Seahawks Insider

Hawks free agency: Don’t push Carlson out the door yet

Post by Eric Williams on Jan. 5, 2012 at 11:55 am with 39 Comments »
January 5, 2012 11:55 am

Seattle Seahawks tight end John Carlson (Joe Barrentine/The News Tribune)

With tight end John Carlson in the final year of his contract and the Seattle Seahawks signing Zach Miller to a lucrative deal this season, some figured it a foregone conclusion that the Notre Dame product would not be with the franchise in 2012.

And Carlson suffering a torn labrum that required season-ending shoulder surgery before the season even started added fuel to that fire. But Seattle head coach Pete Carroll continued to tout the ability of the team using both Miller and Carlson together because of how much the Seahawks implement two-tight ends sets at his season-ending press conference this week.

“Our image of having Zach and John going at it – you saw how many extra tight ends we used,” Carroll said. “We thought it could really enhance John’s game having Zach here, so we’re hoping we can get that done and get him back with us.”

AP Photo

It’s easy to forget that Carlson still holds the single-season record for receptions by a tight end with 55 receptions for 627 yards and five touchdowns, set in his rookie season.

He followed that up with 51 receptions for 574 yards and a franchise-record seven touchdowns for tight ends in his second year in the league, but dropped to 31 receptions for 318 yards and a touchdown in 2010.

A confluence of events may work together to keep Carlson in Seattle in 2012.

I believe that Carlson still has the skill set to be a solid starting tight end in the league. But for one, teams on the market may be unwilling to consider giving him starting tight end money because of concerns with his shoulder.

Second, Miller was a beast in the running game as a lead blocker, but the Seahawks received lukewarm production from him this season as a pass catcher – although part of the reason for that was they needed the Arizona State product to stay in and help block because of issues with protecting Tarvaris Jackson during the first half of the season.

Miller finished with 25 catches for 233 yards and no touchdowns in his first year in Seattle, his worst season statistically as a pro.

If the Seahawks do want to bring Carlson back, they have some convincing to do.

“It’s hard to know what to expect,” Carlson said about free agency. “Obviously missing the season is not ideal. But that was the situation I was in. I feel really good. I didn’t beat my body up over the course of the season and my shoulder is repaired.

“At this point all I can do is work as hard as I can at physically preparing my body and getting back into football shape, doing ball drills and those sorts of things are things I can do on my own to hone in my football-type skills because I missed a whole season.”

So does Carlson want to stay in Seattle?

“I’d like to,” he said. “But it kind of depends on how they feel about me. If it’s a mutual thing, that’d be great. But if it doesn’t work out that way – I don’t know where I’m at with the team at this point. So that’s kind of where I’m at.

“I’ll be here rehabbing the next two months prior to free agency. So I’m sure those talks will continue, and we’ll see what happens.”

Carlson said he’s not 100 percent, but he’s been running and doing some lifts in the weight room, but is not doing shoulder press or hang snatches, lifts that would directly affect the shoulder. But Carlson said he’s doing about 90 percent of the stuff he would do normally.

He’d only missed a couple games in college because of a knee sprain, so being out for a full season was a new experience for him.

“It was really hard at the beginning, kind of feeling isolated, not being part of the team,” Carlson said. “For many years, all throughout high school and in college and in my first three years here, you’re part of the team, and you get used to the team and being around the guys all the time.”

But an added benefit was Carlson got to spend some quality family time with wife Danielle and 14-month-old son William.

“That would be the silver lining for sure,” Carlson said. “I’ve been around a lot. We have a 14-month-old, so the last, four, six or eight months with the lockout and being on the IR this year, I did get a lot of family time, which is fantastic. You can’t get that time back.”

During his time away from the game, Carlson said he’s been handling most of the cooking duties at home – which included cooking mostly healthy stuff like grilled chicken and fish, and brown rice.

“I’m not sure she even knows how to cook anymore,” Carlson joked about wife Danielle. “But I think she would probably say she’s not sure if I know how to work anymore.”

Carlson says he hasn’t eaten at McDonalds in years – wish I could say the same.

