half of the names below (3/4 of them or more are backups on a good team), & again the key word is CHEAP:

    Hasselbeck (1 or 2 year only)

    Leon Washington (unfortunately i think he’s gone, someone’s going to pay him big $’s to be a feature back)

    Michael Robinson

    Brandon Stokley

    Mike Williams

    Chester Pitts

    Craig Terrill,

    Leroy Hill

    Jordan Babineaux,

    Kelly Jennings

    Lawyer Milloy

  14. Dukeshire says:

    Leon’s never averaged more than 9 carries a game, and that was his rookie season. He’s crazy talented but he’s not really a feature back. Someone may pay him big money to play for them, but Seattle needs to do what they can to keep him. He’s a threat to score every time he touches it. Remember all the time we talked about how we wish we had a guy like that?

  15. Fantastic info. Did not know Whitehurst could be cut loose for no cap hit after this season. That’s a big deal.

    How can people say Mike Williams is not the #1 priority to re-sign? Mebane is a fine lineman, but people talk about him like he is near Pro Bowler. I could make a strong argument that he was the fourth-most productive member of his own defensive line this year. I’d like to re-sign the guy, but Williams is a major factor on offense at a position we have NOTHING else to speak of. Keeping him is a must.

  16. Yes, keeping BMW is a must. I love the guy and think he’s more valuable to the team than Leon Washington. Leon should be re-signed too, of course. Mebane, Obomanu and Mare are also priorities. Hass should be re-signed if he’s willing to sign for backup money. I doubt he will.

  17. Dukeshire says:

    Hawkblogger – Who would start in place of Mebane? Signing Mebane is important because there are other, more pressing needs for starters on this team, right now. (A true #1 WR, CB, QB, interior o line) Not re-signing a very solid and important contributor that is currently in-house creates yet another need to a long list. Only so many positions can be replaced in a given off-season.

    That said, BMW ought to be a priority as well, this isn’t a dismissal of his contributions. Leon, Mebane, BMW and everyone else, as I see it. (And I do place BMW third on that list. But that’s only my opinion.)

  18. For me of the UFA’s

    I want to go hard after, M. Williams, B. Mebane and L. Washington

    after that I think we need to take strong looks at

    Herring, Babs, Mare

    Then if you can’t get suitable replacements

    Hasslebeck, Brock, Spencer, Milloy,

    but tomorrow I might have a total different opinion

    PS. With the game time change I may not be able to make Sundays game. Anyone want some tickets if I can’t!!

  19. bigmike04 says:

    hey xcman

    Are you looking to sell your ticket for sunday or just give them away??? I am hoping my buddy who know Breno on Seahawks would come threw for him with pair of ticket to game and that might be last min thing on sunday like falcons game but didn’t go and neither did my friend.

  20. Personally, I don’t think Mebane and Williams are even close. I’ll take Mebane in a heartbeat. There are plenty of possession WRs available. And people seem to forget all of Williams’ drops (and the ones he couldn’t make at the goal line for Matt and Charlie that ended up in turnovers). Sure, he’s made some great catches, but he’s had more than his fair share of drops that the greats and “guys you can’t let go” simply do not make as often. He is a fine player and I would like him to come back as a complimentary type of guy, but he’s not a true #1. There are plenty of WRs who won’t be in high demand who will be able to do many of the things he’s done for us. There are not many elite run stuffing DTs who do the dirty work and do it well. The Seahawk starting DL is fine, it’s the depth that’s horrible. There are plenty of WRs who will be available who could fill a spot on the team and do an okay job, but there are not really any DTs we could sign to come in and be really good.

    I was thinking this morning that if the new CBA is going to keep players under team control for 5 years (instead of 4… and this past off-season the 4th year players were restricted again and that’s something the owners are pushing hard for) this debate will not matter at all. There’s a good chance that guys like Ryan Kalil, Sidney Rice, and Brandon Mebane will be restricted free agents come March 1.

  21. Mr Williams – What will be the FT for a KR/PR? Could Hawks use it on LW?

  22. Can we assume that those things that haven’t been brought up publicly in discussions about changes in the new CBA, will remain the same? For example the definition of “Free Agent”? I guess what i’m asking is if the “new” CBA will be like a contract extension, with a few new wrinkles, instead of a wholecloth new agreement which starts from scratch?

    If the new CBA will be the extension type – where players continue to have the freedom to market their skills after a specific period of service (5 yrs instead of 4 now?) But Owners will reinstitute the Cap ($200M?) to help keep their players salaries somewhat reasonable. And Owners still have the FT & TTs, has anyone brought up eliminating the “poisen pill” loopholes in those TTs?

    Couldn’t they add some kinda language saying that “Contract provisions of TT players, other than fiscal, have to be structured to be equally possible to provide by any other team, including language like “will be the highest paid player””?

  23. HawkyHann says:

    If Trufant earns 5.9M next season, the NFL should go on strike. Prime example of an owner gettting stuck paying for a horrible player. Look at his performance the past two seasons. Grrr………. Watch Bradford pick on him this Sunday. That should be St Louis gameplan. Isolate him and watch him choke.

    How depressing is it to see Lofa signed through 2015? Hopefully they trade his undersized, often injured ass or turn him into a coach.

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