NFL free agency
Leave a comment Comments → 39
  1. HawkfaninMT says:

    I for one would like to see Carlson brough back. Of course with the caveat (that will be used more than vanilla defense in the preseaon)at the right price. At this point in there careers Miller is the more valuable TE IMO. If Carlson were to sign with a team to be their starting TE I wouldn’t expect the Hawks to match that kind of money.

    With that being said, if McCoy and Morrah aren’t going to be the #2 TE, I wouldn’t mind seeing a run made at the Redskins Fred Davis. Could come cheaper than normal due to his suspension at the end of last year. He seems to be coming into his prime, and he has the all important (but never to be relied upon) USC connection to Pete Caroll.

  2. My thinking all along is Carlson would be back to resurrect his career. His production has been declining. He missed all last season due to injury. Given the circumstances, I’m having trouble believing another team is going to be willing to offer John a long term contract for starter money. What makes sense to me is John will need to sign somewhere on a reasonable one year deal to prove he is healthy, so why not sign that contract with the Seahawks? The only wild card I can see is Holmgren may value him more than most and be willing to sign him to a long term contract for starter money.

  3. hambone08 says:

    I’d like to have Carlson come back (for the right price) and see us and part ways with Anthony McCoy. Carlson will turn 28 this May so if his rehab goes well over the next couple of months, I think signing him to a reasonable deal for 3-4 years wouldn’t be out of the question. I’d love to see what having him lined up opposite of Miller in those two tight end sets would do for this offense. Although McCoy has youth on his side (he just turned 24 last month), I’d take Carlson’s experience, hands, and blocking over McCoy’s. Carlson seems like he’s a great locker room guy too – always seems to say the right thing and appears to have a strong work ethic. Great piece, Eric. Nice to see something on a guy that got lost in the shuffle this year.

  4. freedom_X says:

    I’d like to see Carlson come back as well. It’s clear that his declining production was largely a product of the abysmal Seattle O-line, as Zach Miller did little in the passing game either. Seattle has always been the graveyard of TE’s.

    But Carlson is likely to get a much better offer from another team that recognizes this. Not Zach Miller money, but likely enough to make it hard for Seattle to lock up that much bread in the TE position.

    In other words, I’m guessing Carlson isn’t going to be a cheap, bargain signing. Someone (perhaps Cleveland) will give him a significant offer.

  5. I’ll jump on the Carlson wagon as well, I think he is a good football player, certainly better than McCoy, who haven’t played that well in my opinion, and while Carlson might not be a Jimmy Graham, he is very solid. I really wish we’d been able to utilize Miller more this season, sucks to have such a good player do next to nothing in the passing game, Jackson didn’t go down the middle a lot, and when he did, it was usually to Rice or Baldwin, disappointed he didn’t try to get more balls to Miller.

  6. RDPoulsbo says:

    I really doubt Carlson will be back. The bottom line is he’s a pass catching TE and they are in big demand around the league right now. He won’t get big money, but some team around the league will offer more than Seattle will be able to afford. There won’t be too many question marks when it happens either since he’s likely to take a physical with every team he visits during FA.

    Cleveland makes a lot of sense given his history with Holmgren and proximity to while KC and Atlanta could also make a run for him. Not that I wouldn’t mind having him back, it’s just he’ll have plenty of suitors out there for his services even with the shoulder.

  7. I would be so pleased to have Carlson and Miller in 2-TE sets. I don’t think it will happen, but I hope it happens.

  8. Dukeshire says:

    I like Carlson and like rooting for him. But in truth, I’d prefer if they upgraded the athleticism at TE, to compliment Miller. I’d like to see a TE on the roster they can split out and create mismatches with corners. Neither Carlson nor Miller are really that type of player, but certainly have great value for what their asked to do. Of course if Carlson agrees to a “home-town” discount, then that’s another story.

  9. JazBadAzz says:

    Two and three TE sets with Beastmode in the I formation and Sydney Rice on the outside would look pretty darn good. Our O-line blocking like crazy next yr so play action would be deadly!

    Bring Him back please…I see how patriots use theirs and I see how Packers use two Te’s and two backs around the goal line with deadly precision!

  10. Audible says:

    “I’d like to see a TE on the roster they can split out and create mismatches with corners.”

    Isn’t that why we have so many gargantuan receivers on the roster? I want TEs who can bust skulls in the running game and catch TDs in the redzone. Both Carlson and Miller can do that, if they’re not stuck in pass-pro all the time.

  11. JazBadAzz says:

    Good point Audible, you hit that nail on the head!

  12. Dukeshire says:

    Yes, but like Jaz says, look at how the Pats, for example, use their TEs. You get a TE like Gronk matched up on a nickel corner while Hernandez plays on the line, also releasing into a route, that’s a huge advantage. That said, it doesn’t appear that’s necessarily the direction this offense is headed. Their philosophy is a bit different, and that’s fine. More than one way to skin a cat.

  13. JazBadAzz says:

    Hey Duke don’t forget Morrah is one of those long rangy guys you are talking about. If we keep those three guys we could pretty much dictate mitch matches all over the field. I see a more power run game with play action and these guys fit this mold!

  14. JazBadAzz says:

    With this type of offense, a QB should salivate at the opportunity to lace’em up with us. If we need big plays we still have Baldwin, Butler, Lockett, Tate, and Rice. With that said bringing Carlson back would be BMW departure, Obo too.

  15. The Lack of TE production has little to do with our actual TE’s.

    The fact that they have been lining up as anything other than a TE that gets to go into a pattern for a catch has a lot to do with it! Yes they have had some drops BUT if you don’t practice catching – don’t get many opportunities in the games . . etc.

    IF we can get a stable line that can protect W/O Forcing a TE to stay in would be GREAT. Especially in a 2 TE set nobody would know who is blocking who is going into a pattern – the kind of versatility I like to see a team use.

  16. It is amazing what a LT and/or RT who can pass block can do for an offense. Or a RB that can be counted on to pass block at a high level. Or a legit blocking FB. Or a WR who can stretch the field. Or a QB that’s actually good, etc.

    *I was only making a general reference in SOME of the above examples (non-Seahawks related). There’s so much more that goes into footall than the naked eye (chooses to) see(s).

    It’s like 3rd and 20. Sometimes the draw play is the smartest one to call (even though people complain about it when you come up 10 yards short). There are so many variables to this game. That’s part of what makes it so fun/interesting!

  17. Dukeshire says:

    I like Morrah, too. Hopefully he can stay healthy.

  18. JazBadAzz says:

    I’m really leaning toward Courtney Upshaw, Alabama Height6-2 Weight265 as our first pick. He’s what we need as an situational pass rusher. Everyone likes Von miller/Clay Matthews etc… well here he is but I doubt he will fall to us at 11/12 after all the pro days and workouts. I know he is going to be projected as an outside 3-4 LB but we do things a little different with our d.

    What do you guys think? He plays monday night if you haven’t seen him yet.

  19. chuck_easton says:


    DL is almost definitely going to be the Seahawks 1st round choice now.

    Landry Jones is staying in school along with Barkely. That means Luck and RGIII are the only two legitimate 1st round QB’s this year. Some desperate team will reach for Tannehill but I don’t think Carroll would do that.

  20. Dukeshire says:

    Next years QB class could be crazy: Barkley, Jones, Murray…

  21. GeorgiaHawk says:

    Some are forgetting around here that Carlson is a pass catching TE that can’t catch the ball real well.
    What good is that going to do us?

    I would rather see us draft the Stanford TE,( forget his name), in round two or three.

  22. SeahawkFan12 says:

    It’s interesting how this year’s QB class was supposed to be one of the greatest of all time, and now it has only 2 legit first-rounders. Wouldn’t be surprised if Seattle passes (no pun intended) another year on a QB…

  23. chucko24 says:

    If We use our first round pick on a DE, as many have suggested, then we have Tjack, a mid round QB from the draft, and maybe Flynn as FA? Throw em all in the mix and see who shines. I would be cool with that.

    Hypothetical Question……If Tebow poops the bed vs the Steelers this weekend (quite likely) Denver will probably use their first rounder to take a QB. Then Denver trades Tebow, say for a mid round pick, not Elways guy. Would you Like Pete to be able to throw Tebow in at the QB mix? Would you be excited to get him instead of Flynn?

    Im not really sure how I feel about our QB situation for next year…..

  24. OCHawkFan says:

    Good article in the Orange County Register on Coach Carroll and the Hawks..

    Sounds like we’re not the only one optimistic about the future!

  25. freedom_X says:

    John Carlson is an excellent pass catcher. If he can’t catch, then neither can Zach Miller, nor any other TE in Seattle’s history. The proven Pro Bowl talent Zach Miller suffered from every sin John Carlson was accused of last year.

    The price of a 1st round QB rises as the supply falls. The chances Seattle waits for a QB later in the draft is more likely (or they pull the trigger on Flynn if Schneider likes him enough.) Barring a Manning move, I don’t know of any other better options on the free agent market than sticking with Jackson and continuing to develop a young prospect. Something I would not have imagined 6 months ago.

    The Tebow question is flame bait. No further comment from here…

  26. I’ve wanted him back. This will be one of those tough calls. If they pay a fortune to Lynch (they should) and Red (should) and then go after another high priced free agent (Flynn?), then it perhaps become impossible to compete for Carlson’s contract.

    But this offense needs 2 stellar TEs on the field often, and so the roster needs 3 to start the season.
    Miller, Carlson, and Morrah are a solid group.

    With the improvement of our OTs, the TEs should be able to escape blocking duties more often and into the action a bit more next year.

  27. No to Tebow.

  28. GeorgiaHawk says:

    Is Holmgren going to make a move for Flynn?

    Asked about qb options for next year, Holmgren says in this article.

    “You’re referencing the young man at what the Packers” Holmgren said with a smile.

  29. jarred767 says:

    Just read this article on rookies this year and it was interesting to see just how good Sherman was this year. He was the only guy in this top ten list that wasn’t picked in the top 35 picks (he was #154!!) It just shows again how good our guys are at finding this talent in later rounds.

    And Baldwin probably just arely missed this list as he had 3 less catches and roughly 150 less yards than Julio Jones. (the #6 pick that Atlanta traded a ransom to get).

  30. GeorgiaHawk says:

    Oops! My bad, I meant this year.

  31. GeorgiaHawk says:

    And to think that Sherman has played corner just for a short time compared to the other rookies.
    And no wonder he asked to switch from receiver and play corner with Stanford, having to compete with Baldwin for catches. Lol.

  32. Dukeshire says:

    Actually, if not mistaken (and I could be), Sherman asked himself, after his knee injury, to move to corner. I’ll have to look into that when I have te. Still… he’s really pressive.

  33. Dukeshire says:

    Impressive rather

  34. HawkfaninMT says:

    In looking at prospects for this Monday’s game, I will be watching LSU’s DL. They have a DE, and DT that could both go pretty high.

    I am still of the mind set though that if a QB is not the first pick then a WR would be nice. A trade down to the teens and getting Alshon Jeffery still would be great IMO.

  35. RDPoulsbo says:

    When the draft comes, I’d be happy if they went 3-technique DT to help with the interior pass rush in the 1st round. Clemons and Red will be the starting DEs and I think it’ll be a bit high to be drafting a situational pass rusher in the 1st. I think a QB is more likely in the 2nd or 3rd round with a guy like Cousins or Moore.

    Once the o-line starts to block better, we’ll see more TEs running pass routes. That just didn’t happen this year with the inexperience in the 1st half of the season, then key injuries in the 2nd half. It’ll happen next year with guys getting back from injury and more playing time together. I just don’t see Carlson being a part of that group. We just need to trust that McCoy and Morrah will continue to develop.

  36. I could see Flynn fitting well in Cleveland, I could see him in Washington’s offense too, perhaps a better fit in either of those offenses than in Seattle.

  37. “a bit high to be drafting a situational pass rusher in the 1st’

    I would say that’s exactly what teams do when they are a couple impact players away from contending. Of course the Seahawks don’t want to reach for any player, but a great situational pass rusher is an impact player that changes the dynamics of every game. If they see that guy in any round, including the first, they need to draft him.

  38. hambone08 says:

    Not sure if you guys have already seen this…

    Absolutely incredible, the guy never gives up on a run.

  39. Thanks, hambone. I’m going to watch that about a thousand times during the offseason.

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